Geoff's Woodwork

for Students of Woodwork                                          

Using Tools, setting out and cutting Joints

To use tools correctly and safely you should in the first instance be shown the right techniques by an experienced operator.

There are some excellent guides about but you should take care and avoid 'short cuts' and amateurish techniques sometimes suggested by a 'diy expert' . Although I would admit that there are more than one way of doing anything, some techniques show no respect to the material, the tool and most important, safety.

An excellent way of picking up good techniques is by obtaining the Stanley 'How to' series of leaflets. These were produced some years ago by the tool manufacturer Stanley Works and covered all the basic tool manipulation, maintenance, safety, etc. They also showed techniques for jointing, framing and using fixtures, etc.  you may find that they have been updated and in a different format to those illustrated below.   

I would wholeheartedly recommend everything shown on these sheets.   Perhaps except one little thing...... I don't recommend the use of the drill to cut out mortises.   It is not accurate.   If I did not have a proper mortise chisel, I would rather use a slender firmer chisel, taking care not to over strain it when levering.   However, I do think that it would be acceptable if I needed to cut out a very large mortise in hardwood.   Now that would be different but I would need to true it up afterwards with a chisel.

If you are unable to obtain these from your local tool merchant you may view them below.  They are in GIF, screen optimised format.   They print better than the screen image.    Try to obtain them direct from Stanley Tools or a local tool supplier.   Those currently being supplied are published in a modern format on yellow paper.   I have Acrobat *.pdf versions downloadable that are friendlier for reproduction.  Please email me at   Here

Stanley's 'How To Sheets'

 1 How to use simple woodworking striking tools
 2 How to use a Bench Plane and Plough Plane
 3 How to cut a clean shoulder
 4 How to use saws ~ tenon, panel and coping
 5 Securing two pieces of wood ~ selecting and using screws
 6 Preparation ~ the most important step
 7 Frame Construction ~ Simple corners ~ 'L' joints ~ mortise and tenon joints
 8 Frame Construction ~ 'T' and 'X' joints ~ halving joints
 9 Carcase Construction ~ Simple corners ~ 'L' joints ~ dovetails
 10 Carcase Construction ~ 'T' and 'X' joints ~ housings
 11 Stanley planes ~ parts and adjustment
 12 Cutter maintenance ~ planes and chisels
 13 Safety ~ chisels
 14 Safety ~ screwdrivers
 15 Safety ~ hammers

Stanley is a trademark of The Stanley Works.

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2nd January 2004