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Easy Mission-Style Woodworking Projects

Easy Mission-Style Woodworking Projects

by Edward F. Worst

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Popularized during the early twentieth century (and for many, a welcome relief from ornately extravagant Victorian furnishings), Mission-style furniture, with its straight lines and cut-out features, is fashionable again. This volume, one of the best manual art instruction books of the early 1900s, shows woodworkers of all ages and abilities how to create handsome


Popularized during the early twentieth century (and for many, a welcome relief from ornately extravagant Victorian furnishings), Mission-style furniture, with its straight lines and cut-out features, is fashionable again. This volume, one of the best manual art instruction books of the early 1900s, shows woodworkers of all ages and abilities how to create handsome replicas of these sturdy, decorative pieces.
Perfect for beginners, yet challenging enough for experienced builders, the guide includes photographs, precise diagrams, measurements, and complete instructions for making a wide array of domestic accessories—from bread boards, candlesticks, and tabourets, to folding tables, chairs, floor lamps, and writing desks.
An invaluable guide for workshop projects, this volume will be of interest, as well, to miniaturists, collectors, and historians of American style.

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Dover Publications
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Dover Woodworking
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Read an Excerpt

Easy Mission-Style Woodworking Projects

By Edward F. Worst

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-44412-3


Problems in Woodwork

The Squaring Up Process

The first step in squaring up a piece of stock, is to get something to work from and that is usually a face, or the broadest and longest surface, of the piece of stock. If the piece of stock has been surfaced by machine all that is necessary to do is to take a few fine shavings off the face so that the planer marks may be removed. If this is done carefully and the board has not previously been warped, this is all that is necessary to get the face level. Mark this face with an "x." It is a wise plan not to give a beginner a warped or twisted piece of stock.

The second step is to plane an edge level and square with the face just planed. Mark this edge "x."

The third step is to plane an end square with both the face and edge marked "x." The fourth step is to mark the length with a rule, knife, and try square, and saw off all surplus stock 1/8 in. from this line. Then plane down to this line and square with both the face and edge marked "x." The fifth step is to gauge the width from the edge marked "x" and plane the other edge down to this line square with both the face and the ends marked "x."

The last step is to gauge the thickness from the face marked "x" and plane the other face down to these gauged lines square with all edges and ends. Discourage the use of the pencil.


This game, as shown in No. 1, Fig. 3, is played by one person. Place 32 pegs on sticks, one in each hole, leaving the center hole "A" vacant. Then jump over any peg into an empty hole. Take away the peg which has been jumped. Repeat this operation until but one peg remains. The last jump must land the final peg in hole "A." Any peg may do jumping. Jump in a straight line only backward and forward and right and left. The jump must be over one peg only into an empty hole. All jumps must be made in one straight line.

Nine Men Morris

This game as shown in No. 2, Fig. 3, is played by two persons. Each player has nine pegs. Player A puts a peg in any hole, then player B puts one in any other hole. They alternate turns. Each tries to get as many rows of three as he can, and also to spoil as many of his opponent's rows as he can. The pegs when once set cannot be moved around. The rows may be either vertical, horizontal or on the slant.

The one having the most rows of three wins the game.

Chip Carving

Chip carving, sometimes called "peasant-carving," is the development of the savage's delight in notching with a knife the wooden implements and objects of his daily use. As a home industry it has been most fully developed in Scandinavian countries by the peasants, during the long evenings of winter. As a means for the decoration of objects made by the manual training classes, chip carving has been found very attractive to the pupils and has stimulated them to greater effort in the accurate making of the objects to be decorated, for no piece of work may be ornamented unless it is the product of the pupil's best effort.

There can be no dispute as to the practical value of chip carving in training the hand and eye to deftly use a simple tool, and in showing the artistic effects which may be obtained in the employment of geometrical drawing. The plates on chip-carving suggest appropriate borders for boxes, and tea-pot stands.

Great care should be exercised in designing for chip carving, for ninety per cent of the work done should never be permitted. Avoid using the ordinary star shapes so often seen on boxes, match safes, and tea-pot stands. A simple border, carefully executed, is more attractive than the more elaborate forms. Designs for chip carving should always be carefully drawn with a sharp pencil, the pupils planning their own designs.

This involves an incidental teaching of the most elementary geometry.

Chip carving should be especially interesting to teachers of manual training. The fact that it is essentially a home craft makes it possible to provide profitable and attractive work to be pursued during the boy's leisure hours.

Few tools are necessary. The tool known as the chip-carving knife is all that is needed by beginners.

The work is not fatiguing and may be done on any kind of table, and makes little or no mess or litter.

The numerous objects of home life which may be decorated at a small cost greatly enhance the pleasure of the work.

Stationery Holders

The stationery holders shown in Fig. 10 are most attractive and simple in construction. Any one of these exercises, as well as the ink stand shown in Fig. 5, gives good practice in construction involving the use of the butt joint. In Fig. 10 the front and back pieces are nailed and glued to the bottom cross piece, the heads of the nails being sunk and the holes filled with filler. The exercise offers most excellent opportunity for applied design. In this case the spaces which may be stenciled are cut away. If stenciling is used the design should be outlined with a sloyd knife. This not only outlines the design but also prevents the color from spreading. Two different colors of stain may be used, or one stain may be used either on the design or the background, leaving the part not stained, natural. Any paint, cut in benzine or turpentine may be used in stenciling. When cut as above described it becomes a stain instead of a paint which destroys the grain of the wood.

A simple chip carved border may be used in outlining the design. If the holder is constructed and left perfectly plain as shown in the figure in the upper left hand corner, a calendar may be tacked or glued to the surface of the front piece, thus breaking up the space and serving a double purpose.

Bird Houses

The bird life of our nation should be a matter of concern to every one, since the birds are one of our nation's most valuable assets. The loss in the United States to crops, fruits, etc., from insects is estimated to exceed $800,000,000 each year.

Birds are the chief destroyers of insects, and it is the duty, and should be a pleasure, to every man, woman and child to protect these valuable creatures and to encourage them to remain about our homes. The housing and feeding of birds is of national importance. The boys are interested in studying the life and habits of birds and they will do their share toward bird protection. The proper person to help the boys and girls to make houses to attract birds, is the teacher in charge of the shop.

Great care should be exercised in constructing the houses so that they may be conveniently cleaned. The exterior of the house should be kept in the duller colors, as birds are more attracted to this kind of a house. Attention should also be given to the openings through which the birds enter.

If the wren is desired the opening should not exceed a diameter of 1 in., as shown in Figs. 18 and 19. If the opening to a wren house is larger it attracts the English sparrows who are conceded by the United States Government to be destructive to our native song birds.

The Tabouret

The tabouret shown in Fig. 26 was made from the working drawing shown in Fig. 25. It is designed to be made in the seventh grade since the construction involves no new joints or operations that are beyond the capabilities of the average seventh-grade boy.

The only new process in the making of this tabouret, that he has not already had, is the gluing up of the two or three pieces of stock that form the top. The gluing up of the top would perhaps be the best operation to do first, for it is the only difficult one in the construction of this tabouret. It might also be a good plan to have the boy dowel the joints of this top piece with two or three 3/8 in. dowel pins; since it is his first attempt he may not make the joints as well as they might be made, and the dowels will prevent the top from coming apart later.

He may next make the four legs, which will not be very difficult, the stock being ¼ in. thick. Then the cross pieces are next required. There is nothing about these that the boy has not already had, for he made half lap joints while in the sixth grade.

The broad or upper cross pieces, which may be made instead of the single piece as shown in the drawing, may now be screwed to the top with 1 ¼ in. number 8 flat head screws, into right position.

The legs are now screwed to the lower cross pieces and then to the upper cross pieces with ¾ in. number 6 round head blued screws. The lower cross piece may be made face up instead of edge up. This would prevent any warping that might occur in the legs, but would weaken the construction.

This is a very attractive as well as a useful piece of furniture when finished, since it may be used as a bed stand, a tea table or a plant stand. The dimensions of the tabouret suit all of these purposes.

Few problems lend themselves more naturally to the applied arts than the tabouret. The pupils study design but fail so often to make application of what they get, to problems of the shop.

Fig. 27 shows a number of most interesting designs for tabourets.

These may be sawed out or they may be stenciled in color, as was suggested for the stationery holders in Fig. 10.

When designing use paper and scissors freely. Through the cutting of paper into various designs, the pupil gets a most excellent idea of the surface covered by his design.

After the cutting, a careful design should be drawn. The drawing is transferred by means of carbon paper.

Every teacher of manual training should aim to introduce as much applied art into his shop problems as possible, taking care that what is used is good art.

The Shoe Polishing Stand

Fig. 28 shows the working drawing of a unique stand and Fig. 29 shows the completed stand. It is very simple in construction and, though not a very beautiful piece of furniture, it is surely the most useful one that a boy can make. The joints are all butt joints glued and screwed together with 1½ in. number 8 round head blued screws. The operations are the squaring up of duplicate parts and a little spoke shave work in forming the foot rest. The only new operation is the hanging of the door, which is not in this case very difficult. It will be noticed that the door is put on a slant so that it will stay closed without the aid of a catch.

The feature of this shoe polishing stand over all others is the rollers at the sides of the foot rest. A cloth is passed under the rollers and over the toe of the shoe. Then, when one pulls up one end of the cloth with one hand and then the other end of the cloth with the other hand, the cloth passes back and forth across the shoe. With this arrangement one can stand almost erect while polishing one's shoes, while without the rollers one would have to stoop away down.

Fig. 30 shows the working drawing of two sleds, both well within the range of a seventh-grade boy.

In Fig. 31 is shown a working drawing of a community bird house for martins. It contains fourteen separate rooms and is very simple in design and construction. A group of boys might make one for the school yard.

Plant Rack

The plant rack, as shown in Fig. 35, makes a most interesting problem for the sun porch. It may be constructed of either poplar or bass wood.

The box part may be made square instead of hexagonal, as shown in the drawing, Fig. 34. The former is more easily constructed.

It will be observed that the ladder part at the back is made of three strips. Each strip above the box is divided into three parts by two saw cuts. The several strips are held apart by small wedges while the cross pieces are tacked in place.

The application of the right kind of design adds to the interest of the problem.

The Costumer

The Costumer shown in Fig. 37 is a very good beginning problem for an eighth-grade boy. It is a large piece of furniture to the boy, and one that he will take great interest in. It is a very useful article when finished, for there is no home in which it cannot find a place, either in the reception hall or bedroom.

It would be best to square up the bottom cross pieces while they are in one piece and then cut them apart to their proper lengths. The bottoms of these cross pieces should be formed before the cross lap joint is made. The tenon should run through the cross pieces and made firm with a wedge.

The braces are next made. A pattern should be made as a preliminary. This can be made of thin wood or heavy paper board. Then the four braces should be marked out on the piece of stock for the same as economically as possible. They should then be sawed out with the turning saw and finished up with the spoke shave and file. There are several methods of fastening the braces to the post and base. They may be nailed with finishing nails, the heads of the nails being sunk and the holes filled with filler. They may be doweled to the post and screwed on to the base, the screws being placed up through the bottom of the base. Or, they may be screwed on as shown in the drawing, the screw heads being sunk and the holes filled with dowel pins or caps.

Telephone Table and Chair

In Fig. 42 are shown a telephone table and chair that are surely not to be classed with the ordinary telephone tables and chairs which we find on the market today; and yet there is nothing in the construction of either this table or chair that an eighth-grade boy cannot complete.

Fig. 38 gives the working drawing of the chair, and Fig. 39 shows the completed chair. It may be made either with the mortise-and-tenon, or dowel-joint construction. If there is no band saw at hand the back legs of the chair can be made straight; and if there are no facilities for bending the upper back rail, that may be made straight. The seat is of the slip seat construction.

Fig. 40 shows the table made from the working drawing shown in Fig. 41. This may be made either the mortise-and-tenon, dowel, or the butt-and-screwed construction as shown. The screw heads are sunk and wooden caps placed in the holes.

Instead of hanging the unsightly telephone directory on the table, it is placed in a little cabinet which is made by screwing in a bottom and hinging the front rail onto this bottom, as shown in Fig. 41. A place is provided on the top of the table for the telephone and next to it a place for a pad of paper.

The Folding Table

Fig. 43 shows the working drawing of a very simple and useful folding table, and Fig. 44 shows two of these folding tables, one opened and the other closed. The feature of this folding table is its compactness when closed.

The details of construction are shown very clearly in the working drawing. Either the mortise-and-tenon or dowel construction may be used.

The Writing Desk

In Fig. 46 is shown a writing desk constructed on different lines from those of the ordinary type of writing desks. At the first glance it may seem to be beyond the average eighth-grade boy's ability, but when closely analyzed the construction becomes very simple.

To form the different shapes shown one should use a band saw as there is a great deal of form work on this desk which cannot be done very accurately with a turning saw, by an eighth-grade boy.


Electric Lamps

Since more and more homes are being equipped with electricity, the making of electric lamps has become more and more popular with the boys in the manual training classes. It is a very good problem for this work, as it allows of a wide range of design and construction. Any of the more common joints may be used, such as the butt, housed, dowel, and mortise-and-tenon joints, the kind of joint used depending upon the grade in which the lamp is to be constructed. Not only does it allow of a wide range for individual design and construction, but it introduces a little of the elementary science work in the way of electric wiring. Here is a chance for the boys to learn the fundamental principles of wiring for electric lights.

Fig. 47 is a working drawing of an electric table lamp which has been worked out and found to be very satisfactory for elementary manual training classes. With the working drawing are a few suggestions for modifying the base of the lamp, showing the unlimited possibilities for individual design. The teacher should have each boy add something original to the design of his lamp.

Heretofore the one real objection to the making of lamps has been the shades. So far the boys who have made lamps have not been able to make shades to go with them to complete the problem, so they had to purchase some cheap, fluffy fabric shades, which, in most cases, spoiled the otherwise artistic effect of the lamps. But now this difficulty can be overcome by the use of the parchment paper in the making of the shades.

Parchment Lamp Shades

There is no lamp shade that is so artistic, lasting and inexpensive as the parchment shade. The parchment is prepared in the manual training shop by the boys themselves from ordinary white detail drawing paper. The wire frames may be made in the shop or purchased at a very small cost. Either water color or oil paints may be used to decorate the shades and these may be purchased at any of the art stores. The paper that is best suited for the parchment is Dietzgen's White Detail Drawing Paper, No. 70. It comes in rolls 36 in. wide and is sold by the yard. Any amount may be purchased.


Excerpted from Easy Mission-Style Woodworking Projects by Edward F. Worst. Copyright © 2005 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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