Materials for Carpentry DIY Jobs
All the projects described in this section may be constructed with, with the additional use of and . Plywood is a sheet material composed of laminated sections, which is obtainable in varying thicknesses. The best type of plywood for home-handyman jobs is ‘resin-bonded’ ply; this is the descriptive term applied to good-quality plywood the layers of which are bonded with synthetic resin which render the material impervious to water. Resin-bonded plywood is superior to cheaper qualities, bonded with inferior , which buckle, peel and bulge when subjected to damp atmospheric conditions.
Hardboard consists of pressed fibrous materials, and is obtainable in several thicknesses — 1/8 in. being the most suitable thickness for general purposes. Hardboard is worked and finished in the same way as wood. Both hardboard and plywood are cut with a fine-toothed saw, using a handsaw for large panels — a tenon-saw for small pieces. If the teeth of the saw used are too large the back of the material will split and break away underneath the saw line. A perforated grade of hardboard is obtainable: this is also known as ‘peg-board’, and it has many handyman uses.
The softwood used for simple carpentry projects may be rough-sawn or ‘prepared’ — it has been previously explained that prepared timber is rough-sawn wood, as received from the saw-mill, which has been passed through a planing machine. Although prepared timber is slightly more expensive than sawn, which is also known in the trade as ‘stuff’, the handyman-carpenter will find it advantageous to use prepared timber which will save hours of laborious work in planing down by hand. In most cases it will be found that prepared timber is ‘in square’, which simply means that the right-angled edges are true right-angles of exactly 90°. In all branches of woodwork it is important to use timber that is ‘square’, otherwise, however carefully and accurately the joints are cut, the separate parts of a piece of carpentry work will not fit together properly. In many carpentry projects the handyman will be able to purchase prepared timber of the exact size required, for other jobs it may be necessary to cut a piece of prepared timber along its length. The sawn edge is then planed with a smoothing-plane; it may be necessary to reduce the thickness of a piece of timber and this is done with a jack-plane. Planed sides must be finished square with the other sides of the piece.
A piece of planed timber should be given a square face and a square edge, at right-angles to the square face. The squareness of the face side may be tested by placing a steel ruler on edge across and down the length of the piece. No gaps should be visible between the edge of the rule and the surface of the wood; any irregularities should be cut down. When the test is satisfactory, the face is marked with a pencil. The squareness of the face edge is tested with a try-square, with the handle of the try-square held flat on the face of the wood. The edge is true when the blade of the try-square fits exactly to the edge, and the face edge is also marked. With the face side and face edge defined it becomes a simple matter to mark any cutting lines along the length of the timber, and these are always marked from the tested face edge and face side.
Lines are marked on the timber with a gauge which is adjusted to set the required measurement between the point and the face of the stop which slides on the rail and is loosened or tightened with a screwed bolt. The face of the gauge stop is then held firmly and squarely against the face side or edge of the timber, and the tool is drawn along the wood to mark the distance line. The timber is then cut with a handsaw through the thickness to reduce the width, or with a jack-plane to reduce the thickness, and the trimmed surfaces are then finished with a smoothing-plane. When using a saw the blade should always run outside the marking-line. The finished surfaces should be square with the marked face-side and face-edge, and this squareness is tested with a try-square.
In addition to working with timber that has squared edges the ends of the length should be finished square. End squareness is tested by using the try-square. The try-square is also used when marking the end of a piece of timber for sawing. If it is necessary to trim the end of a piece of timber to make it square, this may be done with a smoothing-plane. The timber is secured in a bench vice, and the farthest edge is chamfered. If this is done, the end-grain will not split.
A piece of wood should always be planed with the grain, and not against it — except in the case of end-grain. The direction of the grain may be determined by inspecting the edges of the piece. The direction of the grain may vary in one piece, but the plane direction should always be with the grain and it may be necessary to reverse the direction of the plane along a single surface.
Any joints required in carpentry should be cut carefully and accurately; in the following instructions the type of joints used for making the different projects are described. If the handyman has any doubt about his skill in cutting joints, he will find it a simple matter to practise cutting the joints in waste pieces of wood to get the feel of the job before jointing the main pieces. The rest of the work consists of the unrestricted use of common sense, and plenty of elbow grease in developing the most valuable attribute to any job … experience.