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Essentials of Woodworking by Ira Samuel Griffith, 1917



An experience, somewhat extended, in teaching academic branches of learning as well as woodworking, has convinced the author that the most effective teaching of woodworking can be accomplished only when its content is made a subject of as diligent study as is that of the other and older branches. Such a study necessitates the use, by the student, of a textbook.

It is important that a beginner should become impressed with the necessity of keeping his tools in the best condition. Good results can be obtained only when tools are kept sharp and clean, and used only for the purposes for which they are made.

Tools properly sharpened and properly used permit one to work easily as well as accurately.

When it becomes necessary for the worker to use undue strength because of the dullness of his tools, "troubles" begin to accumulate and the "pleasure of doing" is soon changed to despair. Orderliness and carefulness, with knowledge and patience, are sure to bring good results; just as a lack of them will bring failure.

The bench top must not be marked with pencil or scratched unnecessarily.

Chisel boards are to protect the top from any accidental cuts and should always be used for that purpose. Bench tops that are scraped and shellacked or oiled every other year ought to remain in as good condition as when new except for the few accidental marks too deep to remove, which the thoughtless boy may have inflicted.


Good workers take pride in keeping their benches in good order. Tools that are not in immediate use should be placed in their racks that they may not be injured or cause injury to the worker.

At the close of the period the bright parts of tools that have come in contact with perspiring hands should be wiped off with oily waste kept for that purpose. All tools should then be put away in their proper places and the top of the bench brushed clean.


The beginner should also understand that, important as are the results he may be able to produce in wood, more serious results are being produced in himself in the habits he is forming.

Carefulness, neatness, accuracy, ability to economize in time and material, ability to "think" and "to do" because of the thinking, honesty, orderliness - these are some of the more important results that are oftentimes overlooked.

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