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Chapter 6: 1941-1950 -- 6:2. Magazines and Newspapers With Woodworking Content; Woodworker's Manuals

Magazines with woodworking content

Tucked into a supplemental part of volume 18, 1949, of The Deltagram is the image below. As well as getting ideas for projects for the home workshop from The Deltagram itself, 15 additional magazines published in the late '40s are cited by The Deltagram editors as potential sources for projects.


Among these 15 periodicals with woodworking content are:

Popular Homecraft

Popular Homecraft celebrated two decades of publication -- in 1931, PH prided itself as being the first "home craftsman" magazine -- with an impressive set of graphs, below. (I am gratified to Philip Harrison for supplying the circulation data of Popular Homecraft.)


The Home Craftsman

The Home Craftsman added Arthur Wakeling as "Consulting Editor" in January 1947, and occasionally Herman Hjorth contributed articles. Previously, Wakeling served as a longtime "Home Workshop Editor" for Popular Science Monthly -- late '20, 1930s, authored numerous woodworking manuals -- The Home Workshop Manual and Things to Make in Your Home Workshop (both 1930)  and helped launch the National Homeworkshop Guild in 1933.

In 1949, Home Craftsman published a  selection of Lester Margon's articles in book format, Construction of American Furniture Treasures. (A "corrected edition" was issued by Dover Press in 1975).

(With obvious pride, amateur woodworkers' letters -- with photos -- to the Home Craftsman, give details about successfully reconstructing the examples of classic American furniture illustrated by Lester Margon.)

In 1950, Home Craftsman Publishing Corp. published in book form Herman Hjorth's the 18 articles from the 1949-1950 issues of HC, under the title, How to Operate Your Power Tools. In my view, in there time, these articles achieved -- and still do -- a high standard of excellence, for assisting wannabe woodworkers to buy the tools needed to furnish the homeshops they were creating in their basements or garages.

However -- and I'd like to know precisely why -- because, when the book came out, Hjorth's contributions were not acknowledged -- his name does not appear anywhere, and the preface notes that the book was supervised in its production by Harry J Hobbs, following the suggestion of Arthur Wakeling, who are, respectively, editor/publisher and consulting editor.

Hjorth's Home Craftsman Router Article

The "hand router", though, is the main focus of Hjorth's article. That it was written in the late 1940s is, I think, telling, as routers themselves came into the market in ?, and were not purchased by amateur woodworkers until 19?? -- I will follow up on this elusive data. (The image below is my "dome-topped" router -- date not known, but resembles the images of dome-tops used by Hjorth and Gunerman.)

stanley_router_dome-top_1940s The hand router, more familiar to the home craftsman or the shop owner doing light production work, is primarily a motor held in a base provided with two knobs. ... [A] versatile machine [it] can not only bore holes, ... make mortises, cut grooves for inlay lines and insets, cut rabbets, cut gains for hinges, make dadoes, groove curved work, bead and round small moldings, and do veining and routing after templates.

With ... a jig and fixtures ... the hand router can be used to cut dovetail joints, bead and flute turned legs. With a ...  [Stanley-made fixture you convert]   a hand router into a shaper. With the aid of a router stand, the hand router becomes a bench router similar to the heavy-duty production router.

The hand router motor can be raised or lowered in the base, thereby controlling the depth of the cut. The base also has a reversible guide fastened to two steel bars. One side is flat and used along straight surfaces; the other has a depression in it and is used for cutting along curved surfaces.

Sources: Herman Hjorth, "How to  Operate Power Tools", Home Craftsman 18 1949, pages 18-21, 55-58; reprinted as chapter 12, How to Operate Your Power Tools New York: Home Craftsman Publishing Corp., 1950.

Hjorth's article on the router, as it appears reprinted in 
Gunerman's How to Operate Your Power Tools

The Deltagram

In 1949, with the 18th volume, The Deltagram could, in rertrospect look back over a remarkable achievement. boast that its 2,240 pages. However, why was The Deltagram obviously having problems?

(At the moment, my evidence of these these problems is not much more than hunches -- if you're curious, please look for more info in the future.)

In part, I think, the answer rests in the fact that a chemistry of change was in the air in the post-World War II era. For example, check out the fact -- brought to us courtesy of The Deltagram itself -- that at least 15 other magazines existed with content actively promoting woodworking.

Shopsmith and Dewalt put on the market for home workshops some power tools that captured the imaginations of amateur woodworkers: Shopsmiths were being marketed by such national chains as Montgomery Ward, and gave the purchaser a combaintion tool for les than $300.00. A domesticated Dewalt radial arm saw was released. Even Delta itself released in the late 1940s its "Delta Multiplex" radial arm saw, although it is never featured on pages of The Deltagram in the 1940s. (Click here for the background in chapter 6:5.)

Titles of the Deltagram, 1932 to 1969

The Deltagram</strong>. Pittsburgh, Pa. : Delta Power Tool Division, Rockwell Mfg. Co., 1932-1959 Bimonthly (every 2 months)

Flying chips & deltagram. Pittsburgh, Pa. : Power Tool Division of the Rockwell Manufacturing Co., 1963-1969

The Rockwell deltagram and flying chips. Pittsburgh, Pa. : Delta Power Tool Division of the Rockwell Manufacturing Co., 1960-1962

Flying chips. Pittsburgh, Pa. : Power Tool Division of the Rockwell Manufacturing Company, 1969-

The Deltagram. Milwaukee, Wisc. : Delta Power Tool Division, Rockwell Manufacturing Company, 1932-1949

    (The 4-vol set)

    Back Issues of The Deltagram were bound into a compact 4-Volume Set

    deltagram_4_vols ... Here is the greatest collection of home workshop information that has ever been put into bound form, yes, it contains over 18 years of The Deltagramnow handsomely bound in four large volumes.

    As illustrated, the four volumes contain 2,240 pages:
      1,086 projects,

      220 pages on general shop ideas,

      209 pages on shop hints,

      82 pages of jigs and fixtures,

      81 pages on shop layouts.

    In addition, you get all this: 96 pages of the latest and best finishing practices showing how to stain, varnish, and silk-screen with secret formulas on how you can make your own stains and save money, 30 pages of designs, 41 pages on silhouettes, and if you want to make a few extra dollars for yourself we have added in volume 4, 20 pages on how to make money with Delta tools.

    Completely Illustrated

    There are well over 10,000 illustrations showing just how to make all these projects and how to get the best out of your shop.

    The four volumes are handsomely bound in dark red buckram cloth that will stand a lot of abuse and handling and are stamped with gold title imprints.

    You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your shop to have this information on hand, so send an order for the complete set or any one of the books that you need today.

    A grinding wheel which is not trued up and running smoothly, with perfect balance, is certain to wear away rapidly. It is advisable to mark the wheel as you would a circular saw blade, to correspond with a similar mark on the collar of the arbor. The marks should always occupy the same relative position when the wheel is replaced on the arbor. The results will always be uniform with a good balanced wheel. It is a good idea when putting on a new wheel on the arbor for the first time to try it in various positions until the best running balance is obtained, mark the wheel and arbor, and true it up with a diamond or regular emery wheel dresser.

    When machine spur bits and router bits become burned or glazed, it is usually due to the bits revolving too fast to correspond with the rate of feed. It is advisable to increase the rate of feed until the tendency to burn is overcome, or reduce the r.p.m. of the spindle.

    The advantage of using templates in routing and shaping operations is time saving when you consider that their use avoids the necessity of laying out the contour of individual pieces. On shaping, the pieces are scrolled out and edge-moulded at one time.

    Two or more sharp-pointed points or brads which project about 1/16 inch above the surface of the template or form, holds the stock firmly when pressed down on the points and is ready for shaping. The template is scrolled out to correspond with the contour of the design to be cut, a guide pin on the machine table rides against the template and controls the cutting of the design.

Delta Machinery's The Deltagram
ended the decade with volume 18.

the_deltagram_planning_work Volume 18 featured three special issues, taken together, occupied 137 pages:

1. "How to Plan a Workshop", pages 367-417

Edited by the veteran author of wooderker's manuals, Ed Hamilton, this section was later issued by Delta as a separate booklet, a 56-page How to Plan a Workshop

2. "Practical Finishing Methods", pages 423-484

Practical finishing methods; a complete handbook covering finishing methods in the home workshop, Pittsburgh: Rockwell Manufacturing Company, Delta Power Tool Division, 1955.


3."Making Money With Delta Tools", pages 485-504

the_deltagram_business_1949 "Making Money With Delta Tools", pages 485-504

. (I have not seen the 32-page booklet by the same title was Orignally issued separately booklet in 1936.)

Shopsmtih Shavings

[under construction]

 Shopsmith Shavings was first launched as Shopsmith's house organ in 1948, Initially, its title was ShopNotes. In 1948 (and probably into 1949) three issues were published.

American Home

[am looking at an article august 1942 on woodworking which features the basement shop of an Englewood NJ resident, G V Fuller], and some plans designed by H R Batchelor, J Julius Fanta, Douglas Lockwood, Betty Vaughan. and John Gerald Shea

American Magazine

This is the magazine that published several articles by Walt Durbahn

6:2 Woodworker's Manuals 1941-1950

Books issued by Popular Mechanics included Forty Power Tools You Can Make, with printings issued in 1941, 1943, 1944, and 1948; Power Tools and How to Use Them (1950);  and How to Get the Most Out of Your Homeworkshop With Hand and Power Tools

John Gerald Shea's 1944 Woodworking for Everybody. Shea had the high school in mind for the 1944 edition -- it was created as a text for woodworking in General Shop courses --  but subsequent editions (there were three, very successful ones) directed toward the home woodworker. More details given on each of these manuals in
[link needed] Woodworker's Manuals 1941-1950
For statistics on numbers of woodworker's manuals published decade by decade, see manuals access page More and more frequently, copies of woodworker's manuals are being digitized and uploaded to the Internet by Google Books. I try to keep up with these events, and indicate appropriately the titles of woodworker's manuals that can be read on the Web, but it is a large job, so I ask that readers inform me if they encounter web-based manuals. Obviously the impact of World War II on both America and Canada -- I am a native of Canada, but have lived in America since 1960 -- was virtually immeasurable, issues that I touch on in a variety of ways. 
lethbridge library books on woodworking 1947
 On the left, for example, is a (partial) list of books on woodworking, recommended by the Lethbridge (Alberta) Public Library in 1947. This list was published in the Lethbridge Herald,  March 20 on page 6.
For more this matter, click here to read the information that I have gathered so far. Below, in the gray- shaded box, is a brief list of the 29 books.


 Lethbridge Herald March 20, 1947, page 6:  

Library Works On Woodwork 

Carpentry and woodworking reference books available at the public library follow:

  • Graham. Audels Carpenter’s  and Builder’s Guide 1939; 
  • Ira Samuel Griffith, Carpentry ;
  • Hamilton, Home Carpentry;
  • Hodgson, Carpentry and Joinery Construction;
  • Saylor, Tinkering With Tools
  • Townsend, Carpentry, a Practical Treatise ..Building Construction
  • Wakeling, Home Workshop Manual;
  • Colvin, Running an Engine Lathe;
  • Milton, A Course in Wood Turning;
  • Sherwood, From Forest to Furniture, the Romance of Wood;
  • Faulkner, Wood Carving as a Hobby;
  • Helium You Can Whittle and Carve;
  • Moore, Chip Carving;
  • Craig, Woodcuts;
  • Doust, A Manual of Wood Engraving;
  • Ashcroft, General Shop Want, a Manual;
  • Collins, Working with Tools for Fun and Profit;
  • DeVette, 100 Problems in Woodwork;
  • Popular Science Monthly, Complete Home Workshop Cyclopedia;
  • Roehl, The Farmer's Shop Book;
  • Johnson, General Woodworking;
  • Practical Delta Projects Numbers 2-14;
  • Raeth, Master Homecraft Projects;
  • Champian, Creative Crate Craft;
  • Shepardson, Furnishing the Home Grounds: Woodwork Projects;
  • Williams, Stair Building;
  • Willoughby, General Shop Handbook;
  • Hodgson, Practical Treatise on the Steel Square;
  • Stoddard, Steel Square Pocketbook