"socket-driven" machines and tools now
in use in wood-working factories, make
possible the accomplishment, with
accuracy and dispatch, of many tasks
which heretofore have been done by hand.
Until comparatively recently I had
been skeptical as to the practical utility, from the
workshop point of view, of the several
lamp-socket-driven machines such as the shaper,
bench jointer and circular saw, that are
coming into quite general use in wood-working plants.
This opinion has been reversed, however, clue to the
installation of several such machines, which I now use
daily as my job of bench work (or assembling) may
For instance, the electric router
saves an enormous amount of hand work. In the
hands of a competent workman the amount and nature of
the work possible with this handy machine is a veritable
eye-opener. To mention just a few: It is possible to
finish the ends of shaper stuck pilaster panels to an
accurate depth; to form the grooves for shelves and
divisions of filing and medicine cabinets or other work
entailing similar construction; to flute small
pilasters, whether straight, tapered or "entasised." [My
Webster's New International Dictionary 2nd
ed 1952 gives "a slight convexity" for entasis.]
The electric router is particularly adaptable to fluting
across the grain, as in the bands of clustered
cross-flutes, flutes and dots, and other variations of
fluting that are a feature of certain designs of mantels
and other interior finish. A common example of
electric-router work may be seen in the show windows of
practically any furniture store, on the drawer-fronts
and doors of household furniture, where it takes the
form of fancy designs outlined by a narrow flute which
is usually "picked out" in gold or colors. This work is
accomplished by temporarily affixing the necessary
pattern (usually made from three-ply stock) to the part
to be fluted, to serve as a position and depth guide to
the drill of the router.
Many other instances could be cited and are possible to
any workman endowed with the necessary initiative and
ingenuity necessary to construct such jigs, forms or
patterns as the particular needs of the job demand.
These are of the utmost importance, as it is absolutely
essential that a guide be furnished to control the
position of the cut and also, where necessary, its
limits. In the variegated cross-fluting mentioned, the
router method has two distinct advantages over
hand-carving. First, much more work may be turned out in
a given time; second, a much more clean-cut and uniform
job is obtained.
The small saw mentioned earlier has a top area of about
24-in. each way. It is used in the bench room to do the
miscellaneous trimming, fitting, mitering, etc., such as
is common to our line of work during the process of
assembly, and which is supplementary to general milling
done previous to the job reaching the bench room. The
saw bench is of rigid all-metal construction and is
fitted. with casters to facilitate moving it where most
convenient. When positioned, a locking device insures
its staying exactly where it is placed. Its accessories
include a ripping rest and two cut-off rests. These are
adjustable as to angle and may be used on either side of
the saw; slots in the table top make this possible and
furnish a distinct advantage under certain conditions.
An auxiliary top of wood is a feature of this machine.
It is fitted with two reverse directional fixed 45-deg.
rests and a fixed rest for square cutting. Two wood
slats fastened to its underside correspond with the
slats for the cut-off rests. The whole top is moved
backward and forward in the cutting operation. This
handy rig is particularly suited to such mitering jobs
as are within the range of the depth of saw-cut.
A notable feature of this mitering rig is that the
molding may be positioned either in front of or behind
the rest in
making the cut, something not usually possible on the
ordinary cut-off rest. For inside cuts such as on panel
molding work the stock is placed in front of the rest.
For outside cuts, as on the necking of a stair post, the
molding is placed (and rigidly held) against the
vertical back surface of the rest. The purpose of this,
needless to say, is to place, and cut the molding in the
position best calculated to prevent any tendency to roll
in the process.
Miters requiring an angle other than 45-degrees are
taken care of by adjusting one or both of the ordinary
cut-off rests as required. Deep miter cuts, as in case
bases or flat and wide moldings, are made by tipping the
metal table of the machine to the necessary angle. A
degree scale and pointer facilitate this setting, while
a locking screw insures its permanency.
The "socket-driven" shaper, another member of this
midget family, is thoroughly efficient within its power
limits. In our particular case (as in others I know of)
it is used as an auxiliary to the regular machines. It
has no regular operator but is used exclusively by the
bench hands on the simpler and lighter moldings of their
respective jobs. This materially relieves the pressure
on the regular shapers and makes for better work.
Incidentally, and clue to shorter waits for molded
parts, it ,enables the henchmen to execute their jobs in
more advantageous sequence.
In a part of the country where good shaper hands are
notoriously scarce, the increasing use of this machine
in the manner described, bids fair to relieve this
scarcity. Some of the younger men are showing an
aptitude which will sooner or later cause the "high-hat"
regulars to sit up and take notice. A case in point is
that of a very competent but some-what foolish shaperman
who many times has held up the bench-room through his
failure to report on Monday, Since the installation of
the light shaper his temporary lapses have not caused
nearly the amount of trouble previously experienced. It
is an interesting fact that the men who run this light
machine do so without any fear. Many of them would,
however, be very reluctant to set up and do the same
work on a regular machine. It is hard to see just how
they reason this out, but the fact remains,
The socket-driven bench jointer, while it does not
possess the versatile characteristics of the other
machines mentioned, merits favorable comment and
justifies its use in the bench room, by the amount of
hand-jointing it eliminates. It is, as a fellow-workman
expresses it, "as handy as a hammer." It can be picked
up and transferred where most needed, with the greatest
of ease. It is a great time saver in "jointing in" case
doors and sash, and in fitting drawer ends to their
position before assembly.
There is still another electrically-driven device
which, while much longer on the market than the others
mentioned, has not yet attained the recognition or
general use its time-saving merits entitle it to; I
refer to the electric hand drill. Much of the
work done on the benches is held together, or at least
reinforced, by wood screws for which holes have to be
bored. In many cases it is not possible to do this work
on the boring machine, and even if it were, the machine
might not be available at the time. It is therefore not
unusual to find that the necessary holes (often a large
number) are laboriously bored and countersunk by hand.
It should be fairly obvious that the use of this tool
would save a large amount of time and hand-labor under
such circumstances. A turn of the wrist mounts or
demounts a drill or countersink, while with it holes may
be bored in any position or direction.