The straight cupboard lock is screwed directly onto the inside of the door with no preparation, hence no description of the method is required. For quality work something better is required. This is the brass cut lock (Fig 447): ‘cut’ meaning cut into the door. The cut drawer lock is similar except that the keyhole is at right angles to that of the cupboard lock. In buying a cupboard lock specify whether it is to go into the right- or left-hand stile.
Prepare for marking by setting a marking gauge to the distance of the key pin (Fig 448). Mark the chosen position for the keyhole with a square on the face of the door then carry it round onto the edge. The gauge marks the distance from the edge (Fig 449). At this stage drill a very small pilot hole for the pin. Offer up the lock to the centre line and mark the length of the box on the door edge (Fig 450).
This is an essential method because on some locks the pin is by no means in the middle of the lock. Mark out this primary cavity with a square and gauge. Weaken the wood with a number of diagonal sawcuts. Waste can then be removed by chisel. Use the simple hand router to complete the process to depth (Fig 451).
Hold the lock in place and scribe round it. Remove the waste to produce the second cavity (Fig 452). The keyhole can now be shaped using a larger drill and a coping saw. It may be finished with a round and a thin warding file. The keyhold is often left like this, but to prevent wear as the key is inserted an escutcheon may be fitted. The brass insert (Fig 453) requires the opening to be carefully filed out until the escutcheon can be pressed in with a G-cramp. Alternatively an escutcheon plate can be made from ebony, rosewood, bone, ivory, etc, and let into the door, either flush or slightly proud. A great variety of shapes is possible (e.g. Fig 454).
For fitting a drawer or till lock the routine is virtually the same. The socket for the bolt must be cut into the carcase. The door is closed with the bolt out, from which the length marking can be taken. Width markings can be made with a marking gauge (generally the points of a mortice gauge will not close sufficiently). Make due allowance for an inset or outset door. An alternative method favoured by some workers now is to ink the bolt end thoroughly with a thick felt marker and to quickly make a print with this before the ink dries, either onto the wood or onto a piece of masking tape. A brass plate can be recessed into the carcase to take the bolt. Unfortunately these are not usually for sale with the lock and must be individually hand made (Fig 455). (Making one by hand is an easy job – saw a piece of thin brass, file it to shape and drill holes in it for the screws.)
This is one of the most common methods of joining components. It is interesting that while British use the name ‘turnscrew,’ the American term is ‘screwdriver.’ This is significant in that a screw properly arranged should not need to be driven, which implies hard work, but merely turned.
The screw has the following parts (Fig 75): head, shank, core and thread, and provision must be made for each of these in drilling the hole, since the screw, unlike the drill, cannot remove any wood. A standard screwed job (Fig 76) is one piece screwed directly to another and Fig 77 shows a section through the joint. The top piece needs a clearance hole made with a twist drill, in which the shank is free to turn. If this is too small much more effort will be required and the screw slot may be damaged, or the work may split if the hole is near the edge. The top piece may require countersinking. The correct tool for this is the snailhead countersink, but as an alternative the rosehead bit or drill may be used (Fig 78); however this is inferior, being designed primarily for metal. A larger twist drill may be used, and this is most successful when used in a drilling machine with a depth stop.
The pieces can now be held in position with the screw dropped in place. A light tap on the screw will leave a dimple on the lower piece on which the next hole can be drilled. This is the pilot hole and its diameter is that of the screw core. The principle is that the drill makes room for the screw core and the thread bites into the sides of the hole, giving the greatest strength with the minimum effort.
The screwdriver end should be well maintained and the blade must fit the slot. If allowed to become rounded it will slip out. Too large a blade will damage the wood, too small a blade will probably slip from the slot. Handles are made in proportion to blade size in order to exert the right pressure. Long, thin electrical screwdrivers should be used with particular care to avoid stripping the thread in the wood.
Fig 80 shows alternative screw heads. The round head is commonly used to secure fittings. If these are very thin a shallow clearance hole will be required for the shank before drilling the pilot hole. The raised head is sometimes used on metal fittings, and is most commonly used in industry. It can be conveniently used by the hand craftsman in conjunction with the screwcap washer when screwing plywood. The nature of plywood and sometimes its thinness makes it difficult to countersink neatly for a screw head.
For very small screws a four-sided awl is most convenient for the pilot hole. A touch of grease on a screw allows it to go in easier and by preventing rusting makes a later withdrawal easier too. Oak eventually has a corrosive effect on iron screws so for good-quality work brass screws should always be used.
A carcase is a box-like construction made basically from planks, in contrast to the mortice and tenon construction of posts and rails. Small cabinets, cupboards, bookshelves, wardrobes and chests of drawers are all examples of carcases. The main requirement in anything but a nailed-together job is some form of corner jointing, which will be considered later.
A carcase does not generally stand on the floor (Fig 226) and the sides may be extended to form feet (Fig 227). A box plinth is often used (Fig 228) which may be inset or out-standing. Very common is a low stool (Fig 229) following the table construction and chunky oak pieces can look well on heavy block feet (Fig 230). Corner joints can be avoided by extending the sides (Fig 231) or by overhanging the top (Fig 232). Shelves, either fixed or movable, are generally required and often have vertical divisions. Doors, drawers or a combination of both (Figs 233, 234 and 235) complete the range of possibilities. Backs of some form, from quite elaborate constructions to plywood sheet, are normally the rule (Fig 236). Figs 227-30 require some form of dovetailing in their corner joints. Figs 231-2 avoid this joint, substituting instead a form of mortice and tenon or a dowelled joint.
In order fully to understand the workings of the metal plane it is a good idea, particularly for the beginner, to strip down the plane to its smallest component. If you have an old or secondhand plane this is a good opportunity to renovate it. Even if the plane is mis-assembled and maladjusted, no damage can be done to it. Figure 1 shows the structure quite clearly and gives the correct names to all the components. It will be seen that there are three distinct adjustments.
The depth of cut, that is the thickness of shaving removed, is controlled by the cutter adjusting wheel. The wheel running up and down a left-hand thread operates the Y lever. This in turn engages in the Y lever socket of the cap iron (or breaker), which it moves up or down. The blade is secured to the cap iron and is moved by it.
The second adjustment is lateral. The lateral lever has a circular stud at its end. When the plane is assembled it must be made certain that this stud fits into the slot in the blade. Movement of the lever thus moves the cutting edge sideways, preventing one corner from digging in.
The third adjustment is commonly called closing or opening the mouth. The whole frog is moved forward with the blade and the effect is to alter the size of the gap in front of the blade. The lever cap screw should be just sufficiently tight to make sideways movement of the blade with the fingers difficult but not impossible.
The aim of the following exercises is to produce full-length, full-width shavings. The first exercise will show whether the reader is achieving this aim.
Grip in the vice, edge upwards, a piece of clear softwood about 300 x 75 x 25mm (12 x 3 x 1in.). With a woodworker’s soft pencil draw a line down the middle (Fig 29). Using a sharp, well-adjusted plane, plane a full-length, full-width shaving. The pencil mark should be completely removed. Mark the wood with the pencil and plane again, repeat this for ten shavings. If a trace of the pencil mark remains, begin the count again. After ten successful attempts have a brief rest then cut a further ten. This is the technique of planing when the wood is narrower than the plane.
When the wood is wider than the plane, the technique is modified as follows. Grip in the vice a similar piece of wood about 75mm (3in.) wide. Clean the dirt and roughness from one of the wide surfaces and draw on it three pencil lines (Fig 30). Proceed to plane as before, in groups of three shavings, either left side, right side and centre or left, centre, right. After three cuts, if all trace of the pencil mark is gone, the score is one. Continue in groups of three as before up to ten. Start again if a trace of pencil remains. It is not necessary to take off a line with each cut, but after three cuts all the lines must be gone. Repeat as before for a second group of ten.
If the wood is wider still a group of four, five or more cuts will be necessary. The important thing is that the planing must be regular and consistent. Planing haphazardly all over the board will never produce a flat surface.
Facing Just as a building requires a true and accurate foundation from which all the subsequent measurements can be taken, so every piece of wood requires one accurate surface from which sizes and angles can be taken later on. This is known as the true face (often confusingly called the ‘face side’). There is a straightforward method of obtaining the true face, which can be tried out on a softwood piece of about 300 x 75 x 25mm (12 x 3 x 1in.).
Grip the wood in the vice and plane off the dirt and roughness from one large side (Fig 31). Resist the temptation to clean up all sides – it may look nice but there is a good chance of ending up under the required size. Now make a thick, soft pencil mark at each end (Fig 32). With a fine set plane try to plane the piece hollow. That is, start the cut just inside the first pencil mark and lift off just before the second. Continue this process with a fine set until the plane no longer cuts. Failure will be shown by the removal of a pencil mark. If this happens replace the mark and continue.
When the plane will cut no more, plane the wood from end to end. The first cut will remove a small shaving from each end, and subsequent shavings will get bigger. When a full-length shaving has been produced, stop, and test for accuracy (Fig 33). Naturally, if the workpiece is wider than the plane, groups of cuts will be taken in this way.
Tests for a true face There are three tests for a true face: 1. Is the work flat in length? Test with a steel or wooden straightedge which must be longer than the work (Fig 34). 2. Is the work flat in width? Test in several places with a rule (Fig 35). 3. Is the work ‘in wind’ (i.e. twisted)? ‘Wind’ is pronounced as in ‘winding a clock’ or ‘on a winding road.’ Test with a pair of winding strips. Place a winding strip on at each end, step back a couple of paces then sight across the top of the winding strips. These magnify twist and quite a small error will be revealed (Fig 36). Correct where necessary, then test again. Take care that in correcting for one of these tests, one or both of the others is not disturbed. When all the tests have been satisfactorily passed, put on a pencil face mark (Fig 37). For some constructions the true face is inwards, others require it on the outside. It is important to bear this in mind when examining the timber before facing. In other words, does the best-looking surface have the true face or not?
Edging The true edge (sometimes called the ‘face edge’) is the next important stage in producing material to size. The work already faced is held in the vice edge upwards and preferably with the true face outwards (Fig 38). This latter will of course depend on how the grain runs. The process is similar to that of facing. Clean the dirt and roughness from the edge on which the face mark stands. Make a strong pencil mark at each end (Fig 39). Plane as previously to hollow the workpiece between the marks, continuing until the plane no longer cuts. Now plane right through, stopping when the first full-length, full-width shaving results (Fig 40).
Tests for a true edge 1. Is the work flat in length? Test with a straightedge longer than the work (Fig 41). 2. Is the work flat in width? Test with a rule; if the last shaving was full width the work will be flat in width automatically (Fig 42). 3. Is the edge square (i.e. at 90°) to the true face? Test with a try-square in several places (Fig 43).
Correct where necessary and mark with a ‘vee’ pointing to the true face (Fig 44). Often a cross is used which is not so useful. If the face mark is lost the ‘vee’ indicates which side it was. If the edge mark is lost the face mark does the same.
Edge planing When the test for squareness has been made (Fig 45), it is more than likely that one side of the wood will be higher than the other. The obvious remedy appears to be to tilt the plane. However, this will merely produce a second surface (Fig 46), making it even more difficult to settle the plane. It was stated earlier that the jack plane blade is sharpened to a curve and advantage will now be taken of this. With the plane correctly adjusted (Fig 47), a shaving cut in the centre of the plane will be of an equal thickness across its width. A shaving cut near the edge of the plane will have a thick side and a thin side, the latter thinning down to virtually nothing. Settle the plane on the workpiece (Fig 48). Successive shavings cut in this manner will gradually reduce the high side to squareness. The last shaving should be cut using the centre of the blade. In order that the plane does not wander sideways during the stroke the normal grip is replaced by the edge grip. The left hand no longer holds the front knob but instead grips the sole just behind it with the thumb and first finger. The finger acts as a fence preventing sideways movement (see photographs 8 and 9). This is the standard method for planing all edges accurately.