It has frequently been our lot to enter the workshops of
amateur mechanics, and of professional ones too, for that
matter, and to find the owners of them on the horns of a
dilemma respecting some little appliance or other which they
lack, and which seems to them absolutely indispensable for
the proper completion of the work in hand.
Yet in nine cases out of ten, these little tools, or
whatever it be that is needed, can be made by the worker
himself, that is, of course, if he knows how to do it.
"There are ways of killing a cat besides choking it with
butter,'' says a popular phrase, and it is the same with any
particular thing in the workshop - if it cannot be done in
one way it can in nine cases out of ten be successfully
accomplished in another.
But it is not everybody who has the faculty of getting over
workshop difficulties, and work is often put aside and left
uncompleted because the "how" of doing it is not known to
the amateur, or because he cannot get on without a
To the rich amateur this last alternative does not matter,
for if he finds himself without a tool which he thinks
necessary, he can go to the nearest hardware store and buy
it. But the amateur whose means are limited cannot do this.
He must make the tool himself or construct a makeshift.
Our object, therefore, in
this book is to show the amateur who cannot afford to
buy expensive tools, but who has a few of the simpler
variety and knows how to use them, how to make most of
the tools he is ever likely to need for himself; how to
make a lathe, fretsaw, etc., etc., for a few pence, or
in many cases for nothing except labour, from the odds
and ends that are generally lying around in most
households and are considered useless rubbish by the
And we venture to believe that although this book is
especially written for the amateur whose purse is small, his
mechanically inclined brethren, who have unlimited means and
time at their disposal, might pick up a few useful hints
from '' Workshop Makeshifts.''
Very naturally, under the circumstances, the reader cannot
expect to make, for the few pence above-mentioned, a lathe
upon which he can do ornamental turning or planing, or
milling, or fine screw-cutting.
But the lathe described further on is capable of turning
tool handles, chess men, and boxes, of cutting screws for
the lids thereof automatically to some extent, and of a host
of other things which the amateur who makes it will find out
for himself, almost, if not quite, as well as a lathe which,
when new, would cost five or six guineas.
And many of the tools of which we shall describe the home
manufacture will be as good as those which can be bought in
shops; they will be made from old rubbish, and will cost in
some cases nothing and in others a twentieth part of what
they would cost new, plus, of course, the value of the
labour expended on them.