Hyperlinks to Fulltext Pdfs of Vintage Tool Catalogs, Manuals, Leaflets, etc., for Hand-held and Portable Electric Tools, Vintage Collections of Designs for Furniture Bench-Top Woodworking Machines, and Other Miscellaneous Pubs Related to Woodworking
The items below are arranged chronologically
Three Searchable PDF Versions of 1880s-90s Marquetry-Fretsaw-Inlay-Veneer Manuals
David Denning, Fretwork and marquetry: a practical manual of instructions in the art of fret-cutting and marquetry work London: L.U. Gill, 1896. 158 pages
David Adamson, The art of fretsawing and marquetry cutting: a complete guide for amateurs and professionals, containing full and practical instructions for producing and making up marquetry inlays and every description of fretwork ... London: Ward, 1888. 158 pages
Eliza Turck, A practical handbook to marqueterie wood-staining and kindred arts London: L. Upcott Gill, 1903. 80 pages
Gustav Stickley's "United Crafts" Period: As Captured by an 1901 Unsigned Irene Sargent Booklet, "A Revival of Old Arts and Crafts Apllied to Wood and Leather"
Click here for a pdf of the booklet written by Sargent and images of the furniture designed by Lamont Warner.
At this era --1900-1903 -- of Stickley's operations, his designer, Lamont Warner (1876-1970), lays out the "heavy" versions of the initial Stickley turn toward the quarter-sawn white-oak furniture with the exposed tenons, tenons-and-keys, corbels, and so forth, that distinctively mark his "signature" products for the rest of his activity as a furniture manufacturer. Read more here and here. In a few short years, another designer, Harvey Ellis, softens these designs by scaling them down, and adds flourishes like inlay and curved components
The Craftsman Workshops Syracuse NY Catalogue "D" 1904
The Craftsman Workshops Syracuse NY Supplement to Catalogue "D" 1905
In February 1905, Gustav Stickley publishes an extensive catalog -- an 128-page "Cabinet Work from the Craftsman Workshops, or "Catalogue D", with either newly designed pieces, or modified pieces of earlier designs. In both its format and its contents, Catalogue D is a definite departure, indicative of a major revison of company policy.
As his chief biographer, David Cathers, notes, Stickley's earlier catalogs and promotional booklets have a more pedestrain flavor: -- bound in stout brown paper covers, Gothic typefonts, and Morrisian decorative borders that echo William Morris's designs. His editorial assistant, Irene Sargent, writes pieces designed to inspire, which link Stickley furniture to medieval antecedents and/or themes addressed by Morris
In 1904, Stickley sheds the medievalist facade -- created by Irene Sargent -- that he had earlier cast over his Arts and Crafts enterprise, making the "D" catalogs more straightforwardly indicative of a direct business orientation.
The covers are gray and rather industrial looking, while pages inside are filled with business-like black-and-white photos.
Lacking in these black-and-white images, of course, are the rich brown hues and textures of the actual wood. Moreover,the proselytizing agenda of Sargent's essays are gone, supplanted by a brief promotional "Introduction", annonuncing such innovations as sleek spindles, some with inlay.
In broad terms, with Catalogue D and its "Supplement" Stickley distills the heft of his 1901 and 1902 furniture with the refinements in Harvey Ellis's designs of 1903 and 1904.
Overall, these designs possess an integral wholeness, plain, modest, yes, but also coherent and sturdy. These new designs are tangible proof of a matured confidence, a confidence that results in simple, functional furniture that -- from his beginning in the industry -- Stickley aspires toward.
The mitered mullions once found on the doors of Craftsman bookcases and china cabinets were replaced by simpler, lap-jointed mullions. The backs of case pieces were now in most instances constructed of lightweight panels. Seams, where wooden members butted together on cabinet doors or the sides of cases, were now hidden beneath sheets of quartersawn oak veneers. Exposed tenons were still much in evidence, but few pieces with tenon-and-key joints remained in production. The most recent designs lacked the characteristic massiveness of the early furniture, and the timber used in their construction was generally thinner than the stock used before. Stickley's wood finishes retained their beautiful, subtle luster and durability but, like his furniture, they were increasingly standardized.
In March 1905, the month after the release of "Catalogue D," The Craftsman magazine begins the "Home Training in Cabinet Work" series. Although initially presented as entirely Stickley's work, it is in fact anonymously drawn by Louise Shrimpton. Some of the "Home Training" designs are created solely for the series, some are simplified renditions of Stickley production furniture, and others are inspired by furniture published in international art journals. According to the first article, the series' purpose is therapeutic, offering satisfying recreation to the tired office worker at the end of a stressful day, and also educational, providing manual training that will "fit a boy, by practice, to become a skilled workman, builder, or designer." It has the additional effect of getting low-cost Craftsman or Craftsman-like furniture into the homes of those readers willing to make their own. The firm may have derived some income from "Home Training" by selling Craftsman wood finishes and Craftsman hardware to amateur cabinetmakers. There is perhaps another benefit: Craftsman readers who had made a few pieces of "starter" Stickley might in time be induced to buy the actual product.
Source: adapted from David Cathers Gustav Stickley New York: Phaidon, 2003, pages 124-141.
Albert Fair The Steel Square as a Calculating Machine 1906Long Subtitle: being simple directions for using the common steel square for the solution of complicated calculations that occur in the everyday work of carpenters, builders, lumber dealers, plumbers, gas fitters, engineers, electricians, tinsmiths, blacksmiths, masons, stone cutters, etc., etc., with numerous illustrations.
Also includes an extensive, scathing critique of Frederick Hodgson, since 1883, the authority on the use of the steel square. Along with a citation of Hodgson's book, sections of Fair's The Steel Square as a Calculating Machine are keyed to my glossary entry on the Steel Square.
The Heavy Hardware Co:-- Jobbers of Carriage and Wagon Makers', Blacksmiths' and Horse-Shoers' Supplies -- 1913
This 140-plus page, well-illustrated catalog, contains plow shares, plow handles, wrenches, automobile springs, carriage frames, carriage wheels, carriage tires and axles, carriage tops and fringes, "platform gears" for carriages, carriage shafts and whiffletrees, horse shoes, horse shoe nails, hammers and sledges, as well as spokeshaves, draw-knives, anvils, machinist's and woodworker's vises, forges, tap and die sets, bob sleigh runners and shoes, 36-inch Crescent bandsaws, both manual and the new-fangled electrically-powered post drills, and countless other items. The Introduction for the pdf version of this catalog includes a photo of my Dad winning a plowing match in 1914, and using a few of the products -- plow shares, plow handles, double-tree, and the like -- the catalog contains.
Percy A. Wells, Furniture for Small Houses: Book of Designs for Inexpensive Furniture With New Methods of Construction and Decoration, London: Batsford, 
Designed to address a specific need -- recovery in the aftermath in Britain from the devastation of World War I -- Wells directed Furniture for Small Houses toward engaging furniture producers in creating furniture for the "working man".
Wells gives us "a group of designs for furniture intended for the homes of working people, some of which were shown publicly as room settings in London and regional centres, and published in book form.
In design, Wells's recommends furniture with an Arts and Crafts theme, but, as Stuart Evans, the material culture historian, notes, "pared down and without the expressiveness and individuality produced by that movement". Each of its seven sections cover one type of furniture — for example 'Dressers and sideboards' — with several alternative designs for each type of furniture.
Read more about Percy Wells here
Frederick J Bryant, Working Drawings of Colonial Furniture, 1922
Black and Decker Portable Electric Tools and Shop Equipment (Catalog No 6) -- 1923
Dewalt Products Company, Lancaster, PA, proudly introduced its radial arm saw in 1926. This 8-page leaflet -- an operator's manual which came with the Wonder-Worker-- presents details about Warranty, operating methods, care and maintenance, and a table of replacement parts. Numerous photos -- some with parts named, as assistance for making repairs -- are scattered, page-by-page, throughout the leaflet. To follow the historical context of this document, click here and read about the history of the emergence of the radial arm saw. And also see William Klenke's article on "the saw that cuts from the top".
The 1920s was a time of both frustration and transition in Industrial Arts, particularily woodworking. Frustration, because the profession was losing recruits to other interests. (With their operations set up in lines of mass production, furniture manufacturers could hire unskilled employees off the street. Instructors also needed to contend with a lack of interest among students.) In response, IA came up with several stratagems designed to solve the problem, including the idea of promoting home workshops.
One response -- very innovative -- for creating greater interest among boys for projects to undertake in courses are these two indexes to projects, concepts, histories and the like, published in woodworker's manuals and related sources. It freed up the instructor from details that boys could work out for themselves. (Taken together, these two "Bibliographical Indexes" are innovative examples of what -- in the academic world -- is called "From Theory Into Practice". Click on the links to see the contents of the books themselves, or see more details on Woolley's two books in Woodworking Manuals, 1921-1930 and/or click here for more detailed account of IA education in the 1920s.)
The first of a 3-volume set, this 8-chapter volume covers "The Value of a Workshop", "How to Plan a Workshop", "The Circular Saw", and "The Jointer". Four chapters cover the circular saw, circular saw accessories, operation, and "using the moulding head". The two chapters on the jointer are basics of jointer design and its operation. This set -- soon replaced with the individual volumes:-- How to Get the Most of ..., links below-- and The Deltagram, a monthly magazine -- evidently became a victim of the fierce competition in the emerging bench-top woodworking machines market. Numerous publications -- manuals and magazines -- were flooding the market, including the well-received 2-volume set, edited by Arthur Wakeling, The Home Workshop Manual and Things to Make in Your Home Workshop. Perhaps most interesting is that among the 15-model shops displayed are examples of minaturized "line-and-shaft" set-ups, a feature of home workshops before the concept of a motor for each machine became common
James Tate -- the first named editor of The Deltagram (detailed in Chapter 5:2) -- authored this spledid manual for the first Delta bench-top drill press. Getting the Most Out of Your Drill Press is 30 pages of "helpful hinsts from Delta", including photos and diagrams, with sections on "laying out the work", "twist drills and how to sharpen them", :how to drill", "the drill press in the woodworking shop", and "pointers on selecting a drill press". You'll notice that, unlike today's models -- with the motor belted at the same level of the drill head -- Delta's first bench-top drill placed the motor just above the bench, with the belt on pulleys first perpendicular to the post, then extending horizonitally to the drill press's head. For more on Delta's drill press, see this entry.
While this manual on veneering reflects the technology of the early 1930s, its contents has much to tell us today about the history and craft of veneering. As the title suggests, it is designed for beginners. The material presented is arranged in fifteen chapters, and covers the history of veneering, the advantages of veneering, the types of veneers, including marquetry and inlaid pictures, and copious detail on the preparation and finish of veneered surfaces. In a chapter on the history of glue, Hjorth touches on several glues used up to the '30s, including "casein glue" -- the publisher of the manual manufactures casein glue -- but also briefly notes that the recent introduction on the market of two kinds of "resin" glue -- phenol formaldehyde and urea formaldehyde -- show great promise for use in the "small shop and [by the] home craftsman".)
Sears launches into marketing power woodworking tools to the home woodworker with its "Driver" line, and several other products, including an 18" metal lathe
Introduction, walker-turner and_delta 1930s woodworker's manuals
This posting is a test case. I have created a pdf, consisting of 2 woodworker's manuals, and a brief single-page introduction to their contents. Each manual contains numerous images, which -- unfortunately -- are not very clear when viewed online, although when you print any of these pages out, they come out pretty clear, but still wanting. In the near future, I will investigate ways of making the images sharper. Please be patient.
Containing over 100 photos and line-drawings, this 70-page booklet gives "comprehensive" some meaning. Not only does the booklet detail features to Walker-Turner's two new bench-top woodworking machines, but gives readers instructions on how to use both of them as well as how-to instructions on creating marquetry, on high speed routing, on flexible shafts, in other words -- for the wannabe amateur woodworker of the Depression era -- a propectus for some exciting departures from the limitations of hand tools.
Containing over 100 photos and line-drawings, in design, this 70-page booklet is much like the booklet above. The booklet features three of Walker-Turner's new bench-top woodworking machines, instructs readers on how to use them, and gives insights on additonal uses; e.g., using the shaper's spindle as a drum sander. (I have a Delta shaper of this same vintage and just might try out the drum sander idea. With this set-up, and an up-down motion on the "travel" lever, you can get a poor man's "oscillating" sander.)
Published by the Leisure League of America, this 90-plus page booklet is another introduction for Depression-locked America to the burgeoning hobby of woodworking. Written by a veteran editor of woodworking magazines and woodworker's manuals, Harry J Hobbs, the booklet has seven chapters, with the first provocatively titled, "Fun in the Workshop" -- read chapter one here-- , but others include "making room for the workshop", "tools you need" -- hand and power -- "use and care of tools" and what to make". The numerous illustrations are all line drawings. This booklet must have had considerable impact, because it is recommended in the 1938 Standard Catalog for Public Libriaries, the bible for book selection by public libraries: -- read more on woodworker's manuals in libraries here
A lucky find -- I'm indebted to Mildred Champlin for this acquisition -- the "CASCO PROJECT BOOK" describes 28 prize winning articles made from wood and veneer by home craftsmen using CASCO Glue. Copyrighted in 1935, my copy states that it was part of a "Second Printing", which I take as a sign that this 32-page booklet was popular. Both the range of interests and the quality of achievement represented by the "winning" projects included in this booklet testify to an active, vibrant population of amateur woodworkers in this Great Depression decade. Please note the item by Herman Hjorth (directly above), also published by THE CASEIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY OF AMERICA, INC., 350 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY, a coincidence that suggests some collaboration between the Casein glue people, Constantine's veneers, and Hjorth -- if only because Albert Constantine himself, in 1954, collaborated with an aged Hjorth in the update of Hjorth's 1932 manual on veneering, above.
Ads about this competition sponsored by Casein are sprinkled throughout Popular Science Monthly and Popular Mechanics, and I found several half-page ads in my 1932-1934 and 1937 issues of The Home Craftsman
There is, I know, "more to this story", but I need the opportunity of looking at other booklets Casein published, year-by-year, during the 1930s. I will appreciate any assistance readers can supply connected with obtaining copies of these booklets.
Brown arranges his manual - thirteen chapters and appendix -- into three main parts: (1) woodturning, (2) metal turning, and (3) metal spinning. Seven chapters address such woodturning issues as "the lathe and its equipment" including tools, indexing mechanisms, measuring tools, spindle turning, centering, faceplate and chuck turning, special turning operations (post blocking; oval turnings, split turnings, turned boxes, duplicate turning, spiral turnings, fluting and reeding), "jigs and fixtures", lathe attachments (the sanding drum, sanding disk, other accessories), wood finishing on the lathe (wax finish, frictional polish, oil finish, varnish & shellac finishes, french polishing). Finally, six chapters cover metal turning and metal spinning. Profusely illustrated with black-and-white photos, tables of data, diagrams, and drawings of sequential operations.
Contents of this pdf gives "operating instructions:Operating instructions for belt type skil sanders"Operating Instructions Belt-Type Skil Sanders" no date, but 1930s vintage. I am indebted to David Hoelzeman for this pdf. Neither David nor I are sure of the date on his portable belt sander. For me, it looks 1930ish; for David, his memories are 1950ish.
This manual closely follows the format for their machine tool manuals that Delta adopted later in the '30s. (Tate's 1931 manual on the drill press above is in a 8-and-1/2" X 11" format.) In fifty pages, eleven brief chapters cover a wide range of topics, including "the shaper and its adujustments", "cutters and collars", "methods of operation", then shaping with "guides", with "collars", with "patterns", "using forms", "jigs", and "grinding shaper cutters". The last chapter dedicates over 10 pages to the "application of shaper cutters", most of it illustrations. Most usefully, many photos and diagrams are featured on every page of this booklet.
A remarkable book, it presents Collins' review of numerous power woodworking machines released for the home workshop in the 1930s decade. As time allows, I intend to focus on some of these machines in greater detail (in chapter 5:5 -- technological_development ); in the meantime, enjoy the comments by Collins about the woodworking machines that created excitement among amateur woodworkers during our Great Depression.
The bulk of this almost 50-page booklet is dedicated to the combo 8-inch circular saw and 5-inch jointer on a metal stand, but the 3rd page features a photo where the newly-released Unisaw is front-and-center. (Powered at 220-volts, the Unisaw comes with 3-HP, 10-inch blades, and tilting-arbor, and is out-of-reach the vast home-workshop population, especially in the 1930s.) The booklet's chapters on the circular saw include all standard operations and the "moulding" and "dado" heads, features that multiplied the usefulness of circular saws for home woodworkers in that era. (The lack of tilting arbor on the circular-saw is overlooked.) Included with the jointer's operations are rabbeting, beveling, taper jointing, tapering-in-the-round, and chamfering.
Forty pages packed with details about using the belt sander, the disk sander, the grinder, the buffing head, with many other details -- over 220 photographs and line-drawings -- organized in 12 chapters and an appendix. Grinding twist drills, using cutoff-wheels, and just sharpening tools makes this manual almost as useful today as in 1939.
Thirty pages of black-and-white diagrams and illustrations -- with brief text -- this is a WW II guide to hand tools for Americans -- engaged in the war effort on the home front -- who want an interesting and rewarding hobby while the combat in Europe and the Pacific takes its course.
Not exactly a "tool" catalog, this 8-page 1947 pamphlet reflects the post-WW II euphoria, of being free of the constraints of a wartime economy of rationing and other types of sacrifice. After an upbeat paean about the rewards of a sense of "accomplishment" that you can receive from taking up woodworking, Stanley then launches into suggestions about "selecting tools for a home workshop". These suggestions are grouped into two areas: "Primary tools" and "Tools to be added as needed". Reference is made to "the Stanley Tool Guide" -- something that I have not seen -- and the revised edition of the original How to Work With Tools and Wood
"Delta PM-1704 1949 "14-B 14" Drill Press Instruction Manual"
(Have misplaced this one; will upload when I relocate it)
Generously given to me by a woodworker friend, this tri-color leaflet extols the virtures of "The Deltashop" as "The Only Right Combination of Basic Power Tools.
Both booklets above generously given to me by another woodworker friend, Michael Turri. (This is Michael's website.) The first of the two, 17-page booklet shows how to set up and furnish an early 1950s home woodworking shop (with Delta power tools, of course). The one just below, Delta Homecraft Power Tools -- 46 pages -- is more detailed than the Delta Homecraft Power Tools booklet. Instead, it is cast as more of a "catalog" than a handbook -- it includes some floor-model table saws and the 8" and 9" "double-arm" radial arm saws-- although it has elements of a handbook-like guide for newbies. Nonetheless, overall, these booklets give a note of reassurance for any amatuer woodworker, namely, that by engaging in amateur cabinetmaking, a person will encourage for himself an attitude of, "happiness ..., because it is an ideal hobby", a theme repeated in both booklets. For some of us today this may be over-the-top, but in the 1950s -- the heyday of middle-class home-ownership -- I think that it struck the right tone.
Includes is Main part, 22-pages, and additional 4-page Instructins of Assembly of Craftsamn Adjustable Table Extension No. 9-2178. Approx date for saw, 1950s. Clues are, 1, purchase by original owner, 2, there is no zip code, which appereared in early 1960s. However, if any reader can help withmore precise date of manuafacture, please send me a message: email@example.com
This is the woodworker's manual of Walt Durbahn, beloved teacher on television in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Over 140 pages of text, photos, diagrams, etc., walk wannabe amateur woodworkers through the steps of creating 42 projects: furniture for the workshop, for the home and garden and even some home repair instructions. No index, but the table of contents is very detailed. Just the recipe for a bustling Do-It-Yourself American population, still recovering from World War II.
Published the year that I graduated from high school, this 30-odd page booklet is filled with images and plans for both modernistic -- rectinlear -- styling on cabinetry for many rooms in the home and for outdoor furniture popular for the 1950s, also in the modernistic genre. Dated, yes, but some of the designs -- with a little revisions -- could still fly today.
"A complete manual covering all phases of radial-saw operation< in the home workshop, with over 300 photographic illustrations and line drawings." Published by Delta in 1956, this booklet focuses on the classic "double-arm" RAS -- I've owned one since the late 1960s -- which, while it is over-shadowed today by the sliding-arm compound miter saw, it still does certain woodworking tasks well, especially cross-cutting boards and dadoing. Look at this pdf version of the manual for insights into "dado-head" operations and the use of the "moulding-head" on your table saw, including the numerous formulas for cutting complex mouldings like "crown moulding" and "picture frames".
That old French adage, "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose", i.e., ": the more that changes, the more it's the same thing", often shortened to "plus ca change", applies in the contents of this 1958 home handyman's guide. Yes, the "home handbook" contains material, text and illustrations, that -- in the "fifties" -- applied to a nation rapidly shifting from a largely "Great Depression" economy and collective mindset to one driven by the still "hot" economy that resuted from America's massive deployment in World War II. When I say something about "not changing", I have in mind here such things as "how to accurately saw a board with a hand saw", "how to drill accurately with a brace-and-bit", and othe similar activities of amateur woodworkers, now in the past. However, whether hand tools or power tools are used, the "how-to-do" principles that underly obtaining the desirable results are the same: "Cut along this line!" Thus the wisdom that this hand book contains is ageless.
Images and descriptions of sleek, art-deco-styled chrome-clad portable electric saws, drills, saber saw, orbital sanders, and accessories, all made to last.
For the owners of Stanley Routers, this is a standard operator's manual, but it is more, too. The cover:-- an image the classic Stanley-carter dome-topped router, a model discontinued in ? The contents also asks, rhetorically, what is a "router?", anticipating that in 1971, many amateur woodworkers still did not possess one. Looking back myself, I know that in 1971, few amateur woodworkers with whom I was acquainted still didn't have a router. I did not -- it was a tool still considered within the scope of the professional craftsman. That attitude changed in the later 1970s, and especially in the 1980s, when -- after 1976 -- the new woodworking magazines began treating routers as a tool for all woodworkers, not just professionals.
With editions published between 1973 and 1982, this Sears Craftsman booklet illustrates and describes what opportunites and options woodworkers -- especially amateur woodworkers -- had three decades ago. Shafts of the bits seem to be limited to 1/4-in. For many woodworkers -- from the 1950s on -- memories of using router bits constructed of "high speed steel", or HSS are better forgotten, because of the sometimes less-than-satisfactory results that HSS bits often produced. the vintages of this guide is revealed by the fact that HSS bits are the first featured. (Carbide tipped bits and bearings are also featured, but their novelty is evident by placing these after the HSS bits.) Accesssories include ball bearing arbors and bearing rings; butt-hinge templates for mounting hinges quickly on doors; router crafters; drawer and door panel decorators; edge crafters; router tables; dovetail jigs; trammel point; "rout-a-form pantograph"; and edge guides
This is a pdf version of the Instruction Manual and anatomical diagram and parts list for my early 1990s Elu router. I bought my router on the strength of a 1992 Shopnotes article -- issue #1 of SN -- and the manual clearly shows that the European developer of Elu had sold the router _- it happened in 1984, read more here --to America's Black and Decker corporation. I also uploaded all of the SN's review.