fONVE CRAFTSMAM POSED BY CARL REIKIER,
By &.A. MILLS
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
The Whodunit-Yourseif Book
EVEN THE RICH HAVE THE ITCH
^ g^w ^(eiiiii^M
The Whodunit-Yourself Book
G. A. MILLS
\NN[. H. KOFOED
Home Craftsman Posed by CARL REINER
E. P. DUTTON & CO., INC
NEW YORK • 1956
BY E. P. BUTTON & CO., INC.
All rights reserved
PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing
from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in con-
nection with a review written for inclusion in magazine or newspaper or radio broadcast.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 56-5266
Lithographed by The Murray Printing Co.
Thanks to V. K. M.
2 EVEN THE RICH HAVE THE ITCH
8 IF YOU DON'T MIND SOME NEIGHBORLY ADVICE
The White-Collar Termite
12 BEGINNER'S PRIMER
Hammer Plus Nail Equals Ouch
13 THE WEEK-END CRAFTSMAN'S BASIC KIT
16 HIS FIRST CALLUS
17 FOR FUN, PROFIT AND A FEW SPLINTERS
A 14-Foot Cape Cod Ladderback Chair
Reversed Motor Reverses Gas Meter
A Modern Ivy Planter from That Old Stradivarius
22 THE WARPED WOODWORKER
25 WIRING, PAPERING AND OTHER OCCULT
The Baseboard Jungle
He Didn't Know It Was Overloaded
That Leaky Roof: The Proper Placing of Pans
All You Need to Mix Concrete
Letter to a Young Couple Contemplating a
33 MR. FIXIT, WOULD YOU BELIEVE . . .?
34 HOW TO SPEAK HARDWARESE
38 OY, HE MADE THE CUT TOO SHORT
39 THE PLYWOOD PLAYBOY
What the Well-Dressed Craftsman Is Wearing
All Tooled Up and Nothing To Make
A Beautified Barrel for the Handy Taxpayer
The Hot- Weather Hook
A Rush-Hour Crowd Plow
44 A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
50 HOW I WISH MY HUSBAND WAS HANDY LIKE YOU
51 FROM BROTHERS OF THE SKILSAW TO SISTERS
OF THE SKILLET
Teakettle That Whistles Dixie
A Venetian-Blind Skirt
End Table To End End Tables
Steam-Roller Electric Iron
56 THE PRESENT PLIGHT OF THE BOARD FOOT
58 RIGHT WAY, WRONG WAY, DOORWAY
60 HOW TO CUT DOWN ON YOUR HAMMER STROKES
63 ONE-EVENING PROJECTS (One Evening, That Is, In
A Dream Split-Level You Can Split Yourself
Extensible Bread-Stabber and Boarding-House Reacher
Getting the Most Out of Your Keyhole Saw
68 THE LITTLE SLUMBER BOOK OF LUMBER
76 JUST AN AMATEUR?
77 HINTS FOR THE HOMICIDAL HOME CRAFTSMAN
A Louis Seize Mousetrap
Macabre Wall Mottoes
Birdhouse for Vultures with Bat Annex
83 MACHINE VERSUS MAN - ALSO WOMAN
86 FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, ANDY . . .
87 INTO EACH LIFE SOME SAWDUST MUST FALL
Separate Bird Baths Prevent Mixed Bathing
Plaques for Walls, Slightly Cracked
Dinna Throw Awa' That Truss, Mon . . .
92 NEW ON THE MARKET
Short Cuts to Cussing
Transfuse It Yourself
Stale Bagels Make Heavy-Duty Washers
Train- Window Glue
94 MAN, DIG THAT CRAZY RONSON
'If you don't mind some neighborly advice, old man, you should have
mitered the ends instead of butting them."
AYBE you live with one, maybe
you're one yourself, but certain-
ly you know one — a Handy Andy, a
Mr. Fixit, the guy with a cellar full of
tools and sawdust in his hair instead
of dandruff. He's the home craftsman,
the do-it-himselfer, the fugitive from
While legions of these fellows were
boring, sawing and generally chewing
their way through $120 millions' worth
of lumber last year, termites were able
to eat their way through only $40 mil-
lion. Even if you throw in carpenter
ants, powder post beetles, woodpeck-
ers and beavers, the human wood borer
is way ahead. He makes even the fungi
of dry rot look as if they aren't trying.
TERMITE ^^^ what excuse does our man give
when confronted with these figures?
"Why," says he indignantly, "I am
building and improving my home."
But isn't that exactly what our bug
would say, and in the same affronted
tone? Who's right here, anyway?
Sawed-off History of How-To
The first home craftsman was the
cave man. He squatted over his work
and grunted. The modern home crafts-
man also squats occasionally but grunts
only when he tries to straighten up.
His language is much more developed
than the cave man's. You should hear
it when something goes wrong.
The cave man's basic tool was the
stone hammer. The modern woodwork-
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
er's is the power saw which is also more developed than the cave
man's stone hammer, but less versatile. You can't smack a dinosaur
over the noggin with a Shopsmith. Some man out on Long Island
tried it and they took him away.
But Noah was the first do-it-yourselfer of recorded history. He made
a triple-decker ark out of gopher wood. It was "300 cubits long and
pitched within and without with pitch to hold against a flood of
waters upon the Earth. " And Noah did it the hard way. No diagrams.
No handy hardware store or local lumberyard.
How-to-do-it-yourself has deep roots in American tradition, too.
No sooner had the Pilgrims stepped off Plymouth Rock than they met
an Indian who said, "How?" The Pilgrims showed him how damn
quick, and then came George Washington, a pretty handy guy with a
hatchet. He was followed by Abraham Lincoln, sometimes called "The
Rail Splitter" because the bench saw had not yet been invented. But
the era of the handyman who could do things for himself was already
doomed. Eli Whitney had put the crusher on it with his cotton gin,
which ushered in an age of decadent aristocracy.
Then, for generations, smart people thought of their hands only as
something that gave a finished look to a sleeve. Aside from the beau
geste of tossing an occasional hand to a hungry manicurist, it was a
THE FIRST HOME CRAFTSMAN
THE WHITE-COLLAR TERMITE
nuisance, something that got caught in mousetraps and was later to
cause misunderstandings in crowded elevators. The hand had to be
washed and dried endlessly. In winter it turned blue and had to be
blown upon or stored in an old pocket. The hand, in fact, had become
obsolete, and even feet were getting a vestigial look.
Suddenly, all this changed. About 1945 came the Do-It-Yourself
revolution and people began to rediscover their hands, to find that
they were ideal for holding tools, for doing and making things around
the home. Today smart people no longer show each other their opera-
tions, but their calluses.
In the wake of Do-It-Yourself has come an acute social problem
whose solution this modest book must leave to qualified observers of
the contemporary scene. But the problem can be stated here and, suc-
cinctly, it is this :
If four million problem drinkers who can't get past a saloon con-
stitute a growing menace in America, what about the eighteen million
home craftsmen who can't get past a hardware store?
Or as someone must have said 2000 years ago: Omnia suburbia in
duas partes divisa est. "All suburbanites are divided into two kinds
— those who brag about how handy they are and those who brag about
how helpless they are." •
THE MODERN HOME CRAFTSMAN
THIS IS A HAMMER . . .
THIS IS A NAIL . . .
AND NOW YOU'RE IN BUSINESS
THE WEEK-END CRAFTSMAN'S BASIC KIT
With these tools...
...a home craftsman built this
HIS FIRST CALLUS
it used to be that a chap
with a power saw could
make good money by
slicing dowels into wood-
en nickels. Then some
sourpuss started spread-
ing the word not to take
them^ and now nobody
will. But you can still out-
fit a burglar^s kit from
your ordinary hand tools
and make money on the
side at night.
. . . FOR FUN, PROFIT
AND A FEW SPLINTERS
The one man in four who can't shower between
haircuts will find that this Frontscratcher re-
moves itches that a toothbrush often misses.
Simply made from a dowel, steel rod and hand
cultivator (right), it is not just a tickle-stopper
but a heavy-duty performer that gives deep-
down, high-up and middle satisfaction.
True, the rib rasp is silly-looking, but what
man ever scratched an itch without looking silly?
And it's far better to face the problem frankly
with guns blazing like this than with all that
sneaky scrooching of the coward.
The woodworker whose power saw kicks out itchy saw-
dust may want to make a Frontscratcher to hang up
with hammer, try square and other hand tools in con-
stant use. The man below liked it so much he kept the
Frontscratcher and threw all his other tools away.
A - ■
" '■>* ;
A 14-FOOT CAPE COD LADDERBACK
Why make that boat you can't get out of the cellar when you can make this
chair you can't get into the house? Clever part about the 14-foot Cape Cod
Ladderback is that, by the time you have climbed it, you need to sit down.
c e I L I N G
REVERSED MOTOR REVERSES GAS METER
Here's a trick that pays off. If you don't know how to reverse your motor
electrically, invert it on bench (diagram). Next, lead reversed drive of belts
through side of meter to little wheel that shows how much gas you have used.
Throw switch and, in no time, your gas bill will melt away to zero and then
the meter starts running up a big, fat charge against the company. Smart
part of trick is it not only pays for motor but drives the gas back to gas
company. If you hear a dull boom in the distance, you know they've had it.
FROM THAT OLD
The most gratifying of all
projects for a certain type of
handyman is to make something
new out of something old with-
out spending a dime.
A Stradivarius is superb for
this purpose. You may have one
that has been lying around for
years. Or that hock-shop fiddle
little Jascha gave up — after the
neighbors called the police —
may be a genuine seventeenth
century article. An old dust-col-
lector like that makes a modern
ivy planter of charm and dis-
Distinction is indeed the
word. You won't realize how
distinctive a planter you have
made until you ruin the ex-
quisite instrument by prying
up the belly and then discover
it is really a Strad that might
have fetched $50,000.
The completed ivy planter (right).
Next project: A New Bobsled from
That Old Steinway. You'd better
head for the canebrake, though, if
any musicians should drop around.
If inside says "Antonio Stradivari of Cre-
mona made this in 1721," plant the thing.
Strad's "belly" may spUnter when pried
up but don't worry. It's only $50,000.
Looks at the
I HAVE BEEN ASKED to state the case of psychoanalysis on the
current craze for do-it-yourself which, if we are not careful, may
soon replace the craze for psychoanalysis. This I'd be crazy for liking
and, if you think I'm crazy, you're crazy.
Home hobbies are a menace to the Ego, the Super-Ego, the Id,
and the Middle-Iddle. Consider a man suffering from an Oedipus
complex. He's got his hands full without taking on a mitered dove-
tail. Repression, sublimation, frustration and — boi-i-ing! — he's had it.
Especially dangerous are these do-it-yourself wallpaper kits that
are sold to unsuspecting homeowners. Not one person in ten has the
emotional stability to come through the trauma of such an experience
whole. The result is infantile regression, half of them winding up in
temper tantrums and the other half sucking their thumbs. It is my
considered opinion that wallpaper kits should be dispensed only on
the prescription of a licensed analyst.
If you could see the amount of stuff I dig out of the cracks in the
couch after a busy day, you would get some idea of the enormity
of the home-hobby situation — the endless stream of nuts and bolts
that slip into the upholstery from home craftsmen's pockets. Never
any coins, mind you. Just nuts and bolts.
The female patients are no better. Needles, pins, bits of thread,
ceramic clay, Kem-Tone color swatches, God knows what all. Never
any purses or jewelry. Some days in this business you can't make a
nickel over a straight $25 an hour.
With that sort of thing and the kind of patient I've been getting
in the last few years of the new mass mania, it's a wonder I don't
crack up myself. Some of them were corkers — a patient who insisted
THE WARPED WOODWORKER
that every time he passed bird's-eye maple it winked at him; another
who kept dreaming that he went dadoing in his wife's Maidenform
bra; a kleptomaniac who stole my shingle one night and sneaked it
back with a dirty word scroll-sawed under my name; still another
who believed he had a screw loose — a self-diagnosis with which 1
Psychoanalysts are human too, no matter what you hear to the con-
trary, and day after day of this can get a man down. I, Dr. Sigmund
Shopschmidt, often forced myself to remember that the odd behavior
of my patients was merely symptomatic of deeply buried repressions,
childhood guilts and conflicts. But sometimes it was pretty difficult —
especially in the case of Andrew L.
In his childhood Andrew used to visit his maternal grandfather. The
old gentleman had a wooden leg and one day, as he dozed, Andrew
bored a hole in it with a brace and bit. With his little cousin Mabel he
played "Peeking Through the Knothole in Grandpa's Wooden Leg," a
game in which Andrew would look through one side and meet the
merry blue eye of little Mabel. During deep analysis, Andrew recalled
how they passed naughty notes to each other through the hole, and
then the shock he received when he peeked through again and saw,
not the merry blue eye of Mabel, but the stern and angry glare of
The episode is rich in Freudian fetich and, as the master himself
points out in Studien Ueber Katzenjammer Kidden Vat Machen der
Holen in der Grossvaters Shtump, it could have only one effect on
young Andrew, namely a polymorphous-perverse abreaction on the
ambivalent Imago, symbolized by anything round.
For the next forty years the painful guilt was suppressed in Andrew's
unconscious. Then, a few months before he became my patient, this
outwardly conventional family man began to lose control of his eye-
balls which, without warning, would suddenly rotate counterclockwise
in a rapid and alarming manner. Although these gyrations would last
only a few seconds, they were a source of alarm to Andrew's family,
friends and business associates, especially his banker.
The explanation for his attacks of cornea rotans ("waltzing eye-
balls") was, for a trained analyst like myself, clear as day. They were
undoing — counterclockwise — the guilt he felt for what, as a child, he
had done with his brace and bit — clockwise. When, in his forties,
Andrew installed a workshop in his basement, everything in it from
screwdriver to circular saw turned from left to right, a direction that
aggravated his feelings of guilt. Cornea rotans was merely a symptom
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
of his unconscious conflict — a protest and an atonement.
For three years of deep analysis I tried to force Andrew to face this
explanation consciously, but he proved to be a reluctant and difficult
subject, more interested in, say, the joinery of my Hepplewhite cabi-
nets than ridding himself of his odd affliction. Secretly he relished its
terrifying effect on his family, friends and business associates, espe-
cially his banker — and on me.
For let it be admitted frankly, I never could steel myself against
these neurotic seizures of his. When his eyeballs got going, they
dragged mine right around with them, stopping abruptly when his
stopped. My eyes simply followed the action with irresistible fasci-
Andrew's cure happened suddenly. He was lying on the couch one
day, looking at the wall bookcase above him.
"Who the hell made that. Doc?" he sneered. "Butt joints, for God's
sake!" He reached up to test its supports and suddenly the whole affair
crashed on his head. The shelves were loaded with some very heavy
tomes by Jung.
Andrew sat up groggily and looked at me the way his grandfather
must have glared at him in his boyhood episode. He blinked, and then
cornea rotans hit him — for what proved to be the last time. The expla-
nation, for a trained analyst like myself, was clear as day. He had not
been spanked for his childhood prank and now a belated punishment
(catharsis) had abreacted his abreaction.
His eyeballs spun like a wobbling top, blurring the whites and irises,
then stopped instantly on dead center. This time, however, mine did
not stop with his, but kept coasting on their own momentum long after
he had gone, leaving no coins in the couch but, as usual, only nuts and
It's a crazy business, this psychoanalysis, but if you think I'm crazy,
you're crazy. Believe me when I tell you I am not crazy and if they
would let me out of here I could prove it. It's a lousy padding job on
these walls — crooked, amateurish tacking and tucking. I could do
better with my junior tool kit.
I keep telling my visiting analyst that they ought to abolish occu-
pational therapy in these places. Woodworking may help "lead the
patient back into contact with reality" but, from what I've seen of the
craftsmanship craze, ten suburbanites lose complete touch with reality
for every patient who's led back to it.
My analyst just stares at me and then his eyes go round and round
when mine do. •
There are certain jobs
around the house that
should never be under-
taken without an auspi-
cious zodiac. If Mars is in
an ugly phase, no ladders
for the amateur handy-
man today. He will surely
lose his amateur stand-
ing. Let him knock wood
but not head first. For
these jobs, always con-
sult your horoscope. Or,
better, the classified di-
rectory and get a profes-
sional to do it.
One plug leads to another
and, before he knows it, the fixit addict is
joypopping amperes instead of ampules
THE BASEBOARD JUNGLE
FIXING that first lamp plug probably starts more people on the
downward path to becoming habitual handymen than any other
single job around the home. From fixing that plug, it is but another step
to adding a triple outlet and plugging in three more connections.
The new addict gets high as a kite from a sense of accomplishment
and soon he is trying other do-it-yourself kicks. From simple wiring he
slips into simple carpentry and, as the habit of handiness grows, he
develops a terrible craving for lumber. Now he is no longer satisfied
with joypopping an occasional lamp plug. The city toolbox leads inevi-
tably to the suburban workshop. The wretch is hooked.
Though lamp plug to power tool is the typical pattern of addiction,
some men never outgrow their first love — electricity in the home. They
are the Faradays of the wall outlet. Piling triple plugs on triple plugs,
they build up a baseboard jungle of lamp wires and appliance cords
that, as you see on the opposite page, is a thing of lush, tropical beauty.
In countless homes today, venomous volts slither and crawl through
the hanging moss and liana vines of this exotic growth.
The number of fuses in a fuse box usually indicates the number of
live circuits, and the common fuse for home circuits is 15 amperes. Yet
the electric broiler alone taps the kitchen circuit for 12 of those am-
peres — without Frigidaire, toaster, exhaust fan, light, mixer and a few
other loads. In the living room there may be air-conditioner, TV and
twenty-seven plugs to every outlet. In the basement — well, never
mind the rest of the house. Let's see what Ramar of the Baseboard
Jungle does when the fuses keep blowing. He substitutes a penny. He
doesn't even throw the master switch. And now look at Ramar. Yes,
he's positively glowing — but not with a sense of accomplishment. •
HE DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS OVERLOADED
THAT LEAKY ROOF: THE PROPER PLACING OF PANS
Any dope can fix a leak in the roof with hammer and shingles, but how
many dopes can place buckets and pans dead center under drizzles
using a surveyor's instruments and the principle of triangulation in
which the parabola of k(f x C) equals the refracting curvature of
the tertiary intersection, collimated to 1 /20,000th of an inch?
ALL YOU NEED TO MIX CONCRETE
THE FIRST and most important tool in laying a flagstone terrace or
cement walk is not a trowel, or a shovel, or a wheelbarrow. It is a
bar bell. After the home handyman has built up bicep, tricep, deltoid
and pectoral, it will be time enough to think about sand and cement,
wood floats and mixing platforms — and not until then. A simple test
will tell the would-be mason when he is ready. When he can pull a fire
hydrant out by the roots, he is ready.
However, a word of caution. All that muscle build-up may weaken
the brain to the point of idiocy. The result is our man can't remember
what he was going to make with that mess of sand, gravel, cement and
water. So he winds up making mud pies that give a yard the permanent
look of Stonehenge or the remains of Pompeii.
FOR A PERFECT PAPERING JOB,
JUST GET IT ON LIKE THIS
An Open Letter
TO A YOUNG MARRIED COUPLE
CONTEMPLATING A WALLPAPER KIT
Dear Beginners :
So you're planning to paper a room together? They told you this
pre-pasted, pre-trimmed stuff is easy? Just observe a few simple rules,
like matching the edges and getting them straight?
Dear children, don't do it. Not now, at least. Wait a few years until
your marriage has sunk deeper roots and first proved that it can stand
up under lesser strains and stresses like triplets or hurricanes.
Reno is full of people like you. They also loved each other and their
home. They, too, enjoyed doing things together to make that house
neater and nicer. Then one day some wallpaper came in the door and
love flew out the window.
Today Reno can't handle them all and the Virgin Islands are catch-
ing the overflow. But a brief ten years ago the Caribbean divorce mill
was practically unknown to Americans — and so were wallpaper kits.
Hardly a coincidence, would you say?
No, hundreds of these plaintiffs, only a few hours before they ar-
rived to establish residence requirements, were hanging their first roll
of Crestwood Crisscross #90, helped by the respondents they are now
suing for divorce. Strip by cockeyed strip, strain and tension mounted,
husband on stepladder, wife at the baseboard, each blaming the other
for the growing horror on the walls. Bubbles, wrinkles and rips in the
paper; glaring mismatches of pattern; strips cut too short and strips
cut too long; the pre-pasting too dry here and too wet there — these
things finally snapped the young and tender marital bond, and one or
the other was off for a quickie divorce.
Some of these broken marriages never got beyond the very first strip
of simple Frou-Frou #100 and probably would have cracked up any-
way under some other minor buffeting like infidelity or alcoholism. But
in other cases love was so tenacious that it took going behind a radiator
or around a window with Spiral Sunstroke #881 to turn that love into
raving and profane loathing.
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
You two young marrieds who are toying with wallpaper sample
books and kits should see some of your contemporaries pouring into
the divorce resorts. Many of them arrive in the clothes they were
wearing when lightning struck their marriages — wild-eyed men and
wild-haired women still reeking of fresh wallpaper, still in dungarees
smeared with glue sizing and plastered with snippets of Pyrrhic Vic-
tory #97. Then they make a beeline for the lawyer Polly Johnson
retained after she butt-edged the rosebuds of one strip to the wild
fern of another and Harry started the ball rolling by calling her an
oleo-fingered, thumb-headed moron.
Poor Polly and Harry! They thought they'd save money by doing it
themselves. But for the rest of their lives it will be salt in their wounds
when they remember, too late, that the lawyer's retainer fee alone
would have kept a professional paper hanger busy for months.
You two young people are in the early years of marriage when
mutual adjustments make enough demands and the incidence of di-
vorce is highest. Don't risk your future happiness for a few rolls of
Verdant Vertigo #219 that may bring out the worst in both of you
at the same moment, red-hot and head-on. If you are still speaking
fifteen or twenty years from now, your marriage will probably sustain
a joint wallpapering effort. After a couple has shared adversities and
each other that long, hanging a dozen rolls of Colonial Crazy Quilt
#999 is not too dangerous, and may even have the reverse effect of
bringing them closer together as suffering sometimes does.
Meanwhile, if you have run out of exciting new things to do together,
jump off the Empire State Building. It's messy all right, but it's still
neat as a pin compared to a botched job with Tropical Underbrush
"Mr. Fixit, would you believe there are still people in America who do
not know how to mortise a simple spline in a compound bracking with
a combination offset twister and reciprocating shaft-adapter?"
HOW TO SPEAK HARDWARESE
HARDWARESE is the new language by which increasing milHons
of do-it-yourselfers communicate with each other and Sears Roe-
buck. It is spreading so fast that many philologists fear it may soon
supplant English which will then become a dead pidgin like Latin,
spoken only by monks and academicians.
Before that happens you may want to think seriously about studying
Hardwarese. Its richness of phrase and delicacy of nuance can only be
suggested here. But to give you an idea of its scope, Patterson's Hard-
ware in downtown Manhattan can boast of some 60,000 different items
for the do-it-yourselfer, indicating a vocabulary for Hardwarese that is
59,750 words more than the average tabloid reader's.
But don't let these figures scare you. Hardwarese is no more difficult
than Urdu or Lappish, and much more rewarding. If you have a flair
for languages, it will help but, even if you are only a Harvard man, do
not despair. You can still learn to make yourself understood in a hard-
ware store without using your hands or frothing at the mouth.
The first thing to learn is to stop saying gizmo, a word that stamps
the speaker as a horrid, vulgar creature. A sophisticated hobbyist
wouldn't touch it with the draw end of a traverse rod. It is surprising
how many people, who consider themselves cultured, enter hardware
stores intending to buy, say, a single joist hanger and, through sheer
ignorance, walk out with a double-hung sash balance. Actually such
people are not truly educated; or, to be charitable, their education is
as full of holes as hook board which, of course, they do not know from
acoustical tile, just as they do not know an angle iron from a corner
iron or a wing nut from a turn button. They may be able to speak to
the waiter in French but they cannot speak to the clerk in Hardwarese.
"I need one of those gizmos the knob goes through," says a man who
may be a respected member of the community but who, to the initi-
ated, is but an ignorant, uncouth bum. Never mind that he has ended
a sentence with a preposition. Far worse, he has referred to an escut-
cheon plate as a gizmo.
HOW TO SPEAK HARDWARESE
If you will glance back at the italicized words in Lesson One you
will see that you have already gained a speaking acquaintance with
Hardwarese. The chances are that you were unaware of your progress,
thanks to this new method of teaching. It is known as the continuous
screw type and it countersinks a new language into even solid mahog-
any without marring the student's lovely surface.
Today let us take up Informal Conversation, listening to two do-it-
yourselfers as they meet for a neighborly chat over the capped rail
that fences their adjoining properties.
"What glues, Mac?" ( How are you, how are you holding together? )
"No leaks. Boy, you sure could slap a coat on it now." (No com-
plaints, no drips in my plumbing. What a beautiful day, what fine
drying weather for paint.)
"Not with this cracked headboard. Some sawdust at the project last
night, eh?" ( Not with this headache. Some fun at the party last night,
"Ninety and square, tyro." (You said it, chum, you cut an exact
"Say, who made that break front with the blonde finish?" (Who was
that shapely blonde?)
"Joe Fawcett's new attachment."
"That bruised thumb? Center your bubble." (That jerk? Level with
me, you're kidding. )
"Yep, no skewing."
"It don't assemble. Since when is Hepplewhite with a Formica top?"
(It doesn't make sense. What does a well-made chick like her see in
a baldie like him?)
"He stacks it in racks." (He has so much money he piles it like
"Well, I gotta sand it and get some skids for the scale models." (I
must shave and buy some shoes for the youngsters. )
"Stop in when you've sawed it off and we'll break out a box of
mending plates." (A shaker of cocktails.)
"My headboard could use one."
"E-Z do, tyro." (Take it easy, chum.)
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
Today we shall study Lumberese, one of the many dialects of
Hardwarese. Let us say you wish to build a rabbit hutch for the
kiddies. Maybe they've been getting out of hand lately and a short
stay in a rabbit hutch is just what they need to bring them to their
senses. So off we go to the lumberyard to fill our bill of materials —
some stout 4 x 4's and a bale, of 20-ga. galvanized spiral locktwist
poultry netting ( allee samee "chicken wire " in Chinee. )
The scene: Suburbia. The time: Saturday morning.
As we enter the yard we are reminded of an anthill that has just
been ripped open. Hordes of wingless creatures dart about, carrying
or dragging boards many times their size. They are a marauding
species known as the shoulder trade (as distinct from the building
trade ) . These week-end hobbyists are trying to beat Saturday's earlier
closing hour by waiting on themselves. They seek only the choicest
boards and these always seem to be at the bottom of the stacks.
Defending the precious stores against the invaders are a few lum-
beryard workers, a tough and heroic species — also wingless — who
will often fight to the death against overwhelming odds to prevent
customers from getting their feelers on the neat piles of 1 x6 — 18 —
Cedar Shiplap and 1 x 10 — 16 — Fas — White Redwood S4S.
Standing aside from the melee is a little man who is woodless, un-
lumbered and ignored. It happens that he is a Rhodes scholar and
Nobel Prize winner. He can make himself understood in Prakrit or
any of the seventeen dialects of the Upper Irrawaddy, yet he speaks
Lumberese so brokenly that he is the laughing stock of his com-
munity. He needs (2) 6' x 5" scalloped cornice but he doesn't know
how to ask for it and he's too timid to seize it. Finally he nerves
himself to address a yard man hurrying by to defend a bin of cove
"I have a problem. Please. Attendez, monsieur. C'est tres important.
Si, si, muy importante. Achtung, herr, sehr drigend. Senhor, muito
"The little boys' room is right behind that sash and sheet rock,"
shouts the yard man over his shoulder.
"Sash — nein, non, nyet. Scallops — ja, oui, si, da."
"Try the fish store, Shloimie."
Suddenly, before we can make known our own needs for building
the rabbit hutch in fluent Lumberese, the whistle blows, and the
side is retired. We shall come earlier next Saturday and try again.
HOW TO SPEAK HARDWARESE
and meanwhile you might practice the new words you have learned
in this lesson. The hardware store will still be open and you can pick
up a reel of /2-in. Manila (rope) that will hold down the kiddies
Just as the best French is Parisian and the best Spanish Castilian,
so the best Hardwarese is Pattersonian (after the store we learned
about in the Introduction, q. v. ) . Today we shall have a look at this
pure Pattersonian, or advanced Hardwarese.
Our home handyman has decided that, since August is almost
gone, spring repairs cannot be put off any longer and the first job is to
pcimafloy the coopel. * This means a stop at the hardware, the plumb-
er's supply, the lumberyard, the dime store, and the Town Cafe for
some quick courage to begin.
First, however, our handyman will wisely make out a bill of ma-
terials ( Lesson Three ) , estimating as accurately as he can how much
permafloy he will need for the coopel's undernubbing and how much
for its flammisters, which are beginning to show serious dip-off.
Accuracy here means a real saving and therefore the smart home
owner will take a closer look at the situation. True, this entails extra
trouble and delays completion of the bill of materials because he
must first rig a temporary fransom-and-snoffit that will take his weight.
But the shrewd householder knows that there is no point to perma-
floying the coopel himself if he winds up with a small fortune in
unused conkling and shambles.
So now, up there on the rickety fransom-and-snoffit, our handyman
can get a good close look at the undernubbing, and stop guessing. The
trouble is worse than he feared. Not only is the dip-off sniding badly
but one of the flammisters has sprung a runnion in the whole goddamn
This means that, before the coopel can be permafloyed, it will have
to be lamineered.
Wearily our handyman descends. He is now ready to write up his
bill of materials, and who can blame him if he does it on the good,
solid, permafloyed bar of the Town Cafe? Who would cast the first
coopel? Who the first snoffit?
' Cf. King Henry V, Act IV, Scene IV where Pistol says: "Ouy, cuppele gorge, permafoy etc."
These variorum spellings that allude to permafloying a coopel are a remarkable instance of
Shakespeare's genius, as Elizabethan houses had no "cuppeles" nor had the chemical industry
yet developed permafloy.
OY, HE MADE THE CUT TOO SHORT
Ever wonder what hap-
pened to the good old
bourgeoisie? They have
ail become home prole-
tarians, their hands per-
manently crooked to the
grasp of tools. For such
tycoons, chained to their
lathes and power saws,
here are some projects
that will have a carpen-
ters' local knocking at the
cellar door to sign up.
THE PLYWOOD PLAYBOY
All Tooled Up
Bib overalls that feature the
"Plunging Bib Line" keynote the
trend to casual elegance in town
and country workshops. The deep
"Bandoleer Pockets" for auger
bits and chisels are superbly bar-
tacked by hand. The loops for
hammer and saw are of imported
boatsail now favored by correctly
groomed handymen everywhere.
A Beautified Barrel
for tlie Handy Taxpayer
A richly coopered suiting for
the man whom Internal Rev-
enue has left nothing but his
tools and a fierce pride that
may be down but never out.
Men who would rather die
from summer sun than be
caught without a jacket
may see an acceptable com-
promise between conven-
tion and comfort in the
Hot-Weather Hook. This
way they can sort of wear
a jacket and sort of not.
Made of leather straps,
a 5'' wooden disk and an
ordinary clothes hook, it
is basically an adaptation
of the hobo's bindle. In-
stead of carrying it over
a shoulder on a stick, the
white-collar bindle stiff can
carry it respectably cen-
tered on his back, like a
Common on small farms
but never before used in
cities, the walking plow
is here adapted to getting
through New York's rush-
Based on the ridging
plow, it has double mold-
boards of /2" ply, joined
by piano hinges for firm
side thrusts which shed
people right and left in
neat furrows. Bolted oak
handles give the plowman
control and power to turn
throngs aside with ease,
slicing through even New
Year's Eve crowds surely
Easy to cut out by a
saber jig, the crowd plow
should prove invaluable to
an account executive try-
to get to a luncheon ap-
pointment on time through
the thousands of other ac-
count executives who jam
Radio City and Madison
Avenue sidewalks at noon,
all trying to get to lunch-
eon appointments on time.
And, at morning or night,
commuting crowds will part
like butter before our bow-
tied, horny-handed son of
The Adventure of the Purloined Pants
SHERLOCK HOLMES made the injection expertly,
rolled down his sleeve, and met my enquiring glance.
"I expect you are wondering about our mysterious vis-
itor, Watson," he said. "You noticed nothing unusual about
"Only that he seemed uncommonly agitated over the
disappearance of a pair of bluejeans," I replied, wonder-
ing with alarm why my tall, ascetic friend would so forget
his customary dignity as to drop suddenly to the floor on
his hands and knees and sniff the rug in canino more.
"My dear Holmes — " I started to protest, fearing that I
might be witnessing the collapse of a great intellect, but
he cut me short with a gesture.
"Heartwood of Sequoia sempervirens!" he exclaimed.
"California redwood! The odor, though faint, is unmistak-
able, but where is it coming from?" Training a powerful
lens on the carpet, he followed his nose about his Baker
Street study. "Ah, just as I thought!" Triumphantly Sher-
lock Holmes held aloft on the tip of his penknife a tiny
particle of wood and examined it under the lamp. "Our
visitor has left us a most interesting calling card, Watson."
Holmes' eyes took on the glazed faraway look that I had
come to recognize as the portent of sinister events.
"Quick, Watson!" he cried, seizing his cape and deer-
stalker's hat. "We haven't a moment to lose. Our man is
about to give his wife a nasty knock on the head."
It was not until we were settled in a cab and racing
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
toward the suburb of L , whither Hohiies had directed the driver,
that I dared to intrude on my friend's grim silence.
"Now, sir," I said, "if you will be so good as to explain this myste-
rious to-do over a mere speck of sawdust — "
"There is no mystery," said Holmes with the impatience for slower
comprehension that I often found vexing. "The direction of the grain
and the size of the particle indicate that the kerf was cut with a five-
and-a-half-point ripsaw. Our visitor is a left-handed home craftsman
of more than a tyro's skill. Were he a beginner at woodworking, his
only saw would doubtlessly be an eight-point crosscut which, like all
novices, he would also use for ripping."
Unable to keep pace with the seven-league strides of my com-
panion's remarkable deductive powers, I was about to enquire how
his conclusions explained our present mission when he anticipated
my thoughts with one of his rare indulgences in levity.
"You are wondering, Watson, why we are going to L in this
bucket," he chuckled, sinking an elbow in my ribs. "It happens to
be the only suburb in the area with a lumberyard that carries stock
sizes of redwood. The house we are looking for will have a lawn
suitable for homemade furniture, and there will be a light in the
cellar where at this very moment, if I am not mistaken, our man is
selecting a hammer for his damnable purpose." Holmes rapped with
his swordcane for the driver to stop. "That will be the house just
We found ourselves in a pleasant, middle-class community of new
homes only one of which, from its glowing cellar windows, gave
evidence of wakeful occupants. All was silence save for the gnawing
of termites and the groans of mortgagees tossing in fitful sleep. Some-
where a bell tolled the stroke of midnight; then the low, ominous hum
of an electric motor was followed by a piercing scream.
"Quick, Watson, he's hit a knot! " cried Holmes. As we dashed for
the house I came a-cropper over a name-sign staked in the lawn.
"Hush, you clumsy idiot," hissed Holmes, kneeling to examine the
crosspiece which spelled out "Andrews" in red-glass reflectors. "Just
as I suspected," he said grimly. "Handy Andy!"
"It was a trap to kill us, " I whispered, rubbing my shin as we ad-
vanced with stealthy tread.
"Nonsense," rasped Holmes just before he tripped over the bar-
becue bench. "On second thought, you may be right, Watson. I under-
estimated the devilish ingenuity of our man. But let us hurry. The
game is afoot."
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
The scene through the cellar window confirmed my friend's clair-
voyance. There was our visitor, huddled over a workbench, laying
out an assortment of hammers and mallets which, one by one, he
hefted and waggled for balance. In the livid light his huge shadow
crouched menacingly against the wall where a variety of tools was
neatly racked on pegboards.
"Observe the work in progress, Watson, " said Holmes. "Note that
Andrews has joined the frame of that suntan lounge with pegged
tenons. This is worse than I feared. It can only mean that our man is
the perfectionist type. Fanatical. Dangerous when crossed. Today,
unfortunately, his wife committed a fearful blunder."
Andrews finally selected an especially ugly-looking croaker, glanced
malevolently overhead, and turned toward the cellar stairs.
"We must think of a ruse quickly, Watson," said Holmes hoarsely,
"and pray that Lestrade received my note in time."
Although I have described Sherlock Holmes' remarkable gifts for
mimicry and disguise in "The Adventure of the Missing Lumberyard, "
I was totally unprepared for the change in my companion who now
appeared beside me in the role of an itinerant toggle-bolt peddler. As
Andrews began to mount the stairs, Holmes rapped sharply on the
window, displaying his wares in the sample case. When the fiend
recognized its contents, he paused in vacillation, his expression chang-
ing from grim resolution to uncertainty, then to avarice. In a lilting
Irish tenor that I would never have recognized as my friend's. Holmes
began to sing:
She drove a wheelbarrow
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying toggles and tackles
And mandrels and handles
And chisels and levels
And swivels and staples,
Andrews stood in the cellar doorway, smiling with idiot pleasure.
"Come in, come in, gentlemen," he said, ushering us to seats on nail
kegs. "Always happy to see what's new in the hardware line."
Holmes whipped off his disguise. "I'll take that mallet, sir," he said.
"Hacksaw the detective! " exclaimed Andrews, handing it over. "But
I don't understand. How did you know."
"You remember Dr. Watson," said Holmes suavely.
"Of course! Dr. Washer, welcome, sir!"
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
"Good evening again, Mr. Andrews," I said, proffering my hand
which was wrung in a vise-Hke grip- Indeed, on closer examination,
I saw that the cause of my pain was not Andrews' own handclasp but
the jaws of a bench vise in which he had trapped my friendly gesture
with a furtive spin of the handle.
"Swivel base," he said proudly. "Turns a full one hundred and sixty
degrees. I'll show you."
"Never mind," said Holmes, stepping in and releasing my bruised
fingers. "About this mallet — "
"It's true, Hacksaw, but she deserves it. I was only going to give
her a light tap on the noggin, anyway. And, as you see, it has a
molded-rubber, mar-resistant poll."
A knock at the door announced the arrival of Lestrade who des-
cended the stairs holding, at arm's length, a pair of dungarees stained
with pitch, paint, glue, plaster and heaven only knows what amalgam
of workaday dirt.
"Good work, Inspector," said Holmes, taking them from the be-
wildered police officer and standing them on the floor where their
rigidity held them upright like bifurcated stovepipes. "I believe, Mr.
Andrews, this is the little matter you consulted me about earlier this
evening. I trust you will find them unharmed by soap or water."
"They'd better be. Took me two years to get 'em like that. They
look professional, don't they?" Andrews examined them for damage
as if they were a long-lost, favorite meerschaum whose cherished
patina could have priceless, personal value only for its owner.
"Any trouble at the laundry, Lestrade?" asked Holmes.
"On the contrary, sir. They seemed glad to get shut of them. I
checked the pockets for idol's eyes and such but found nothing to
warrant the urgency of your note. But undoubtedly some of those
smears will prove to be bloodstains."
"Mine," said Andrews. "My own life's blood are in those eleven-
ounce, triple-stitched, free-action denims with heavy boatsail swing
pockets and bar-tacked hammer loop. Some home craftsmen I know
sweat when they work but me, I'm a bleeder. Hacksaw, I don't know
how to thank you but I wish you would accept, as a small token of
my gratitude, this Millers Falls expansive bit. Radius opens to an
inch and a half."
Though it was the great detective's cardinal rule to suppress senti-
ment as an enemy of the rational faculties, I could see that he was
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
"Mr. Andrews, it is to this man you owe any thanks for the safe
return of your treasured possession — Inspector Lestrade of Scotland
"Glad to make your acquaintance, sir," said Andrews heartily.
"Never happened to patronize your particular yard but I suppose you
carry the standard hardwood veneers?"
Tapping his temple. Holmes signaled to Lestrade that the man
was a harmless lunatic to be humored. Unfortunately Lestrade ex-
tended his hand, crying out in pain as the vise closed on it.
"Andy!" said a voice behind us. "What's going on down here?"
Mrs. Andrews advanced, clutching her bathrobe.
"You!" snarled Andrews. "You sent them to the laundry. You did
"If you mean those filthy bluejeans, Andy, I certainly did. I could
hardly walk in them, much less squat to do my gardening."
Andrews looked as if he had been struck.
"You — you — wore them? You stretched the seat? You sprung the
seams? Oh, my God!" Andrews buried his face in his hands.
Though Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Lestrade had witnessed
many disquieting episodes in their long careers of matching wits with
master criminals, both now averted their gaze from the pathetic
spectacle of the man who had sunk to the floor, undone by grief.
"This is ridiculous, Andy," said Mrs. Andrews. "Did I make such
a fuss when you used my Revere Ware to cook glue in? If I had
known it would lead to this I would never have asked you to put up
that curtain rod when we started housekeeping."
"But two years, Martha," he said. "Two years it took me to get
them like that, and they were just beginning to look professional."
Holmes cleared his throat and nodded to Lestrade and me. We
tiptoed out into the night and hailed a cab while the Inspector went
his way. A thick, pea-soup fog was rolling in and curling in sinister
wisps over the lawns that slipped by us like lonely moors.
"Accept my congratulations," I said as we headed back to our
lodgings. "It was remarkable the way you brought about a happy
ending to what might have been a nasty bit of business — and all from
a speck of sawdust. Amazing, my dear Holmes."
"Elementary, my dear Watson. But I fear you exaggerate the happy
ending. Wait until he discovers that she nicked his imported Swedish
chisels when she used them for garden tools. I noticed a bit of soil
still clinging to them."
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
"Is there any danger? Should we return?"
"Not at all. It will even out when she discovers what he did with
her breadboard. You know, Watson, there is a craze sweeping subur-
bia today. A madness is upon the land. I wouldn't be a bit surprised
if another visitor awaits our return."
At that moment we drew up beside 221-B Baker Street. Mrs. Hud-
son rushed out as we alighted.
"Mr. Holmes! A gentleman insisted on waiting in your study. It
seems that the instructions for putting together something his wife
ordered have vanished into thin air."
Holmes' nostrils flared for the new scent. "Watson, take this cab
and pick up Lestrade," he barked. "And hurry. If I am not mistaken
our visitor is up against desperate odds — doubtlessly a superior-
quality, fiberboard wardrobe for easy, do-it-yourself assembly."
"Amazing, my dear Holmes." I said.
"This time," replied my friend grimly, "it may not be so elementary."
"How I wish my husband was handy like you."
Tips for the handy hubby
who thinks his wife is too
special for the same old
gifts of furs and jewels
every woman on the block
is wearing. So say it with
solder or say it with saw-
dust butyou'd better smile
when you say it, mister.
She's gonna shake, rattle and
roll when the steama sends
the screama on that there horn
THAT WHISTLES DIXIE
Wives seem to agree it's nice to have a man around the house, but a
growing number of "workshop widows" are complaining. They say
they can't tell if he's there any more unless maddening bangs and
buzzes are coming from the cellar. So the hobbyist who disappears
down that hole every evening and weekend had better come up with
something beside sawdust on his shoes.
Maybe a calliope teakettle is the answer. Maybe some workshop
widow would enjoy cutting a Congoleum every time she boils water.
Maybe she's the type who would love to press that first valve down
and listen to the steam go down and round and come out wah-wah.
A simple cord opens and closes the slatted breezeway of this charming bouf-
fant skirt designed for smart first-nighters at Do-It- Yourself shows — a project
for the handy hubby who knows how to attach a Singer to a Shopsmith.
Glaring mismatches of grain
and kinds of wood give scrap-
lumber furniture the distinc-
tive feature of being able to go
equally lousy in either period
or modern settings. This step-
ped end table is especially
versatile in that respect. It can
be suspended from the ceiling
and called a Colder mobile.
END TABLE FROM SCRAP ENDS
TO END ALL END TADLES FROM SCRAP ENDS
A BUSY DAY on the cut-off saw usually leaves a litter of scrap pieces
too small for anything but the refuse can. Instead of sweeping them
into piles that mean several trips with the dustpan, the solid-mahogany
craftsman may find it is less mess and simpler all around to knock
those pieces into a project like the table
above, and then throw the table out. Of
course, in fitting and joining the scraps to
make the table, he will be left with a new
litter of even smaller scraps. But these can
be knocked together in something like the
lamp below and then, along with the table,
the efficient shopman will have only two
pieces to throw out instead of dozens. Of
course, making the lamp will leave even tinier
scraps — but the hell with them.
Sixty-odd glued scraps from
the scrapwood table form this
lamp base (right). Together,
the projects make a conversa-
tion piece for guests. Better
know your guests, though; the
conversation may get vulgar.
STEAM-ROLLER ELECTRIC IRON
It Squashes the Wrinkles Out
A HOUSEWIFE would nevcr dream of sliding an iron back and forth
on cookie dough to flatten it, so why should she on the wash? On
dough, she would use a rolling pin, which is simply an adaptation
of the Wheel, invented by ancient man just so things would not have
to be slid around and dragged. So here, 50,000 years later, is a roller
iron. It is so simple and obvious that only geniuses in Appliance De-
sign at G. E. could have missed it. Now they'll probably claim it's
been "on the drawing boards" all the time. Mmmm-yeah, oh sure,
uh-huh and nyah.
For anyone who can't wait for them to retool and go into mass
production, the steam-roller electric iron is easily made at home. The
front roller is the only problem, and an evaporated milk can solves
that. Meanwhile there ought to be an awful lot of explaining to supe-
riors by those bright boys of Design up in Schenectady.
The situation up at Yale is nothing compared
to the mess your lumberyard's
favorite unit of measure is in
THE PRESENT PLIGHT
OF THE BOARD FOOT
//\A/HAT IS A BOARD FOOT," writes a home crafts-
▼ ▼ man who signs himself Frantic, "and why do lum-
beryards use it as a unit of measure when the linear foot is
so much simpler? Trying to figure the cost of a board
measuring ii'^ x 4'^ x 16' on the basis of price per board foot
is crazy stuff. Help!"
To answer your question, Frantic, we must first consider
the general problem of weights and measures, and what
industries and governments have done to standardize them.
The inch, for example, was originally the width of a man's
thumb. Since the advent of the home craftsman, however,
the thumb has swollen so often that it has thrown the
traditional 12 inches to 1 foot out the window.
It has been suggested that the U. S. Bureau of Stand-
ards substitute 3 fingers to 1 jigger, and let the jigger re-
place the foot of 12 inches, or thumbs. But such a step
cannot be taken lightly because one of the first conse-
quences would be the necessity of changing the yard to the
imperial quart. Lumbermen are understandably alarmed
about the confusion that might result from selling lumber
by the gallon instead of the board foot.
Like other units of measure that have come down to us
from the past, the board foot has lost much of its original
THE PRESENT PLIGHT OF THE BOARD FOOT
meaning. The early Dutch settlers who founded the first sawmills in
the Colonies fixed the board foot as the number of cubic inches in a
wooden shoe. It was a crude, inaccurate unit of measure, but it served
well enough until the Swedes arrived with their bigger feet. The
Dutch insisted that a board foot equalled the amount of wood in the
wooden shoe itself. The Swedes argued just as vehemently that a
board foot should be the foot room, or cubic capacity, inside the
shoe. This misunderstanding led to the French and Indian wars.
Though the board foot was later fixed by law and agreed to by
industry as the amount of lumber in a board 1-foot square by 1-inch
thick, we have seen how today's variable thumb threatens the depend-
ability of any standard using inches, making it almost as useless a
measure as the wooden shoe. What, then, is to be done?
Before that question can be answered we must realize it is not only
the board foot which today finds itself the victim of swift and radical
change. Even a lady used to be standardized at 36" - 21" - 38", with
allowance for bustle. Today you can get the same article measuring
36" - 24" - 36," but with no allowance for girdle. To those who com-
plain that this is an adulteration of standards, especially on net weight,
apologists for the modern lady point out that she stacks, ships and
packages much better than her grandma.
The truth is that the present plight of the board foot, once the
symbol of all that was permanent and dependable, is typical of the
chaotic world we live in, a world inherited from the Roaring 'Twenties
which rebelled at all the old Edwardian standards, including the
Edwardian board foot.
Nor are board feet and ladies the only headaches plaguing the U. S.
Bureau of Standards. The home run, in the days of the dead ball,
required a 320-decibel crack of the bat (minimum standard at 90
degrees in the bleachers) to sail over the short, 296-foot right-field
fence at Ebbets Field. Today, with the lively ball, the standard has
sunk so low that anyone can do it with an effort equivalent to a mere
180 Moldavian ergs, with the Fahrenheit a cool 78° in the press box.
What, then, is a board foot? To Frantic and to TV quiz panelists
faced with the question, we can only say it is larger than some bread-
boxes but smaller than others.
There may be some hope for clarification in the movement now
growing among home craftsmen to dump the whole problem in the
scrap-lumber pile and fix the board foot at how much wood a wood-
chuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
Does that help answer your question, Frantic? •
HOW TO CUT DOWN ON
YOUR HAMMER STROKES
A do - it - yourself duffer
can get follow - through
and distance by keeping
his eye on the nail and
practicing the secrets of
great master carpenters
told in this Exclusive!
The hook or sUce.
ON THE BASIS of a professional carpenter being able to sink a
nail in 4 strokes after teeing up with a light tap, par for the
average 18-nail course is 72. Naturally the great master carpenters,
such as the incomparable Higgenbotham, break a par 72 with an
ease that seems utterly discouraging to the duffer hammering in the
high 90's. But by learning the secrets of the masters, not only the
duffer can cut his score by 10 to 20 strokes but even the low-handicap
man can get the extra power and control in his swing that will make
a card under 80 not just a "lucky day" but a consistent performance.
First, the Grip. Whether you use the interlocking or overlapping
type, the important thing is to keep the index and middle fingers
crossed — for reasons that will shortly become clear. You may find this
grip uncomfortable at first, and even painful, because it is natural for
Even though nail is in bad he, full swing gets follow-through to sink it for
birdie. The correct iron for this shot is a standard 12-ounce claw hammer.
HOW TO CUT DOWN ON YOUR HAMMER STROKES
the hand to close over the
shaft of a hammer with
all the fingers side by side.
But this is the trick that
wins the big ones for the
and clinched the Grand
Slam for him in the nail-
off against the incompar-
able Firkin when they
were the only carpenters
left out of fifty-six who
began construction of the beautiful but tricky clubhouse of Lower
Merion. Sweeney, as you may remember, was 1 rafter down and 2 to
join when he found his next nail in a bad lie behind an adjacent stud.
The framework at this point is a dog-leg, with a bunker of joists and
a trap of headers on the left and right of the approach to the cross-
bridging. It looked like certain defeat. But then Sweeney did two
things that well explain his nickname of Sweetie. First, he called for
his 24-ounce ball peen instead of the obvious 16-ounce claw hammer.
Second, he cracked his middle finger out of joint so that it would
cross his index finger even when they closed around the shaft. Despite
the pain, he managed a grin, and whispered
to his caddy, "That's for luck." Then Sweetie
Sweeney swung and, as you probably know,
he sank the head of that nail flush with the
rafter in one stroke — for an eagle! Whether
it was Sweetie's knuckle-cracking or his nail-
in- 1 that unnerved the incomparable Firkin is
still hotly debated, but the fact remains that
the Swinging Sweetheart went on to win the
Grand Slam by a single, tenpenny building nail.
So much for the Grip. Now let's look at
Stance, for if these two things are done right,
correct Swing follows naturally.
Home craftsmen who are hooking, slicing
and topping the nail often make matters worse
by trying to adopt the myriad suggestions they
Axes, hammers, get from well-meant kibitzers who whiff and
mallets in bag top their own nails just as badly. The result
for easy toting. is that the do-it-yourself duffer develops the
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
stance of a circus Pretzel Man, whereas stance should be simple, easy
and relaxed, with the left shoulder a trifle lower than the right hip
and the left hip a little higher than the right trifle. This is the stance
which kept the incomparable McCorkle from tightening up when the
pressure was on. They still talk about the time Corky was being
pushed hard by a young unknown when the footbridge was being
built over the water hazard at Tilt Arbor, Michigan. Corky was be-
ginning to tighten up and he knew he must relax. When he addressed
his next nail, he went into his famous stance. It relaxed him instantly
— so much so, in fact, that he fell asleep on the upswing and had to
be wakened by his caddy. Such coolness unnerved his young com-
petitor who bent his next nail and broke all his hammer shafts in a
fit of foul temper.
So if your hammer is cutting ugly divots in lumber, remember the
secrets of the great master carpenters like Higgenbotham, Sweeney,
Firkin and McCorkle. They were incomparable. •
RIGHT WAY, WRONG WAY
Why not build a house
this week end? You can
knock out the furniture
Monday night. Little pro-
jects like these are so
quick and easy and such
fun (it says here). Yeah?
(One Evening In The Arctic, That Is)
And this is the house that Jerry built:
"The Home with the Homemade Look"
A DREAM SPLIT-LEVEL
YOU CAN SPLIT YOURSELF
You SEE THEM in magazines all the time — those $35,000, 14-room
homes that some man and his wife knocked together themselves at a
materials cost of only $6,302. Magazine editors, those cunning devils,
know that not one in a million of their readers has the time, the talent,
or the tendons to go and do likewise. But they also know how the
repeated examples of such cleverness undermine the subscriber's ego,
making him feel so abject and inferior that, by the time his renewal
notice is due, he hasn't the guts left to say no.
Just to rub it in, blueprints show the reader how utterly simple it
would be to build the same house himself — if he had one speck of
get-up-and-go. That's the clincher which finally brings the jellyfish
to his knees, whimpering for the three-year renewal instead of the one.
Well, here's an end to such cleverness with a split-level anyone
and his wife can build, and it doesn't matter a bent nail how butter-
fingered they may be, either. Like the Schenectady couple who rolled
their own from these same plans and model, they can mix up a case-
ment with the basement and no-
body will be the wiser. They can
tire of the project at any time and
stop building, and their home-
made house will be none the
worse in appearance than if it
had been completed. Another
feature of this split-level is that
its split shows on all four sides,
something that the conventional
split-level does not do, whether
it is a ranch-type house or just
a house-type house. And there „ ., , , , , ^ h ^ x n-
^^ f 1 rr^i From its gable gonfalon (A) to flimming
IS a good reason for this. The stumper (E). frame is pure Wright. The
exterior design which, after a brothers Wright, that is, not Frank Lloyd.
Amateur carpenters who want to skip beginners' projects and get right into
the big stuff can't go wrong on this. Every mistake is a stroke of genius.
while, seems no more radical than the plastic-dome and suspended-
saucer-cup houses in Life, is super-functional, which simply means
that the outside truly expresses the inside.
Le Corbusier said, "A house is a machine for living." By com-
bining the best effects of Le Corbusier and the worst effects of Cour-
voisier, this house with its dramatically tilted floors is indeed a machine
for living, a kind of pinball machine. When the alarm clock rings,
the sleeper unfastens his safety belt, slides into the bathroom, pauses
a moment before caroming out and down the stairs into the tricky
breakfast nook and — zoom — out the door to work.
There is no feeling in the world like awakening in a pinball ma-
chine one has made with his own hands, especially as the lights flash
his progress all over the house. With a keg of nails, a willing wife
and a father-in-law in the lumber business, anyone can build his own
home, a home that there's really no place like. •
You can make these
mechanized chopsticks that make
passing the pickles passe
AND BOARDING-HOUSE REACHER
Heads of large families who sit at the ends of long tables can get
deadly range and accuracy with this Extensible Bread Stabber made
from tongue-depressors, rivets, the handles of a salad scissors, and a
wooden fork. It will pick up bread, potatoes, pickles and other items
that always seem to bunch in the middle of the table out of arm's
reach. Its lightning action also enables the user to retrieve food
dropped on the floor before the dog can get it.
Whipped out suddenly at large, formal dinners, your bread stabber can beat
any butler to the punch, but be sure you can beat any butler to the door.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR KEYHOLE SAW
Foreword: Our Leafy Friends, the Trees
ALL LIVING things on earth are either animal or vegetable. The
vegetable kingdom is called plant life and the very tallest of
all the plants are the trees that grow in the forest. The tallest things
of the animal kingdom are called basketball players.
Not all trees grow in the forest. A few shade trees are still found
in the suburbs where bad men with axes have not yet chopped them
down to make room for new homes called ranch-types and split-
levels. Trees have been found growing even in cities. One of those
cities was Brooklyn.
While shade trees are cut down by bad guys called contractors,
timber trees are felled by good guys called lumberjacks. To tell the
good guys from the bad guys, science has divided them into two
groups. Most species of lumberjacks are very hairy and stay ever-
green all over. Most species of contractors belong to the deciduous
group, that is, those who shed their top leaves.
Trees are also divided into two great families, the Hardwoods
and the Softwoods. To young, eager minds seeking clear answers to
life it may seem confusing that a hardwood tree like Basswood or
Linden is much softer than a softwood tree like Yellow Pine and
that Douglas Fir is really a pseudo-Hemlock. But you will learn as
you grow older that this confusion is typical of so many things that
are supposed to be true in life. For example, you are told that love
conquers all but this statement is only partly true, as you will find
if you try to conquer a banker by depositing valentines instead of
Another confusing thing is the way the Softwoods are supposed
to retain their needle-like leaves all year round, unlike the Hard-
woods that make Popsie lean on his rake and mutter when beautiful
autumn heralds the approach of Christmas. But how come, Mumsie
THE LITTLE SLUMBER BOOK OF LUMBER
wants to know, does the other kind make her lean on her dustpan
and mutter when Christmas is but a jolly memory and the tree must
be thrown out? So if teacher tells you that all trees belong to either
the gymnosperms or the angiosperms, you just tell teacher she's off
her hardwood Maple rocker.
So here is The Little Slumber Book of Lumber with jolly stories
about our leafy friends, the trees. The stories are written for various
age-groups from 18 through 105 but, no matter what your age, you
will find information in all of them that cannot be found in the thou-
sands of other books about timber and timber products. It has been
thought best to limit the age-groups to 105 because, after that, the
Sequoias will be more interested in reading about you than you
Part 1: for ages 18 to 35
The Little Tree Who Became a Big Success
Once in a big forest there lived a little Slippery Elm tree named
Shloimie. All around the little tree grew great big towering Pines
who looked down on Shloimie because he was so much smaller.
When the wind blew they whispered mean things about him, but the
little Slippery Elm could hear what they said and it made him sad.
"Look at that little nebbish," they whispered. "He will never get
any place in this world. But we Pines are very big and very im-
portant and one day some men will come and take us to the sawmill.
After that we will travel all over the country in trains that go choo-
choo and in boats that go toot-toot."
This made the little Slippery Elm want to run away and see the
world more than ever but he could not get his roots loose. Day after
day, year after year poor Shloimie had to stay right where he was in
the big forest. His only friends were a Weeping Willow who crted
all the time and a Quaking Aspen who was afraid of everything.
How very boring it is to be a tree, thought Shloimie. Here I am
stuck in this old forest with a cry baby, a coward, and a bunch of
snooty old evergreens. I do wish those people who write poems about
trees would change places with us for a little while. Then we would
see how much they like having ants and squirrels climbing all over
them and a nest of robins in their hair.
Things went on like that for a long time and though Shloimie grew
bigger and bigger he could never catch up with the Pines. Then one
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
day the very tallest tree in the forest, a Ponderosa Pine named Butch
who could see for miles around because he was 200 feet high, cried
"Hurrah, they're coming! Hurrah!"
The other Pines craned their necks to see what Butch had seen
and they all began to whisper with such excitement that the little
Slippery Elm wished that he could see too. But even if he had been
tall enough, he was too busy comforting his friends.
"Now get hold of yourself," he told the Quaking Aspen who was
shaking so hard he was losing all his leaves. "And you," he said
sternly to the Weeping Willow, "stop that awful blubbering. Maybe
the men have finally come to take us away to the sawmill so we can
see the world."
Sure enough, footsteps soon sounded in the forest and some men
with axes appeared. But imagine poor Shloimie's disappointment when
they walked right past him without so much as a "How do you do."
Instead they exclaimed over the size of the towering Pines and
praised them so much that they became even more conceited, espe-
cially Butch the Ponderosa.
"Well," sneered Butch as the men began to chop him down, "I
guess the rest of you trees know who is Number One in this old bosky
dell. Maybe I will become a telephone pole and listen to the ladies
on the party lines dish the dirt about their husbands."
"Oh, yeah?" said another Pine almost as big. "When the men get
through with you I hope you wind up as piers for the Hoboken ferry.
As for me, I will probably become a beautiful new house in the
suburbs with jolly children shouting in my halls and jolly mothers
shouting for them to be quiet."
"Oh, yeah?" said a third big tree. "The day you become a house
you'll have a red light in front."
"Maybe," said a fourth Pine who was known as Gloomy, "maybe
we will all become lumber for home craftsmen. "
"God forbid! " murmured all the other Pines and even a few Hem-
locks, lifting their leafy arms to pray.
Just as the little Slippery Elm was thinking how glad he would
be to get out of this dopey old forest even if it meant becoming a
home handyman's boards, one of the men shouted, "Timber!" and
the Ponderosa began to fall.
Butch seemed to fall very slowly at first and then, as he picked up
speed on the long way down, he scraped and bumped the trees
THE LITTLE SLUMBER BOOK OF LUMBER
BUMP ON UOe
Figure 1 — Cross section of the common Lumber Tree, showing annual rings
and other strange growths that often surprise the worker in wood.
"Stop shoving, you big slob," they cried angrily. "Who do you
think you are already — the Coney Island boardwalk?"
Suddenly Shloimie began to shake as badly as his friend the Aspen
because the Ponderosa seemed to be falling directly on him. This
is it, thought the little Slippery Elm, but he didn't bawl like his other
friend, the sissy Willow.
Then the Ponderosa crashed right beside the little Slippery Elm.
"Ha-ha," said Shloimie, "now I am taller than you are."
WASTE (fed to livestock)
Figure 2 — Cross section of the Plywood Tree, showing annual laminations
which, sawed vertically, yield home craftsmen's plywood panels.
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
"Go get yourself ground up into funny papers," growled Butch.
"But of course you won't," he added as an afterthought. "You will
stay right here in this forest until it petrifies. Give my regards to
Humphrey Bogart if he drops around. I'm on my way to see the
Sure enough, the Ponderosa was soon chained to a tractor and
dragged toward the chute that would slide him down the mountain-
side into the river and thence to the trains that go choo-choo and the
boats that go toot-toot.
"So long, short stuff, " he called to Shloimie as he disappeared.
"Don't take any wooden nickels."
The poor little Slippery Elm watched unhappily as the men ignored
him and selected other trees to follow Butch out of the forest. Every
time the men passed Shloimie, he hoped they would notice what a
fine tree he was even though he wasn't as big as the great big Pines.
Finally one of the men blew a whistle and they all gathered their
axes and started to leave Shloimie more alone than ever. Just as
they were passing him one of his surface roots seemed to raise up a
bit and it sent a lumberjack sprawling.
"You son of a beech," snarled the logger at Shloimie, who had never
heard such dreadful language. The man was just about to rend him
limb from limb when another man said, "Hey, Mac, that's not a bad
stick of Slippery Ellum. Let's take it along."
Before Shloimie knew what hit him, he was being dragged toward
the big chute, bumpety-bump. But it felt good to be rid of his limbs,
especially the one with the caterpillar nest. Then suddenly he was
whizzing down the mountainside like greased lightning as only a
Slippery Elm can whiz.
"Wheeeee!" cried Shloimie. "This is the life for me."
He hit the water and began floating downstream with thousands
of other logs. At last the little Slippery Elm was on his way to see
the world. After a long time in the river the logs came to a sawmill
where one by one they waited their turns to be dragged up a runway
by bull chain and into the huge gang saws inside the mill. The little
Slippery Elm drifted over to where some other logs were gathered
around Butch the Ponderosa whose 30-foot circumference looked like
a surfaced submarine.
Terrible shrieks were coming from the sawmill.
"Oh dear," said Butch, his voice quavering suspiciously like Shloi-
mie's old friend the Quaking Aspen, "I don't know that I am going
THE LITTLE SLUMBER BOOK OF LUMBER
to like this part of it at all. I do hope they give us some kind of
anaesthetic up there."
"Nope," said a melancholy Cypress. "Not even a local."
The Ponderosa made a terrible fuss when his turn came, begging
for a Bufferin and trying to shp down the bull chain and making the
loudest noise of all when he went through the gang saws.
Shloimie made hardly any fuss at all and, the next thing he knew,
he was a neat pile of boards in a lumberyard. Next to him was a
much bigger pile and at first the Elm didn't recognize his old enemy
"Well, well," sneered Butch, "if it isn't God's gift to the toothpick
industry. I can see you now in little glass cups on the cashiers' counters
of Childs from coast to coast."
Just then Farmer Brown and his little boy approached.
"Here's just what we want to build that cellar door," said the man,
indicating Shloimie. "And that pile of Pine will do for the outbuild-
ings and pens."
If you ever drive out to Farmer Brown's you can see the little tree
that made a big success. As happy children slide down Shloimie's
slippery boards, he can look across the yard and see what happened
to Butch. Part of the Ponderosa is a cow barn, and part of him is a
pigpen, and part of him is a funny little kind of building we don't
see much any more, and it's a very, very good thing that we don't.
Part II: for ages 36 to 50
The Sleepytime Saga of Cellulose
Have you ever stopped to think where we would be without timber
and timber products? Have you ever stopped to think where Mr.
Weyerhauser would be without timber and timber products? Right
in the soup with the rest of us, that's where he'd probably be.
Yes, we owe a great debt to trees and if you have bought any
lumber lately you will better appreciate the enormity of that debt
from the prices they're getting. This is not a complaint. It is, rather,
a reminder for us all to be thankful that there are still dedicated men
in the world who are willing to sacrifice so much time and energy to
act as collection agents for our debt to trees.
Without the Sapodilla tree, there would be no chicle for the bub-
blegum that is so much fun to pop out at people and makes Mumsie
mutter in that amusing way when it gets into little heads of hair.
Without Orangewood there would be no manicurist to hold Popsie's
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
hand and make him jump so funny when she jabs him with that
And where would the Long Island Rail Road be without its cross-
ties of Pine? Even with crossties of Pine, where is it? Without White
Oak for whiskey kegs, where would hiccups be?
Without the Juniper for pencils how could we estimate our income
tax and then, without rubber from the Hevea tree, erase those whop-
pers and ink in the right amount?
As a matter of fact, without timber and timber products there
would be no woodpulp that makes the paper for tax forms. Or for
subpoenas or doctors' bills.
Thus timber products impinge on every aspect of our lives with
great impact. When Grandfather was a little boy, aspects were im-
pinged on with even greater impact by the Hickory stick. Today
theories of child training are radically different and Hickory has been
replaced by Spock, a soft pithy substitute that neither stings nor
marks the naughty child. Hickory used to be manufactured in millions
of board feet but today its production has dwindled to an all-time
low. Indeed it may be said that Hickory has hit a new kind of bottom.
Though many people still believe that lumber comes from lumber-
yards, it actually comes from trees. The only part of the tree that
yields lumber is the trunk. The branches are strictly for the birds
and they must be removed so the sawmill can make knots in the
In the early days before the Child Labor Laws, branches were
removed by gangs of little boys who were sent up the trees by cruel
men. A dozen kids of course could strip even a giant Redwood in no
time at all. Today, however, all logging operations are done by big,
strong, tough men called lumberjacks who spit on their hands
because, as you know, spitting on the ground is not nice.
These lumberjacks, or loggers, lead very dangerous lives. All week
long they are in danger from falling trees. On Saturday night they
are in danger from other falling lumberjacks.
Part III: for ages 51 to 79
Little Chips for Second Childhood
In the year 1620 there were, according to reliable estimates, one
and a quarter million square miles of timberland in the United States
although, according to other reliable estimates, there was then no
THE LITTLE SLUMBER BOOK OF LUMBER
United States. Today seven-eighths of that timberland has been given
the ax. Now what do you suppose happened to all that wood?
Well, to the Colonists a tree was often a nuisance and even a
danger. Behind every other tree there was usually an Indian and,
to get at the Indian, the Colonists first had to chop down the tree
in front of the Redman. So there went a whole bunch of trees.
To get even for having been got at, the Indians made dugout war
canoes from solid logs. So there went another bunch of trees. Even
after peace with the Indians came, they made Birchbark slippers
for tourists, and still more trees bit the dust.
Later came the early American custom of bundling. A courtin' cou-
ple got into bed fully clothed and pulled the covers up to keep warm.
But the rules required that they be separated by a long board. Just
the same, those boards had a funny way of getting lost and bundling
became very popular. Well, there went another bunch of trees.
So, what with the demand for log cabins for Presidents to be born
in and traffic court judges who pound their Mahogany benches to
pieces with Walnut gavels, our forest resources have been sadly de-
pleted. The advent of the modern home craftsman put the final
crusher on them.
Obviously this constant depletion cannot go on forever or wood
will become so scarce that hotel burglars will pass up the mink coats
and steal the closets.
That's something for you sleepyheads from fifty-one to seventy-
nine to sleep on tonight.
Part IV: for ages 80 to 105
What Babes in What Woods?
The only subject that has not been discussed so far is the delicate
one of the stump that is left over after all logging operations have
been completed. According to legend, this stump eventually becomes
hollow and is where mothers find their babies.
As you are now old enough to know, this legend has no basis in
fact. It is a pretty myth but it is not supported by the evidence of
either botany or biology.
Actually the stump represents an average 4 per cent waste of the
tree's potential board feet. That's the whole prosaic truth about the
stump and, if you just can't take it, for heaven's sake don't soak the
pillow with your tears tonight. Get yourself a box of Kleenex. They
are made from the boles of good White Spruce. No stumps. •
•'Just an amateur? Go on, I'll bet you could make a living as a
Is a 16-ounce ball peen
suitable for hammer kill-
ings? What saw is best to
dismember victims? How
to bore peepholes in the
eyes of family portraits?
Here's practical help for
ers who wonf shutters to
bang in the wind and
stairways to creak.
A LOUIS SEIZE MOUSETRAP
This guillotine also serves as cigar cutter, meat
slicer and, if you're very careful, nail clipper
Do-it-yourself publications are full of bright ideas for making a
home cosy and cheerful but they completely ignore the needs of mad,
twisted creatures who live in haunted houses and who would rather
learn how to put a squeak into stairways than take one out. On the
following pages are suggestions for the homicidal home craftsman,
such as this French mousetrap. Other projects are available for 250
and a box top of Karloff's Crispy Cyanide Crystals. Titles include:
"The Proper Hanging of Crepe," "Bricking up Bodies in Walls and
Cellars," "How To Make Sliding Panels ' and "More Closet Space For
Handy hypochondriacs who look in vain through Better Homes ir
Gardens for helpful hints on ghoulish instead of gracious living should
derive a somber sense of accomplishment from making this project
that beheads the little, beady-eyed werewolves of the pantry.
Placed near hole in baseboard, guillotine lures mouse out with
odor of cheese and its authentic touch of Directoire elegance.
Mouse is about to nibble the cheese attached to a wire that will trigger the
poised and weighted blade. This project for demented do-it-yourselfers with
tower workshops can be made in a few midnight sessions during the dark of
the moon. Any old coffin lid can be sawed up to serve as the small amount of
lumber required, and the guillotine knife can be wrought and sharpened from
a creaking hinge. For a fine finish, sand it with No. 1 Black Cat's Tongue
and apply two coats of a good interior paint such as More's "Ghastly White."
MACABRE WALL MOnOES
For Your Scroll Saw
If it's a safe assumption that anyone who buys a house is a httle
crazy to begin with, it's a foregone conckision that, after a few years
of payments and repairs, the homeowner will be much crazier. Yet all
the hterature addressed to householders, from Popular Mechanics to
House Beautiful, seems to assume the opposite, that all mortgagees are
a happy, rational lot, always on the lookout for how-to ideas that will
express their bubbling personahties with Karefree Kitchens, Frisky
Foyers or Bacchanalian Base-
ments. The result is that more
somber souls don't have one
room in the house where they
can go to read Rimbaud's Sea-
son in Hell and have a good
cry, undistracted by the claims
of Ducky Decor.
For such as these, who are
also handy with tools. Macabre Wall Mottoes are easily scroll-sawed
from plywood or burned into boards. Only two examples are shown
here but the -possibilities are endless: Ashes to Ashes, What's the
Use? Woe Is Me, What Silver Lining? etc.
The brooding introvert may find Melancholy Maxims an even more
fascinating project if made in pairs. For example, next to O Death,
Where Is Thy Sting? might be hung a companion-piece with the
answer. It's in the Top Drawer, Loaded.
If the handy Hamlet can't wangle a whole room to express his per-
sonality in, he should have at least one wall against which he can wail
and bang his head, and mural memos of death and destruction are
just the ticket. A really woeful wailful can easily counteract the most
aggressively cheerful curtains, even those of glazed and flowered
The handwriting on the wall: "Weighed
in the balance, thou art found wanting."
BIRDHOUSE FOR VULTURES
With Bat Annex
Here's another Hint for the Homicidal Home Craftsman and it is
one that should appeal to his soft spot — giving the buzzards a break.
Not even a Dracula can harden his heart against a poor little home-
less vulture with nowhere to lay his bloody beak. So when those
quaint and curious birds start flying in from Africa, attracted by dis-
membered corpses hidden around the house, it's nice to have a snug
harbor ready for them in a backyard yew or cypress.
To make the buzzard feel at home, his house should be built in a
tropical style. This is easily done by making the walls from ordinary
bamboo or basswood roll-up shades, cut down to size. The roof should
be thatched with something appropriate such as the toupees of mur-
dered victims or, if they are not available, the leaves of deadly night-
shade and hellebore. As a special inducement to roost, a choice morsel
of carrion should be placed inside the completed project. A butcher's
thumb from one's local market is excellent.
An added feature of this Birdhouse for Vultures is the Bat Annex,
made by a simple dowel joined to a side wall. It is a project that the
diabolical do-it-yourselfer, with a passion for lower fauna, might com-
bine with a Fish Tank for Leeches and Lamprey Eels.
Inspired by Charles Addams, the Birdhouse for Vultures with Bat Annex
should look this way when one's little feathered friends have moved in.
"Holding nails in the mouth is inadvisable, as a slight mishap may
cause one of them to be swallowed."
MACHINE VERSUS MAN
-ALSO WOMAN AND CHILD
IT WAS a balmy summer evening, approved by the
Underwriters Laboratory and Good Housekeeping
Institute. Father's one-half horsepower capacitor
motor was turning a taper on his Shopmaster; mother's
vibrationless, 60-cycle motor was blindstitching a pro-
fessional hem on her portable Pfalf; and the boy's
25-watt input engine was operating a block-and-
windlass hoist built with a No. 6/2 Erector.
The evening was not only balmy; it was easy, prac-
tical and fun for the whole family. Father, mother
and child made a happy circle in the converted base-
ment where each pursued his hobby in workshop,
sewing corner and playroom. Armatures rotated in
their stators at various rpm's, blending their several
pitches in a pleasant, harmonic hum.
Mother was the first to complete her project and
she laid away her "Cheerful Edgings for Crying
Towels" in the "Jiffy-Built Lay-Away and Step-on
String-Saver." Though Father was pushing hard to
finish his one-evening project of "Scroll-Sawing a Mi-
tered Tenon with a Jig-Mounted Reamer," it was
necessary to interrupt him. Mother had something
on her mind that was even more important than "Tea
Cosies from Old Snuggies" which showed up as the
next job on her "Plywood Cut-Out Perennial Project
List." She swung around on her "Scrap-Wood Sew-
A SAW SCREAMS AT MIDNIGHT
"What phase are you in, dear?" she asked. "Can you stop and talk?"
"With you in two revs of a V-pulley, " said Father, consulting the
diagram held by "Broken Clothespins That Serve the Shop-Wise
Craftsman." He pulled down a retractable folding chair from the ceil-
ing and seated himself. "I was only bar-clamping the underassembly
of the doweling arbor to utilize the squeezing action of the double
trap-adapter," he explained. "What's on your mind?"
Mother nodded toward the busy boy who was checking a flywheel
unit against his how-to instructions. "Him," she said. "I'm worried."
"Him? Little Piston? Why, his bolts and corners are tight as a drum.
Handiest eight-year-old I ever saw. Harnessed the hedge-clipper
with reduction gears to drive that Old English yarn-winder I made
you from the kumquat crate. '
"That's just it, Father. At eight he ought to know something about
— well, the facts of life as well as all those power units. You know —
the bees and flowers."
"Why, I thought I told you: I took care of that years ago. No bees
and flowers, though. On the lathe."
"On the lathe?"
"Sure, with the Morse tapers."
"But, Father — "
"Simple. Tailstock spindles require so-called male and female cen-
ters. Practical and illustrative."
"How beautiful," said Mother. Then, anxiously: "They were ac-
curately machined, I hope?"
"To one one-thousandth of an inch."
"Good. I wouldn't want Piston to get a bad impression of — you
know — anything sloppy."
Father and Mother lapsed into thoughtful silence. It was she who
"It's a pity about daughter's marriage. I worry about that too."
"Now you're not going to start blaming yourself for that again?" said
Father. "Bobbin would be a perfect wife for any man except that
"He seems so nice otherwise. Successful and good-looking and con-
siderate. He's supposed to have a lot of brains."
"A-a-h, they're all in his head."
"It must have been awful when she discovered the truth about
him." Mother took out one of the dainty crying towels with the cheer-
ful edging and dabbed her eyes. "Imagine the poor girl waking up
and finding she married a man who can't drive a nail in straight."
MACHINE VERSES MAN - ALSO WOMAN AND CHILD
Father tried to rub the picture from his eyes. "Incredible! When
did she first suspect him?"
"Right after the honeymoon when they moved into that charming
new house. He fumbled on the curtain rods and then laughed about
it in front of her old friends from domestic science school."
Uttering an angry oath, Father jumped up and seized his portable
power drill. "I'll fill the rotter full of holes," he said.
"Don't overload your cables, Father. The scandal would ruin her
chance for happiness with the manual training teacher."
Father laid the weapon down. "That's true," he said. "He's a good
man. You should see the spline joint he can make when he's sober."
Father turned back to his bench. The balmy evening had become
a balmy night. Its balminess seemed to defy the caulked casements
and pervade the house itself. Soon it was bedtime and Shopmaster,
Pfaff and Erector were all neatly racked, stacked or rolled away, along
with their attachments, jigs and adapters. The electric clock did not
need winding and the cat put itself out through the "Pussy Portal"
that operated automatically by selenium cell. Little Piston dreamed
of wheels within wheels. Mother snapped off her "French-Accented
Boudoir Lamp from Leetle Zumzings." Soon she and Father were
sawing wood. The balmy night became another balmy day. The sun
rose like a hot soldering iron. The air was as clear as white shellac.
It promised to be a perfect day for mothproofing the breadbox. •
"For heavens sake, Andy, will you please stop working on that gunrack
and fix the faucet!"
Lef the Power of Positive
Sawing into your life. Let
it into the cellar and it will
follow you everywhere,
upstairs, downstairs and
in milady's chamber. It
wilt cling to you, that
sawdust, in your darkest
hours and in the cuffs of
your pants. It works won-
ders. See 'em on the fol-
INTO EACH LIFE SOME
SAWDUST MUST FALL
Bird-lovers who would like to attract a more refined type of bird
might try this project (above) which discourages the moral laxity of
mixed bathing so common to feathered life. Whether the project will
attract any bird except an osprey is a question but it will lend a touch
of exquisite prudery to the genteel lawn. Chances are most birds will
give it the vulgar, public-library treatment, but the osprey may go for
it. That's because the osprey isnay utsnay ootay.
DINNA THROW AWA' THAT TRUSS, MON
. . . IT MAKES A BONNIE DINNER GONG
The diagrams at the right show what can be
done with a little ingenuity and a hernia. When
a truss is worn out, it is usually thrown away
or stored in the attic where, years later, it unex-
pectedly pops out of a trunk when old dance
cards or a wedding dress are being dug out for
Here's a way, then, to put the snap and spring
still left in that old truss to a new use. Mounted
on a dining-room wall as the clapper for a bell,
it summons the family to dinner from cellar or
backyard tomato patch with a clang that posi-
Musical trusses might also be used by sym-
phony orchestras whose budgets won't cover the
extra cost of the gongs and glockenspiels required
by Berlioz and Wagner.
Truss, released, snaps
back with dulcet bong.
Oval plaque and fish jigsawed from %" plywood. Eyes are hose washers and
rubber bumpers, screwed down. "Swords" of fish are keyhole blade and double-
twist auger bit. Impossible decor, maybe, but better than the hole it hides.
PLAQUES FOR WALLS,
Walls that are scarred and stained with cracks, bullet holes, squashed
flies and Snookum's little fingerprints can be plastered and painted
again or, as shown on the following pages, the unsightly marks can
simply be covered up with wall plaques that are fun to make. Plywood
and jigsaw are the basic equipment for making Hardware Heads, plus
assorted small hardware for eyes, noses, mouths and such.
It is surprising how many human features can be found on the
hardware counter of a dime store, though not so surprising if most
of us would take a closer look in the mirror. It comes as a bit of a
shock, though, to realize that one has ears like drawer pulls or eyes
like the rubber buttons in a "Toilet Bumper Set."
Zsa Zsa, honey, this does tiot mean you.
The head of this French Legionnaire officer is sohd mahogany (a touch
of irony for irony-lovers). His frown is a corrugated fastener, his eye-
brows finishing nails, and his eyes faucet washers on rope thimbles. The
bristling mustache under the rheostat nose is a line cleat. Two new-on-
the-market hacksaws form the emblem of his crossed pistols. Malheureuse-
ment, his lips are those rubber things that soften the bang of a toilet
lid. No offense meant, mon Capitaine. Military expediency, you know.
The Hardware Head below is jigsawed plywood, with washers and whatnots for
features. Her braids are turned oak, tied at the ends with butterfly hinges
for ribbons. Her bangs are combed-out Vi" manila, painted to match the braids.
By playing around with the hardware you can find in any goat's stomach, you
will discover that you can vary the faces of wall plaques indefinitely and
thus get out of doing all those necessary repair jobs around the house.
Among many new items is a book
that makes hell and damn house-
hold words. Also coming is the
"Willie Sutton Hacksaw." How
are ya fixed for blades, Willie?
ON THE MARKET
SHORT CUTS TO CUSSING
Handy men who have days when everything
goes wrong may welcome this new book of
curses (left). Indexed for quick reference
from "Aw, shucks!" to "Zounds!" it provides
an expletive for any type of boo-boo. If, for
example, the paint can gets kicked over, you
will find under "Paint — spilled" the suggested
expression of "Lord love a duck!" Thus the
shop-wise handyman can short-cut the time
usually wasted stamping around aimlessly and
muttering thickly in baffled fury. •
TRANSFUSE IT YOURSELF
For power-tool users who ignore safety
rules and common sense, the new Home
Craftsman's Plasma (right) should always
be within handy reach — if there's any-
thing left to reach with. The manufactur-
ers warn, however, that it should never be
stored near bottles of orange shellac,
which plasma resembles. In the excitement
of an emergency, confusion is easy; and
quick-drying shellac can do untold harm
to your vascular system, hardening the ar-
teries with a vengeance. And who wants
a high-gloss finish in his aorta where no
one can see it? Why not be careful? •
f .m^mimIHhB^^ ^^^^^^I
Genuine Blue Bloo<l i
^^^^^^ . y^-^^}i
STALE BAGELS MAKE HEAVY-DUTY WASHERS
Makers of metal washers
were caught off-guard recent-
ly when bakers entered the
light-hardware field with
week-old bagels (above and
right) that are proving tough-
er than the conventional steel
seats for bolt heads and nuts.
Especially for heavy-duty bolts
of /a" gauge and up, the stale
bagels resist pressures that are
delighting home craftsmen as
well as construction engineers. Both groups of users report that bagels
get harder and tougher with age and also beautify the bolt with a
knobby, well-rounded look. With Consumers Union rating the bagel
tops in rust-resistance, it now looks as if the bakeries will give hard-
ware stores a run for their money in the washer trade. •
Now available in handy home
tubes under the name of "Ma-
goozalum" (left) is the glue used
\M<M. ^y commuter roads on train doors
MAN, DIG THAT CRAZY RONSON!
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree;
A tree whose lumber yield, when dressed,
Will make an inglenook or chest;
A tree transformed into a tray
Or handy, whatnot roll-away.
Why should a tree in summer wear
A nest of robins in its hair
When birds can get a home for free
In houses built by guys like me?
Pages 12, 13, 18, 21, 27, 52, 54, SS, 58, 59, 62,
66, 78, 79, 80, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93
VICTOR H. KOMOW
at Motion Picture Stages
Pages 2, 8, 10, 11, 16, 33, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43,
50, 67, 76, 82, 86, 94
at Graphic House
Pages 19 and 53 United Press; 29 Graphic House;
30 Culver; 65 I.N.P.
Pages 14, 15, 20, 28, 56, 60, 61, 64, 71, 81, 88
W. H. HOEDT STUDIOS
from roughs supplied by the author
All projects made by the author except those on pages 1 9, 53 and 65
Power tools courtesy of skilsaw
Here in text and mad, mad
pictures is the what-next-of-
how-to by a do-it-yourselfer
who knows EVERYTHING.
Covers such general topics
as How to Speak Hardwarese
and How to Cut Down on
Your Hammer Strokes, plus
specific directions for mak-
ing A Modern Ivy Planter
from That Old Stradivarius,
A Rush-Hour Crowd Plow, A
Louis Seize Mousetrap, A
Dream Split-Level You Can
Split Yourself, and many,
Self Portrait of the Author
Mr. Mills was born in Williams-
port, Pa., where his earliest
recollection is that of receiving
a junior tool kit. With it, he
built his own playpen. "I must
get my home craftsmanship
from Mother, who was very
handy. Father couldn't make
anything, not even of me, as he
laughingly used to say."
This book had an odd and ac-
cidental origin: "I had intended
it to be a translation of Huys-
man's Against the Grain with
pop-ups, but the chisel slipped.
Now I'm anxious to get at the
next project— the strange bump
on the back of my head. If I
can get around there with a
hammer and saw, I can fix it."
Mr. Mills lives on Long Island
with his wife, Virginia, and 8-
year-old son, Richard. The au-
thor not only dreamed up but
actually made every wacky pro-
ject pictured in the book.