Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 6
   July 2012
 
   From the Archive
 

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

The Carpenter

The carpenter's shop.
The carpenter's shop.

In modern houses the labours of the Builder, the Mason, and the Plasterer, would be of little use unless they were accompanied by that of the Carpenter, since a very large proportion of every building consists of the woodwork of which its interior structure is greatly composed.

As it is one of the most useful, so the Carpenter's may be considered the most ancient of trades, for nearly all other handicrafts require the preparation or manufacture of the materials, but the Carpenter originally found his materials in the forest, and at once set to work to construct various articles from the trunks and stems of the trees best suited for the purpose. We can only imagine one trade older than that of the Carpenter, and that is the Tool Maker, and as the earliest tools, or at all events some portion of them, were probably made of hard wood, the Tool Maker may in some sense be said to have been a Carpenter also.

Strictly speaking, the business of the Carpenter is only with the larger portions of buildings and the rough timber frameworks which support them, and his principal tools are the axe and the adze, for chopping and roughly smoothing timbers; the saw, for sawing beams and planks; the chisel, for making mortise holes for joining beams together, and for cutting and preparing wood; the chalk line, a line rubbed with chalk, and used to make a straight line upon a board or beam, to mark the direction in which it is to be sawn; the plumb rule, already described amongst the Builder's tools; the level; the square; the compasses; all of which have been described in previous trades; the hammer; the mallet, and various sorts of nails.
 
     
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