Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 1
   September 2011
   From the Archive

Excerpt from Book of Trades, Algrove Publishing Classic Reprint Series, 1999. (Originally published in 1866.)

The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer

Mahogany and many other of the harder woods are difficult to work, as the grain does not all run the same way, so that in planing them the wood is likely to split or chip where it should be shaved off smoothly. To remedy this inconvenience, the Cabinet Maker's planes are furnished with double irons, that is, an iron with a flat dull edge is screwed on to the face of the cutting iron, so as to prevent the shavings chipping against the grain. The more cross-grained the wood is the closer the workman brings down the dull iron towards the edge of the sharp one, and his shavings are consequently finer.

The veneering plane is about the same size as the smoothing plane, but the iron instead of having a smooth edge is toothed like a fine saw, so that, instead of taking off shavings, it makes scratches all along the grain of the wood. This is applied to the veneer as well as to the wood to which the veneer is to be glued, so that the glue may easily hold the two rough surfaces together.

  Tool chest
Tool Chest.
Previous to the veneer being put on, the work is well warmed before a fire, and the glue brush worked freely over both the veneer and wood to which it is to be applied. When the veneer is put on, it is rubbed backward and forward, at the same time being pressed down with the hands until it sticks in the right place. There are often lumps here and there where there is too much glue, and these are remedied by the veneering hammer, the head of which is made of wood furnished with a strip of iron plate. This strip is laid flat on the veneer, and the head of the hammer pressed with the hand while it is worked about by the handle, pressing out the glue as it moves towards the edge. When a piece of furniture is too large to be covered with one veneer, these thin slabs of wood are laid on in several pieces, the edges being first planed quite straight and made to meet with the greatest accuracy. The whole surface is afterwards worked with the toothing plane, and then scraped with a flat square piece of steel, which takes off a wonderfully fine thin shaving and leaves the surface perfectly smooth. It is afterwards finished with sandpaper.
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