Selecting timber

Freedom from knots, straightness of grain, and evenness of colour are desirable qualities. The closer the annual rings are together, the better, for slow-growing trees yield the best timber. The rings are closer together in hcart-Vood from near the centre of the tree than in the outer and less valuable sap-wood.

Many planks contain some sapwood, and they should be rejected if the sap-wood has a bluish colour, which indicates that the timber was cut while the sap was up, and, so far as the sapwood at least is concerned, is not likely to prove durable.

Uses of different kinds of Timber

The wood of the northern pine, called Scotch fir in this country, and known as red or yellow deal, is so strong, light, durable, and easily worked that it is used more than any other timber for joinery and house construction. It is also a favourite for outdoor work, as it withstands decay a long time if not permanently damp.

White deal, the product of the Norway spruce, is inferior to yellow deal, as its knots are very hard, it shrinks and warps much more, and it does not stand wet so well. It is, however, widely used as a cheap substitute.

Larch is very tough, and resists weather well, but is difficult to work and bad for shrinking and warping. It may be selected for fencing, posts, and rough outdoor work generally.

Yellow pine is an excellent wood for indoor use, being soft and easily worked.

Where a combination of toughness, Btrength and durability is of chief importance oak takes first place. It is ideal for posts set in damp ground, and for fencing; while its beauty and ease of working make it very valuable for joinery and furniture.

Elm is a very cross-grained wood, and difficult to work. But it is excellent for wheelbarrows, trucks, etc., as it is very tough; and there are few better woods for use in damp places.

Tool Outfits. A great deal of rough outdoor work can be done with no more equipment than a handsaw , hammer, rule and pair of pincers. The hammer should have a curved, forked back . for pulling out nails.

For general work indoors should be added: large and small bradawls; a medium-sized twist gimlet; a carpenters square; large and small screwdrivers; a 1-inch chisel; a jack plane with iron 2 ½ inches wide; a pair of wire-cutting pliers; and a good oilstone for sharpening the edge tools.

Anyone who intends to make wood-working a hobby will have to extend the list considerably. For truing long joints will be needed a trying plane , and for smoothing large surfaces a smoothing plane . For fine cross-cutting a tenon saw is essential. A bench-hook assists cross-cutting, and a shooting-board the truing of edges. A holdfast and a clamp are very useful for holding parts firmly to the bench while being worked on; and a marking gauge cannot be omitted.

The bench

Though the kitchen table suffices for a good deal of useful carpen-tering, a proper bench enables many jobs to be done neatly and easily which could hardly be done without it. The legs are of 3 by 3 inches yellow deal, the framing of 6-inch floorboards for the upper frame and 3-inch battens for the lower. The top is of 2-inch deal or birch (this is the better wood) screwed down to the framing. The back and ends can be boarded in and a drawer for tools fitted under the top; or a trough formed at the back of the bench, as shown.

At the right-hand end is a turn-up stop, very useful for supporting a part being sawn. It is a piece of hard wood, measuring 6 by 2 by 1 inches, screwed at one end of the edge of the bench. When turned down it is flush with the top; and when turned vertical it comes up against another piece, nailed to the edge behind it.

The piece A has holes for a peg to support one end of a board held on edge in the vice for planing.

The vice, a very important fitting, will save a great deal of time if of the instantaneous action type, which leaves the moving jaw free to be pulled out or pushed against the work when a catch is depressed. Near the left-hand end should be an adjustable bench stop, to hold a board while being planed on the flat.

The chisels should include a mortising chisel, inch or inch wide, as it is essential for cutting mortises; and, as chisels should not be struck with a hammer, a mallet is needed.