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Vintage Tools


Making and Using Handtools


Workshop Makeshifts by Hans J. S. Cassal, 1898



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 particular tool.

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 owners thereof.

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.





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