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Fretwork and marquetry, D. Denning

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       Useful Tools and Appliances.

 ALTHOUGH cabinet-maker's tools are useful to the fretworker, it must not be supposed that in all cases they need be so large in size as those ordinarily met with in the workshop. As a rule the smaller kinds will be much more convenient to the amateur. For instance, the large jack plane is not necessary to reduce the roughness of boards, nor is the trying plane necessary to shoot straight edges with. Small planes will do all that is required.

smoothing plane
Fig. ll. Smoothing Plane.
Planes.—These, as is well known, are used to take the rough­ness left by the saw from surfaces and edges of boards, as well as to reduce them slightly in size. Several varieties are used for the purpose, but the fretcutter can manage very well with one, or at most two, as the wood he has to manipulate is almost entirely in small pieces. If he does not wish for more rough work than can


be helped he will buy his wood at least partially smoothed, so that he has, as it were, to give it only the finishing touches. For this purpose a smoothing plane, illustrated in fig. 11, will do admirably. One with a double iron should be preferred, though a little more expensive than a single iron plane. There are also sundry small iron planes sold at very low prices. With even the smallest almost everything that is necessary may be done, especially if the side of the plane is flat. The reason for preference being given to one with a flat side is that with it edges may be shot straight in con­junction with the shooting-board more conveniently than when the plane has a rounded side. As iron planes of the cheaper kind are generally japanned black before they can be used comfortably with the shooting-board, this coating should be rubbed or scraped off. For doing the edges a rabbet plane is an excellent substitute for the cumbersome trying or jointer planes commonly used for the purpose on larger work.
shooting board
Fig. 12. Shooting-board.
Shooting-Board.—This will be found most useful for truing up straight edges and right angles. A simple form, and it is as good as any, is shown in fig. 12. As there repre­sented it consists of a piece of board on which a narrower one is fastened, and across this near one end at right angles with the edge is another piece of wood. It will be seen that by placing the wood of which the edge has to be planed, or technically shot, on the upper board with one end against the transverse piece any part projecting beyond the edge of the upper board can be easily and correctly planed away. To do this the plane, instead of being held upright,


is placed on its side on the lower board and its sole to the edge to be planed. As the cross-piece is at right angles with the guiding edge of the board it will be perceived that there is no great diffi­culty in planing a piece of wood with perfectly square corners.
Mitre Block.—This is somewhat similar to the ordinary shooting-block just described, in fact it may be regarded as the same thing with the block arranged to shape the wood to an angle of 45 degrees instead of 90. It is principally of use for
mitre block
Fig. 13. Mitre Block.
cutting the ends of mouldings to form what is called a mitred joint. For convenience it is usual to have the stop near the centre of the board instead of at one end, and to have it sloping in both directions, as shown in fig. 13.
Square.—As it is of the utmost importance that all work should be put together on the square, this appliance will be found indispensable as a guide to the fitter. It is so well known and its use is so evident that nothing more need be said about it.
Gauge.—This will be found useful not only for marking purposes but for cutting thin wood instead of sawing it. There are two gauges, known as the cutting and the marking gauges, which are very much alike in appearance. It is the former which will be of most use to the fretcutter.
Chisels.—One or two of these will be found necessary. They are seldom required in any but the smallest sizes.


Oilstone.—One of these always comes in handy and is neces­sary for keeping edge tools in good condition.
Bead-Router or Scratch.—One of these will be found extremely useful for forming mouldings or headings on the edges of shelves, or elsewhere, and for a variety of similar purposes. With properly shaped cutters ploughing or grooving, rabbeting, as well as small mouldings,.. either elaborate or plain, may be accomplished.
Gimlets and Bradawls.—One or two of these, in addition to those for boring holes for the saw, will be useful for the purpose of making holes for the screws and nails. They should only be small, as will be more clearly seen from the remark under the heading of nails, etc.
Glue.—Every reader of course knows what this is, and may think he knows all about it. Unless he has had a good deal of experience he probably knows very little about it that will be of much use to him if he wants his glue really good, so that parts stuck together with it will not fall apart on the slightest provocation. Though apparently a trivial matter, the proper selection and preparation of glue is of the utmost importance, so that we make no apology for giving somewhat detailed directions about it. First of all care will have to be exercised in its selection, and by paying a fair price there is never any difficulty in getting it of good quality. The best glue is of a clear brown colour, by no means opaque, nor yet perfectly transparent. Some of the latter is good, but as a rule the very light clear glues are not so strong as the darker tinted, as the bleaching processes tend to weaken them. Sometimes their use is unavoidable, but otherwise they should not be selected in preference to those of darker hue. The best test, however, of glue is in its use, as occasionally a very unpromising looking sample turns out better than could have been expected. As, however, all that the fretcutter uses amounts to very little, he can well afford to buy the best.
To prepare the glue for use it should be broken into small pieces and soaked in cold water till it has become soft or gelatinised. The more water it absorbs without melting, the better the quality of the glue as a rule. If it dissolves in cold water it is poor and weak. It will have become soft in a few hours, after which it is ready to be melted for use. To melt it all, or


nearly all, the surplus water must be poured off, and the remainder put in an ordinary glue-pot. When melted, the glue should run freely from the end of a stick. If it does not, more water must be added to it. As the strength of glue deteriorates each time it is melted, not more than can be used up in a reasonable time should be prepared at once. Some glue sets or hardens more quickly than others, but it by no means follows that because a glue does not set or harden quickly it is defective; on the contrary, it is generally supposed that a quick-setting glue is not so strong as one which takes a comparatively long time. Various nostrums have been published for either increasing the tenacity of glue or for keeping it always ready for use in a liquid state. Of these latter we have only to caution the reader to have nothing to do with them unless a very weak adhesion will suit him. As for increasing the strength of glue, it may be said that this is very seldom necessary, for good glue properly made and freshly mixed and rightly applied is as strong as there is any occasion for. If anything be required to increase its strength, there is nothing better than either a little brickdust or plaster of Paris mixed in..
When using glue, care should be taken that it is not only thoroughly melted, but that it is as hot as it conveniently can be. It is also advisable to warm the parts to which the glue is to be applied. On bringing the parts together, as much as possible of the glue should be squeezed out, and the parts be held in close contact till the glue has set. It is a very common error to suppose that the more of the glue left between two pieces of wood the stronger the joint will be. The reverse is the case. Glue which exudes from the joint can easily be removed any time before it has become hard. It is well not to attempt to clean it off too soon.
As the use of glue requires a brush it may be well to say that a piece of cane hammered out at one end makes a very serviceable one. The hard outer skin should be cut away with a knife from the part to be hammered. If a better brush be preferred it should be a stiff one. For fretwork there is nothing better than a small hoghair brush, as prepared for painting in oil colours.
Glass-Paper.—This is necessary both to smooth the work and to remove dirty marks. For the preliminary papering it may be moderately coarse, but for finishing off only the finer grades should be used. It is sold at all tool dealers and often by iron­mongers at very low prices.


Cork Block.—This is used in connection with the glass-paper just mentioned. It is simply a piece of cork three or four inches long by rather less in width and about one inch thick. The edges on one side are slightly rounded off to prevent the glass-paper being too much torn when it is being used. The paper is folded over the block in any way that may be most convenient to enable it to be rubbed over the wood. The use of glass-paper over a block such as this is necessary to avoid rounding off the sharp edges of fretwork, as they would be if the glass-paper were rubbed on the wood direct with the fingers or without something stiff and flat as a support. A piece of wood instead of cork may be used if preferred, but it is not so good.
Screws.—The sizes required are principally the smaller and those most generally useful are those known as, 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3, in 1/4, 1/2, and 5/8 inch lengths. In addition to those made of iron a few brass screws, which can be had with either flat or rounded heads, will be useful for fastening on ornamental parts of brass, such as handles, escutcheons, etc. These screws are considerably more expensive, so they should not be used where iron will do as well.
Nails and Needle-Points.—It goes without saying that nails will be as necessary in fretworking as in any other kind of joinery. Those mostly used are of the kind known as wire nails. They are very cheap.
Needle-points, as may be gathered from their name, are sharp pieces of steel very much like needles except that they have no eye. In practice they are extremely useful for many purposes. Being very fine, they may be used where the presence of a nail-head would be objectionable, as they can be broken short off at the wood when driven far enough in. They are thus almost invisible. They are also useful when fitting work together temporarily. They can be got at most tool dealers and, like wire nails, are very cheap. A pennyworth will last a considerable time.
Sundries.—Compasses will be useful for marking circles on the wood, and some kind of a rule can hardly be dispensed with for measuring. The principal tools which are likely to be required have now been mentioned, so that the list is not a very formidable one. It has not been thought necesssary to allude to lead pencils, drawing pins, and the multi-


USEFUL TOOLS AND APPLIANCES.                         21
tudinous little odds and ends which may be used. Something should be said about the work-bench or table, which it may be assumed is necessary. No special table is necessary—the work may be done on any which is tolerably rigid. The kitchen-table will do admirably, while the same may be said of the dining-room table, with the additional remark that this need not be injured if only moderate care be taken. For those who can have a room set apart as a workshop it will be a convenience to have a bench with a screw fitted to it in the ordinary way. This will be found a great convenience in making up work.


Machines for FreTCutters.

A MACHINE for fretcutting in its primitive form may be re­garded as a hand-frame, or as an adaptation thereof, fixed in such a manner that the blade of the saw is kept in a, certain definite position to the wood which is being cut. In other words, the saw-frame is guided so that the blade cuts with more regularity perpendicularly than when the frame alone is used.

Machines are actuated either by hand or by foot, or, in the case of the larger kind in trade workshops, by steam. These latter, being beyond the scope of the amateur, need not be further referred to.
Hand Machines.—With these the advantage consists almost entirely in the guidance given to the saw, one hand being at liberty to control the wood and feed it to the blade. With a treadle machine, or one worked by foot, both hands are at liberty to guide the wood, the speed of cutting is increased and, generally, thicker material may be sawn. By a simple contrivance most of the hand machines can be worked by the foot when required, though their power is limited. As the hand machines occupy a sort of intermediate position between the independent hand-frame and the foot or treadle machine, they will be dealt with first. It must be understood that these hand machines are not to be com­pared with the better kind of treadle machines, nor do they allow of the freedom with which the hand-frame may be worked. Their chief recommendation is that they are inexpensive.
Fig. 14 represents one of the cheapest and simplest forms of hand machines. The frame which holds the saw is hinged at the back to the portion which is fastened to the table or bench by means of a small iron cramp. The small table for supporting the


MACHINES FOE FRETCUTTERS.                            23
wood while it is being sawn is of iron, and of course is the counter­part of the cutting-board used with the hand-frame. The downward or cutting movement of the saw is given by depressing the handle and the upward one is aided by the spring.
Just behind the handle there is a small eye, to which a piece of string may be attached for the purpose of working the machine with the foot, which is passed through a loop at the bottom end.
An examination of the hand machine illustrated below will show that the action of the saw is not perfectly vertical or perpendicular to the surfaces of the work, as the frames being hinged at the back naturally cause the front ends of the arms to describe a portion
hand fret machine
Fig. 14. Hand Fret Machine.
of a circle. As the saw-blade gives slightly to the pressure of the wood being sawn, this defect is not so noticeable as might be ex­pected, but a true vertical action is to be preferred. With the ordinary hand-frame, of course, it can be got so that in this respect the hand machine is at a disadvantage.
It should be stated that hand machines have not enjoyed much popularity, at any rate in this country, whether because they have not been sufficiently known or because their advantages are not conspicuous must be left to the opinion of the reader. In most books on the subject they are not mentioned, but to omit any notice of them here would be an injustice to the novice, who naturally wants to know all about everything.
Treadle Machines.—These may now claim attention, and we may take this opportunity of cautioning the novice against the idea that equally good work can be done with all of them.
The first essential of a really useful machine is capacity to do the work it is intended to efficiently. No part of a machine more


24                             FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
conduces to steady action than a heavy wheel, and the sawing powers may almost be considered as depending on this. Any machine will run easily when no wood is being sawn, so the purchaser must not rely on any trial of the action unless he is cutting at the same time.
In selecting a machine the distance from the saw to the back, i.e., the clear space in which material being worked can be swung, must be noticed, and it may also be advisable to consider whether the machine has a presser foot, by means of which the wood can be kept down close to the table and be prevented from being raised by the action of the saw. The wood can be and often is kept down by the hands, but if through inadvertence the pressure is released while the machine is in motion the wood is jerked up and the saw is probably broken. By the use of the presser foot this risk is lessened and the hands are left entirely free to guide the wood.
To give the novice a fair idea of the machines most commonly met with, the principal ones are briefly described. For convenience' sake they may be divided into two classes, viz., those with true perpendicular action, and those in which the saw, though sufficiently so for ordinary purposes, is not always perfectly vertical. In the former the saw can only move up and down in the same direct line. In the latter the saw is fastened to clamps at the ends of movable wooden arms, so that as these move the position of the saw varies to a small extent. In the cheaper class, that with movable arms, the tension of the saw is equal at all parts of the stroke. The cutting-edge can only be made to face in two directions, i.e., backwards and forwards. In machines with the perpendicular action when a spring is used the tension of the saw varies, though to a practically imperceptible extent; it is naturally greatest when the saw is at the end of the down­ward stroke and least at the end of the return one. The direction in which the saw faces can be varied so that long wood can be cut. It is not possible to remove the arms, as is occasionally a convenience when threading the saw into the centre of a very large piece of work, but still for all-round work we are inclined to prefer that with perpendicular action.
The Cricket machine is chiefly noticeable on account of its low price, which is about 13s. It is only capable of light work, but so far as it goes it is not to be despised. It has a tilting table, but no blower nor drilling attachment. The clearance is 16in. It is shown in fig. 15. The " Improved Rogers " is a very similar


machine, but is somewhat heavier and therefore capable of doing heavier work. It has a blower and drill attachment. Clearance 18in. from saw to back. Price 16s.
The '' Lester Improved " is a good machine on very similar
lines, but is very much heavier, being about double the weight of the Rogers or 501bs. In addition to blower and drilling spindle, it has an emery wheel, lathe, and circular saw attachments. For saw­ing the clearance is 18in. The circular saw attachment consists of an iron table 4 1/2in. x 3in., the saw itself being 2 1/2in. diameter. Natur­ally the cutting powers are not great. The lathe attachment is easily adjusted and is useful for doing small turning.
Of machines known as the "Dexter" there are three varieties, distinguished as A, B, & C, of which the latter, illustrated in fig. 16, is the best for general purposes. The drilling attachment is unusually convenient. The weight of the machine is rather less than that of the Lester, but excellent work may
cricket treadle scroll saw fretwork machine
Fig. 15. The Cricket Treadle Machine.
be done with it. The clearance is rather under 17m. The B. Dexter is similar, the principal difference being that it is lighter, the table does not tilt, and the clearance is 12 1/2in. The A machine has the same distance to the back as the B. It is made to fasten to a table or bench top. Neither the A nor the B patterns are often to be met with.
The "Rival," illustrated in fig. 17, is provided with a lathe. The machine is well adapted for sawing small work, its weight being less than that of the Lester and the swing of the arms is 16 1/2in. It has an upright drilling arrangement, like the Dexter.
The foregoing are the principal machines which the amateur is likely to meet with having movable arms. There are several more, but they are principally of larger size and may be considered as trade workshop tools for doing heavy cutting with.


26                             FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
The other class of machines, viz., those with perpendicular action of saw, may now receive an equal amount of attention.
The "Challenge" machine is shown in fig. 18. As will be
dexter treadle machine
seen, it has all the features of a first-class machine, tilting table, upright drill, and good blower. The swing under arm is, however, only fifteen inches, so that the space is com­paratively limited. It is a good heavy machine and stands firmly. There is also a lathe attachment, which can be had sepa­rately. The upward stroke of the upper saw-clamp is caused by a bent spring.
The " Fleetwood " is rather an ornate-look­ing machine, and is as good a one as can be met with, but rather expensive.
The "Britannia No. 7 " is an English-made machine and is repre­sented at fig. 19. Being made in England by the well-known Brit­annia Company, it posesses
Fig. 16. The Dexter Treadle Machine.
an advantage in having the manufacturers close at hand in the event of any repair being required. The table is much larger than usual, as it extends the whole length under the arm, so that ample support is given to large and fragile work while being cut. A loose piece affords easy access to the lower saw-clamp. The distance to saw from arm is twenty inches, so that large pieces can be worked on. The drill shaft, which is not visible in the illustration, is horizontal,


MACHINES FOR FRETCUTTERS.                             27
and will hold emery or buff wheels, or polishing brushes. The presser foot and blower are both good, and, of course, the table, as in the case of every good machine, can be fixed at any angle for cutting on the bevel. The upward stroke of the saw is assisted by a spiral spring.
The "Britannia Co.'s No. 8" is in every respect an admirable machine, and possesses advantages which are not found in any
other. It bears a strong resemblance to the machine last men­tioned, but has several important alterations. Apart from those fea­tures which it posses­ses in common with the No. 7, its chief characteristics are the heavy fly - wheel and the method by which the tension of the saw is secured.
The unusual weight of the wheel is an important factor in en­suring that steadiness of action which is so great a comfort to the worker and so essential to accurate cutting. The wheel is grooved for two speeds, so that metal sawing or heavy work which would be almost impossible on any other machine of similar size can be
rival treadle machine
Fig. 17. The Rival Treadle Machine.
done with comparative ease. Though the machine is stated by the manufacturers to cut wood fin. thick easily, there is no great difficulty with a suitable saw in working 1in. oak, by using the slow-speed groove, while either with this or the other one thin stuff may be cut with the greatest ease and accuracy. The equal tension of the saw at all parts of the stroke is


28                               FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
maintained by a very simple and ingenious arrangement of wooden arms, which dispense with any need for the somewhat objection-able spring which is usually an accompaniment of perpendicular action. The tension can instantly be adjusted to a nicety, or altered as may be required. The "Improved No. 8," as its name implies, is merely a modified form of the other, in which several minor details have been altered. Although they are only small,
challenge treadle machine
they are by no means unimportant to those who can appreciate them. The chief alteration is the addi­tion of an upright drilling arrangement similar in principle to that of the "Dexter" and "Challenge" machines. The construc­tion of the saw-clamps has also been slightly altered.
We have now described the leading features of the best - known machines in the market in order that everyone may be enabled to select for himself. Whichever machine the fretcutter decides on, a few general hints as to its treatment and care will not be amiss, though to those who are accus­tomed to machinery, either large or small, they may to a great extent be superfluous. The fitting together of the various parts
Fig. 18. The Challenge Treadle Machine.
will first engage the attention of the purchaser, unless indeed it is got from a local dealer, who may possibly deliver it fitted up. If sent by rail it will arrive in separate pieces for convenience in packing. To give details for fitting up each machine is of course out of the question, and all that can be done is to recommend the fitter to consider each portion well before attempting to fit up. As a rule there is no difficulty if a little care and judgment be


MACHINES FOR FRETCUTTERS.                             29
exercised. Perhaps the most important piece of advice is that no un­due straining should be exercised to put the parts together. If any great strength is required to get them to fit, it shows that there is either something wrong with the pieces themselves, or, what is
britannia number 1 treadle machine
much more likely, that the fitter is trying to make the machine up wrongly. All nuts and screws should be tightly fitted, so that the machine may be as rigid as pos­sible. All the working or frictional points should be well oiled, and where they are of wood a mix­ture of soft soap and blacklead or blacklead alone will be better than oil. "When the saw is fitted, notice whether the clamps are fixed so that the saw is straight and not twisted, and that it cuts directly to the front. If it does not, a little adjustment will be neces­sary. It will also be advisable to be careful that the table is fixed horizontally, so that the saw cuts square with the wood, that is, of course,
Fig 19. The Britannia, No. 1 TReadle Machine.
assuming that the learner will not at first want to cut on the bevel. It has been said that all screws must be fitted up tightly, but naturally when they are pivots, as in the case of those on which the wooden arms of the Lester-swing, discretion must be used. Some attention will be requi­site when adjusting swinging arms, for if they be too tight there will be unnecessary labour in working the machine, and if too loose there will be a sideplay which is neither comfortable nor conducive to good work. After a time the leather cord will probably have stretched and become loose, so that it slips in the


30                              FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
grooves, a little must then be cut off one end in order to shorten it; but if made too tight there will be an unnecessary amount of friction. When once it is properly adjusted a good machine requires very little attention beyond oiling.
Perhaps it is expected that something should be said about the cutting capacity of machines, as the question as to the thickness of the wood that can be sawn with any particular machine is often asked. Unfortunately for such inquirers it is not possible to give definite answers, but to give some idea of what may be managed, it may be said that few machines can be worked with comfort if the wood is over Jin. thick, although with some of them it is not impossible to saw through even oak of double that thickness. It is rarely that the amateur will have occasion to use wood of more than Jin. thick. Those who want to do really fine inlaid work will do well to select a machine with vertical stroke of saw and with a good and easily-adjusted presser foot, as otherwise it is difficult to prevent fine pieces of veneer from breaking. The machine for this kind of work should be one of the best.


     Home-made Tools and Appliances.

IT is not to be understood that the various things which the worker can make for his own use are not to be bought, for everything the fretcutter requires may be bought ready for use. There are, however, many who like to make as much as they can for themselves, and for these the instructions given may be useful, as the tools, etc., described are of the simplest construc­tion, so that anyone possessing a moderate amount of skill can make them.

Saw-Frames.—Naturally the saw-frame must first engage attention, and the form about to be described, and which is illus­trated in fig. 3 page 9., is of exactly the same kind as is used by practical marquetry-cutters. It may therefore be regarded as being the best in use.
The saw-clamps, fig. 20, will have to be bought, as there are few amateurs who could make them or would care to do so. Assuming
saw clamps
Fig. 20. Saw-clamps.
that a pair of these have been got, the frame may be made as follows. The material will be beech, or any strong wood which is not too heavy, 1/4|in. thick. Of this for a 12in. size the following pieces will be required, two of them 13in. long and one of them 8 1/2in. They should be 1in. wide, though if other proportions are altered ' accordingly these measurements need not be closely adhered to. The chief thing to be remembered is that the distance between


32                              FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
the two jaws is somewhat less than the length of the saw-blades. If 4 1/2in. be allowed clear it will do very well. The three pieces of the frame are fastened together at the back by a halved joint which should be neatly formed and glued. In each angle, as a stay, glue pieces shaped as shown in fig. 21. These must be trimmed to exactly the thickness of the wood against which they abut. Now, on each side of the frame at each of the corners glue thin (say, 1/8in.) stuff, covering pieces shaped out to correspond
saw frame stays
with the braces. The outer corners should be neatly rounded off for the sake of appear­ance as well as for convenience. A joint so made should be as strong as there can be any reasonable occasion for, but if considered advisable a few screws or fine nails run through will do no harm. So much for the
Fig. 21. Saw-frame Stays.
frame itself, but there is still the handle and its fitting. This will probably be a more difficult job. For the top end to hold the smaller jaw a piece of sound beech, or other suitable wood, l 1/4in. long and the same in diameter, will be required.
As it may not be convenient to turn it, there is no absolute necessity for it to be round. If octagonal, that is square with the corners taken off, it will be just as useful for all practical purposes, but it will not look so nice. Through the centre of this in the direction of its length a hole is to be made to pass the
handle of saw frame
Fig. 22. Handle of Saw-frame.
screw and receive the square portion of the shank of the jaw as far as the part where it is widened out. A mortise must next be made in one side of this little block to receive the tenon to which the end of the frame is cut. Do not reduce the thickness of the frame more than can be helped, and let the tenon be as large as it can conveniently be. The joint will be secured with glue.
The handle itself is a rather more complicated piece of work, but fig. 22. will assist in making all clear. On the jaw which is used in this part of the frame there is a small loose nut on the screw. This nut may be left alone for the present, but it will help


those who are not acquainted with the construction of a fretsaw handle to understand better what is wanted. As shown in the illustration, the handle is in two portions. The longer one is attached to the frame in the way described for the end, for the other jaw and the iron runs through it. Now, if the nut referred to be in the other part of the handle, as it is represented to be in the illustration, and a hole large enough for the screw to be bored in the length of the wood, it will at once be seen that the jaw may be screwed tightly to the handle. A hole through the smaller piece of wood might do without the nut, but there would be very little durability. It will be seen that the hole in the part of the handle where the frame is fastened on is only large enough to pass the square part of the iron, and that the remainder of it is bored to receive the thinner portion of the other part of the handle. This is bored to take the screw, which it will be noted may fit quite loosely within it. The nut is inserted by cutting a hole through from side to side. It will be convenient if the nut fits tightly. A handle about 6in. in length will do very well. Those
who have a steel or iron frame with movable jaws may easily make a wooden frame, as the handle they already have will obviate any necessity for a new one being made. All they will have to do will be to make the frame and fasten the handle into a larger hole in the block at the bot­tom than in the top one. If the wood in this block is to be of sufficient
shape of wood of saw frame
Fig. 23. Shape of Wood of Saw-frame.
substance to hold the part of the handle which in the iron frame is covered with the metal, it will look very clumsy.
In some wooden frames the blocks are not fastened on, but form parts of the top and bottom of the frame. It is claimed for these that they are stronger than those described, but as these are strong enough and have the additional advantage of being more easily repaired, there is no adequate advantage to compensate for the extra trouble of making, and consequently increased cost. Fig. 23 will show how the wood is tapered off from the block to the normal thickness of the frame.
The cabinet-maker's bow-saw frame, illustrated in fig. 5,p. 10, is one which can be made at home, and may with advantage be added to the outfit if there is any thick wood to be shaped. The shaping of the jaws may be omitted. The saw-clamps or jaws may be bought


34                              FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
with the handles at any ordinary tool shop, or they may be made at home, as they are very simple. Both handles being alike, it will be sufficient to describe one of them. The handle may be of any convenient shape and length that can be grasped comfortably. Into the end of it is screwed a piece of iron or brass rod of about Jin. diameter. A screw nail may be used, its head being cut off afterwards. A saw cut extending, say, Jin. will have to be made from the end into which to insert the saw-blade when in use. These blades are either kept in place by a small rivet or piece of wire. The simplest way of doing is to drill a hole through the metal at a right angle with the cut. A piece of wire run through this and the hole in the end of the saw-blade is then all that is required. Fig. 24 shows this part of the work clearly. The thin straight part of the handle goes through a hole in the frame and
section of saw frame handle
Fig. 24. Section of Saw-frame Handle.
has a thin piece of brass tubing round it to prevent it from splitting. As these handles can be turned in any direction without loosening the blade, the frame need not be a large one from back to front. The blades are made from 8in. to 16in. in length. One of l0in. is a convenient length. The total length of the arms may appropriately be from l0in. to 1ft. They may be made of wood 1in. thick and at the widest part some 1 1/2in. wide. The broad piece connecting—or rather, should be said, separating—these two will be in length to correspond with the length of the blade, about 1in. wide, and either of the same or slighter substance. At both ends it is sunk into a corresponding mortise in the other portions of the frame, but the fitting must be dry, i.e., without glue and loose. At the other ends of the arms from the saw string is wound round and tightened to the required degree by the small piece of wood which engages with the piece last referred to and so prevents the cord from unwinding.
To use the bow-saw the wood must be securely fastened to the bench, as one hand is required for each handle. Naturally the fretcutter will not use this tool when he can use something lighter.


Cutting-Board.—This certainly can be made at home, indeed it hardly requires making, for it need be nothing but a piece of plain board. For convenience, however, it usually has a triangular piece cut out, as was stated in Chapter II. This, however, may for some purposes be improved on. The particular shape and size are matters of comparative importance, but the arrangement is so simple that there is no reason why the cutter should not have several boards by him, so that he can select that which is most suitable for the work in hand. As the object of the board is merely to support the wood while it is being cut, thick stuff can be worked without risk of breakage on a board with a large open­ing. Fine delicate work, on the contrary, must be supported as much as possible, so that the opening for the blade should not be larger than is necessary. With these general principles to guide him, the beginner can have little difficulty in adapting his cutting-board according to circumstances. The opening is generally of a V shape, and it stands to reason that the inner angle should be acute, or the amount cut away may be so great that there is an inadequate support afforded. For a board of general utility there is nothing better than an opening shaped like a V with the V part terminating in a narrow passage for the saw-blade, while for greater freedom in working this there is a small circle bored out with the centre bit or other convenient tool. Large work can be cut over the V opening. It may sometimes be an advantage to use a board with a simple passage for the saw to a hole for it to work in. It will be found that it is much easier to work with a large opening than with a small one, as the saw in this is apt to catch in the cutting-board. At the outset it is not necessary to have a board with a small opening, as the beginner will not do fine work.
The size of the board should be as great as the saw-frame will allow, that is, it must be possible for the frame to swing clear of the front corners. As a rule cutting-boards are much smaller than the outside limit at which they might be used, but the larger they are the smaller the risk of the fretwork being broken while it is being sawn. On the other hand, if the board is too large it is apt to be unwieldy. For general purposes, perhaps, a board measuring 12in. by 8in. is as convenient as any, and it will do to make a start with.
In order to fasten the board to the table, one or two cramps of the kind shown in fig. 25 will be required. They are easily obtainable, and as a rule one will suffice. In the board, somewhere
c 2


36                           FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
near the centre, though nearer the back than the front, bore a hole large enough to let the top of the cramp, i.e., the end opposite to the screw, pass through it easily. The board might now be fastened to the table, but the upper arm of the cramp being above the surface would be in the way of the wood to be operated on, and this would never do. It is therefore necessary to cut a hollow
place in the board for this upper arm to lie in, so that it is below the surface and out of the way. If one cramp is not found to hold securely, then two must be used, the holes for them being bored not in the centre but near the edges.
Shooting-Board.—This has already been referred to so fully that it is unnecessary to say much more about it. A few detailed direc­tions will suffice. The total length may be from 12in. to 18in., and the width about 6in. These are suitable, but any others may be taken if pre­ferred. As an illustration has been given in fig. 12 it may be advisable to refer to it. On the top of the bottom board, which may be 1in. thick,
Fig. 25. Cramp.
another of about 4in. in width and 1/2 in. in thickness is screwed or glued. Its front edge, i.e., the one which is set back on the lower board, is to be perfectly straight and square. On one end a piece of wood is screwed so that it is at exactly a right angle with the edge of the piece last referred to.
The block for shooting mitres is on exactly the same principle, the principal difference being that instead of the stop being at a right angle, it is at one of 45 degrees, and for convenience there are two of them. Any angles can be shot perfectly true either by making shooting-blocks specially, or in a simpler manner by having pieces of wood cut at the desired angles, to put temporarily between the fixed stop and the wood being shot or planed.
Scratch or Router.— This is, considering its simplicity, one of the most useful tools which the fretcutter can have. Besides its convenience for cutting beads and mouldings on the edges of shelves, etc., its possession renders the worker almost independent of ready-made ornamental mouldings, which form such an important feature of many fretwork articles. The tool itself consists of a wooden stock or handle, to which variously shaped cutting-irons can be made and fitted at pleasure. It is


little more than a modification of the ordinary marking or cutting gauges. It is shown in fig. 26. The cutting-iron is movable, and the head or stop is part of the handle. This is formed of two
scratch or router
Fig. 26. The Scratch or Router.
pieces of any hard wood about 1ft. long, 1/4 or 3/8in. thick, and 1 1/4in. wide at the butt end. These are shaped as shown, and are kept together by two or more screws, the cutting-irons being thereby secured between them.
By loosening the screws the irons can be altered or moved as required. If a screw is in the way, it is a very simple matter to bore fresh holes. The preparation of the stock requires no special care, but the irons must be carefully prepared, as the appearance and regularity of the mouldings depends almost entirely on them. As the action of the tool is entirely a scraping and not a
edge of a board
cutting one, its chief utility is for small work, for to shape large mouldings or members of mouldings would be more trouble than the labour is worth; but it must not be forgotten that even a large moulding may consist of only small members, and that by using a series of irons much good work may be done.
For the irons, pieces of steel about the thickness of the scraper, which has already been alluded to in the chapter on tools, will do very well. Perhaps the best way of ex­plaining to the novice what is wanted will be to suppose that a series of three beads is to be
Fig. 28.
worked on the edge of a board, as shown
negative or reverse of the bead
in fig. 27. The iron to scratch this will be shaped at the cutting end as in fig. 28, which it will be noted is just the negative or reverse of the bead. The end of the iron may, if preferred, be shaped so that the three rows of beads are scratched at the same time. As a matter of fact, they would seldom be cut separately if
Fig. 27.
not much larger than represented, and an iron might at least be preferred to cut two of them at the same time. Whatever the number, it is only necessary after cutting one bead to move the iron into position for cutting the next one to it. It will thus be


38                               FRETWORK AND MARQUETRY.
seen that a series of beads and hollows of different shapes can be made by having suitable irons.
The scratch is used by holding it in both hands, keeping the inner side of the butt end against the edge of the wood to be moulded, and the cutting edge on its surface. It is then moved backwards and forwards till the iron refuses to bite. Only moderate pressure should be used, and the butt must be kept firmly in contact with the edge of the wood, which must be secured to the bench or table top. Not only straight, but round or curved mouldings may be worked with this simple tool.
Perhaps some direction should be given about preparing the irons, though after what has been said this is such a simple matter that it seems almost unnecessary to do so. The metal should, if possible, be held in a vice, and of course files are necessary to do the shaping. The filing should be straight across, so that the edges of the metal are square ; if they are rounded the scraping powers of the tool will be very limited. Sharpening otherwise than this is hardly necessary, though some people prefer to give the edges a final rub either with a scraper sharpener or with slips of sharpening stones similar to those used by carvers.
It is advisable to mark the outline to be filed down to, and as it is not altogether an easy matter to mark it on the steel direct, it will be better to glue a piece of paper and mark the outline on it. It may sometimes be a convenience to be able to soften the iron before filing, and naturally this implies that it must be hardened afterwards. The former may be managed by heating to a dull red and letting it cool slowly in the ashes, while the latter can be done by reheating and plunging into water. Great nicety of temper is not wanted, and the iron will be ready for use. Beads and mouldings worked by the scratch are generally the better for being touched up with glass-paper. In using this, care should be taken not to rub so roughly or so freely as to take the character out of the mouldings, which should be left sharp and clean. The paper can be held over thin slips of wood, shaped to correspond with the beadings, etc.


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