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Masters' Library


The Carpenter's Cyclopedia by Frederick T. Hodgson, 1913


“Good wine” says Shakespeare "needs no bush," which of course means that when a thing is good, praise makes it no better.

So with a book, if it is good, it needs no preface to make it better. The author of this book flatters himself that the work he has done on it, both as author and compiler, is good; therefore, from his standpoint a preface to it is somewhat a work of supererogation.

His opinion regarding the quality of the book may be questioned, but after forty years' experience as a writer of books for builders, all of which have met with success, and during that time over thirty years editor of one of the most popular building journals in America, he feels his opinion, reinforced as it is by thousands of builders and woodworkers throughout the country, should be entitled to some weight.

Be that as it may, however, this little book is sent out with a certainty that the one and a half million of men and boys who earn their living by working wood, and fashioning it for useful or ornamental purposes, will appreciate it, because of its main object, which is to lessen their labors by placing before them the quickest and most approved methods of construction.

When a man becomes a good workman, it goes without saying that he has also become possessor of a fair amount of practical geometrical knowledge, though he may not be aware of the fact.

The workman who can construct a roof, hipped, gabled, or otherwise, cutting all his material on the ground, has attained an advanced practical knowledge of geometry, though he may never have heard of Euclid or opened a book relating to the science.


Some of the best workmen I have met were men who knew nothing of geometry as taught in the books, yet it was no trouble for them to lay out a circular or elliptical stairway, or construct a rail over them, a feat that requires knowledge of geometry of a high order to properly accomplish.

These few introductory remarks are made with the hope that the reader of this little volume will not be disheartened at the threshold of his trade, because of his lack of knowledge in any branch thereof. To become a good carpenter or a good joiner, a young man must begin at the bottom, and first learn his A, B, C's, and the difficulties that beset him will disappear one after another as his lessons are learned.

To say more in this preface is unnecessary and a waste of time for both reader and author.

Collingwood, Ontario

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