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Masters' Library


Practical Carpentry by Frederick Thomas Hodgson, 1883


In offering this Work on Carpentry to the American Carpenter and Joiner, the author desires it to be understood that the work is not intended to take the place of any of the larger and more exhaustive works on the subject; but is designed more particularly for use as a hand-book by the workman that has not had time or opportunity to thoroughly commit to memory the principles it contains, and to occupy a small corner in the workman's tool chest, so that it may be referred to for consultation whenever circumstances require it.

It is quite true that many similar books have been written on the subject, each one of which possesses more or less merit, and the enquiring and progressive workman will make an effort to procure a copy of each kind, so that he may get at the readiest methods of performing the various operations of getting the himself that he has been able to string together a greater amount lengths and angles of rafters, cuts and curves for circular roofs, and lines for hoppers, raking mouldings and other beveled work; but there are thousands of workmen whose limited means will not permit of their purchasing a great number of these books, and who can not afford to buy the high-priced volumes which contain all the ordinary workman would require to know. It is for these men this manual is prepared.


 The author flatters himself that he has been able to string together a great amount of real practical matter in this little work then was ever before offered for three times its price. 

Another thing too, which gives the work more value, is the fact that every rule and solution contained in it can be depended upon, as an experience of many years in the supervision of workmen has given the author ample opportunities to test nearly every rule the book contains.

Almost everything of a theoretical nature has been avoided, so as to bring its utility within the grasp of those workmen who have not had the benefit of a common school education, and without the understanding of every apprentice boy. 

It has been deemed necessary to introduce a chapter on the formation of geometrical figures, so as to give the reader the necessary knowledge required to construct understandingly the figures that follow in the work; but everything of a mystifying nature has been kept out, so that it is hoped the reader will not get frightened at the threshold and drop the book because of the geometrical figures that confront him. 

It must be borne in mind that all figures described by pen or pencil, that have for their object the delineation of roofs, house plans, bridges, or other like work, are composed of geometrical combinations, and every mechanic has to meet these combinations every day, in some shape or other, when pursuing his regular occupation, and it is therefore quite necessary that he should know something of the principles that underlie the construction of the drawings he works after.

It need hardly be said here that the material for this work has been drawn from a large number of sources, as anyone at all conversant with the science of carpentry and joinery will readily discover that such has been the case.

Thanks are due the publishers for their liberality in keeping the price of this book - which is necessarily an expensive one to publish - at a sum which places it within the reach of every workman in the country.  It is believed the book will be appreciated by the persons for whom it is designed.

New York, 1883

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