Basic Construction And Carpentry Techniques Home

Custom Search

The "How-to-do-it" Books



By J. S. ZERBE, M.E.

Copyright, 1914, by


New York



A carpenter has a trade; the architect a profession. It is not to be assumed that one vocation is more honorable than the other. A profession is defined as a calling, or occupation, "if not mechanical, agricultural, or the like," to which one devotes himself and his energies. A trade is defined as an occupation "which a person has learned and engages in, especially mechanical employment, as distinguished from the liberal arts," or the learned professions.

Opportunity is the great boon in life. To the ambitious young man the carpenter's trade offers a field for venturing into the learned professions by a route which cannot be equaled in any other pursuit. In his work he daily enters into contact with problems which require mathematics of the highest order, geometry, the methods of calculating strains and stresses, as well as laying out angles and curves.

This is a trade wherein he must keep in mind many calculations as to materials, number, size, and methods of joining; he must remember all the [Pg 153] small details which go to make up the entire structure. This exercise necessitates a mental picture of the finished product. His imagination is thus directed to concrete objects. As the mind develops, it becomes creative in its character, and the foundation is laid for a higher sphere of usefulness in what is called the professional field.

A good carpenter naturally develops into an architect, and the best architect is he who knows the trade. It is a profession which requires not only the artistic taste, but a technical knowledge of details, of how practically to carry out the work, how to superintend construction, and what the different methods are for doing things.

The architect must have a scientific education, which gives him a knowledge of the strength of materials, and of structural forms; of the durability of materials; of the price, quality, and use of everything which goes into a structure; of labor conditions; and of the laws pertaining to buildings.

Many of these questions will naturally present themselves to the carpenter. They are in the sphere of his employment, but it depends upon himself to make the proper use of the material thus daily brought to him.

It is with a view to instil that desire and ambition in every young man, to make the brain do [Pg 154] what the hand has heretofore done, that I suggest this course. The learned profession is yours if you deserve it, and you can deserve it only through study, application, and perseverance.

Do well that which you attempt to do. Don't do it in that manner because some one has done it in that way before you. If, in the trade, the experience of ages has taught the craftsman that some particular way of doing things is correct, there is no law to prevent you from combating that method. Your way may be better. But you must remember that in every plan for doing a thing there is some particular reason, or reasons, why it is carried out in that way. Study and learn to apply those reasons.

So in your leisure or in your active moments, if you wish to advance, you must be alert. Know for yourself the reasons for things, and you will thereby form the stepping stones that will lead you upward and contribute to your success.


I. Tools and Their Uses
II. How to Grind and Sharpen Tools
III. How to Hold and Handle Tools
IV. How to Design Articles
V. How work is Laid Out
VI. The Uses of the Compass and the Square
VII. How the Different Structural Parts are Designated
VIII. Drawing and Its Utility
IX. Moldings, with Practical Illustrations in Embellishing Work
X. An Analysis of Tenoning, Mortising, Rabbeting and Beading
XI. House Building
XII. Bridges, Trussed Work and Like Structures
XIII. The Best Woods for the Beginner
XIV. Wood Turning
XV. On the Use of Stains
XVI. The Carpenter and the Architect
XVII. Useful Articles to Make
XVIII. Special Tools and Their Uses
XIX. Roofing Trusses
XX. On the Construction of Joints
XXI. Some Mistakes and a Little Advice in Carpentry

Basic Construction And Carpentry Techniques Home

Custom Search

Written and maintained by
Ronald Hunter
  All images and text are copyright Ronald Hunter 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009.
  All rights reserved