The Boy Mechanic: Volume 1
Part 1 out of 15
Produced by Don Kostuch
The Boy Mechanic
700 Things for Boys to Do
800 Illustrations Showing How
Jan 28, 1938
THE BOY MECHANIC VOLUME I
This text accurately reproduces the original book except for
adherence to Project Gutenburg guidelines. Each project title is
followed by its original page number to allow use of the
alphabetical contents (index) at the end of the book. The book
used very complex typesetting to conserve space. This
transcription uses simple one-column linear layout.
The text only version is of limited use because of the widespread
occurrence of diagrams and illustrations. Use the pdf version for
the complete text.
Many projects are of contemporary interest--magic, kites and
boomerangs for example. Try a "Querl" for starters.
There are many projects of purely historical interest, such as
chemical photography, phonographs, and devices for coal
Another class of projects illustrate the caviler attitude toward
environment and health in 1913. These projects involve items
such as gunpowder, acetylene, hydrogen, lead, mercury, sulfuric
acid, nitric acid, cadmium, potassium sulfate, potassium cyanide,
potassium ferrocyanide, copper sulfate, and hydrochloric acid.
Several involve the construction of hazardous electrical devices.
Please view these as snapshots of culture and attitude, not as
suggestions for contemporary activity.
Be careful and have fun or simply read and enjoy a trip into
[Illustration: How to Make a Glider (See page 171)]
THE BOY MECHANIC
700 THINGS FOR BOYS TO DO
HOW TO CONSTRUCT
WIRELESS OUTFITS, BOATS, CAMP EQUIPMENT,
AERIAL GLIDERS, KITES, SELF-PROPELLED VEHICLES
ENGINES, MOTORS, ELECTRICAL APPARATUS, CAMERAS
HUNDREDS OF OTHER THINGS WHICH DELIGHT EVERY BOY
WITH 800 ILLUSTRATIONS
COPYRIGHTED, 1913, BY H. H. WINDSOR CHICAGO
POPULAR MECHANICS CO.
** A Model Steam Engine 
The accompanying sketch illustrates a two-cylinder single-acting,
poppet valve steam engine of home construction.
The entire engine, excepting the flywheel, shaft, valve cams,
pistons and bracing rods connecting the upper and lower plates of
the frame proper, is of brass, the other parts named being of cast
iron and bar steel.
The cylinders, G, are of seamless brass tubing, 1-1/2 in. outside
diameter; the pistons, H, are ordinary 1-1/2 in. pipe caps turned
to a plug fit, and ground into the cylinders with oil and emery.
This operation also finishes the inside of the cylinders.
The upright rods binding the top and bottom plates are of steel
rod about 1/8-in. in diameter, threaded into the top plate and
passing through holes in the bottom plate with hexagonal brass
The valves, C, and their seats, B, bored with a countersink bit,
are plainly shown. The valves were made by threading a copper
washer, 3/8 in. in diameter, and screwing it on the end of the
valve rod, then wiping on roughly a tapered mass of solder and
grinding it into the seats B with emery and oil.
The valve rods operate in guides, D, made of 1/4-in. brass tubing,
which passes through the top plate and into the heavy brass bar
containing the valve seats and steam passages at the top, into
which they are plug-fitted and soldered.
The location and arrangement of the valve seats and steam passages
are shown in the sketch, the flat bar containing them being
soldered to the top plate.
The steam chest, A, over the valve mechanism is constructed of
[Illustration: Engine Details]
1-in. square brass tubing, one side being sawed out and the open
ends fitted with pieces of 1/16 in. sheet brass and soldered. in.
The steam inlet is a gasoline pipe connection such as used on
The valve-operating cams, F, are made of the metal ends of an old
typewriter platen, one being finished to shape and then firmly
fastened face to face to the other, and used as a pattern in
filing the other to shape. Attachment to the shaft, N, is by means
of setscrews which pass through the sleeves.
The main bearings, M, on the supports, O, and the crank-end
bearings of the connecting rods, K, are split and held in position
by machine screws with provision for taking them up when worn.
The exhausting of spent steam is accomplished by means of slots,
I, sawed into the fronts of the cylinders at about 1/8 in. above
the lowest position of the piston's top at the end of the stroke,
at which position of the piston the valve rod drops into the
cutout portion of the cam and allows the valve to seat.
All the work on this engine, save turning the pistons, which was
done in a machine shop for a small sum, and making the flywheel,
this being taken from an old dismantled model, was accomplished
with a hacksaw, bench drill, carborundum wheel, files, taps and
dies. The base, Q, is made of a heavy piece of brass.
The action is smooth and the speed high. Steam is supplied by a
sheet brass boiler of about 3 pt. capacity, heated with a Bunsen
--Contributed by Harry F. Lowe, Washington, D. C.
** Magic Spirit Hand 
The magic hand made of wax is given to the audience for
examination, also a board which is suspended by four pieces of
common picture-frame wire. The hand is placed upon the board and
answers, by rapping, any question asked by members of the
audience. The hand and the board may be examined at any time and
yet the rapping can be continued, though surrounded by the
The Magic Wand, London, gives the secret of this spirit hand as
follows: The hand is prepared by concealing in the wrist a few
soft iron plates, the wrist being afterwards bound with black
velvet as shown in Fig. 1. The board is hollow, the top being made
of thin veneer (Fig. 2). A small magnet, A, is connected to a
small flat pocket lamp battery, B. The board is suspended by four
lengths of picture-frame wire one of which, E, is
[Illustration: Wax Hand on Board and Electrical Connections]
connected to the battery and another, D, to the magnet. The other
wires, F and G, are only holding wires. All the wires are fastened
to a small ornamental switch, H, which is fitted with a connecting
plug at the top. The plug can be taken out or put in as desired.
The top of the board must be made to open or slide off so that
when the battery is exhausted a new one can be installed.
Everything must be firmly fixed to the board and the hollow space
filled in with wax, which will make the board sound solid when
In presenting the trick, the performer gives the hand and board
with wires and switch for examination, keeping the plug concealed
in his right hand. When receiving the board back, the plug is
secretly pushed into the switch, which is held in the right hand.
The hand is then placed on the board over the magnet. When the
performer wishes the hand to move he pushes the plug in, which
turns on the current and causes the magnet to attract the iron in
the wrist, and will, therefore, make the hand rap. The switch can
be made similar to an ordinary push button so the rapping may be
easily controlled without detection by the audience.
** Making Skis and Toboggans 
During the winter months everyone is thinking of skating, coasting
or ski running and jumping. Those too timid to run down a hill
standing upright on skis must take their pleasure in coasting or
The ordinary ski can be made into a coasting ski-toboggan by
joining two pairs together with bars without injury to their use
for running and jumping. The ordinary factory-made skis cost from
$2.50 per pair up, but any boy can make an excellent pair far 50
In making a pair of skis, select two strips of Norway pine free
from knots, 1 in. thick, 4 in. wide and 7 or 8 ft. long. Try to
procure as fine and straight a grain as possible. The pieces are
dressed thin at both ends leaving about 1 ft. in the center the
full thickness of 1 in., and gradually thinning to a scant 1/2 in.
at the ends. One end of each piece is tapered to a point beginning
12 in. from the end. A groove is cut on the under side, about 1/4
in. wide and 1/8 in. deep, and running almost the full length of
the ski. This will make it track straight and tends to prevent
side slipping. The shape of each piece for a ski, as it appears
before bending, is shown in Fig. 1.
The pointed end of each piece is placed in boiling water for at
least 1 hour, after which the pieces are ready for bending. The
bend is made on an ordinary stepladder. The pointed ends are stuck
under the back of one step and the other end securely tied to the
ladder, as shown in Fig. 2. They should remain tied to the ladder
48 hours in a moderate temperature, after which they will hold
their shape permanently.
The two straps, Fig. 3, are nailed an a little forward of the
center of gravity so that when the foot is lifted, the front
[Illustration: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3 -- Forming the Skis]
of the ski will be raised. Tack on a piece of sheepskin or deer
hide where the foot rests, Fig. 4.
The best finish for skis is boiled linseed oil. After two or three
[Illustration: Fig. 4 -- The Toe Straps]
applications the under side will take a polish like glass from the
contact with the snow.
The ski-toboggan is made by placing two pairs of skis together
side by side
[Illustration: Fig. 5 -- Ski-Toboggan]
and fastening them with two bars across the top. The bars are held
with V-shaped metal clips as shown in Fig. 5.
--Contributed by Frank Scobie, Sleepy Eye, Minn.
** Homemade Life Preserver 
Procure an inner tube of a bicycle tire, the closed-end kind, and
fold it in four alternate sections, as shown in Fig. 1. Cut or
tear a piece of cloth into strips about 1/2 in. wide, and knot
them together. Fasten this long strip of cloth to the folded tube
and weave it alternately in and out, having each
[Illustration: Fig. 1, Fig. 2; Inner Tube and Cover]
run of the cloth about 4 in. apart, until it is bound as shown in
Make a case of canvas that will snugly fit the folded tube when
inflated. The straps that hold the preserver to the body may be
made of old suspender straps. They are sewed to the case at one
end and fastened at the other with clasps such as used on overall
straps. The tube can be easily inflated by blowing into the valve,
at the same time holding the valve stem down with the teeth. The
finished preserver is shown in Fig. 2.
** How to Make Boomerangs 
When the ice is too thin for skating and the snow is not right for
skis, about the only thing to do is to stay in the house. A
boomerang club will help to fill in between and also furnishes
good exercise for the muscles of the arm. A boomerang can be made
[Illustration: Bending and Cutting the Wood]
of a piece of well seasoned hickory plank. The plank is well
steamed in a wash boiler or other large kettle and then bent to a
nice curve, as shown in Fig. 1. It is held in this curve until
dry, with two pieces nailed on the sides as shown.
After the piece is thoroughly dried out, remove the side pieces
and cut it into sections with a saw, as shown in Fig. 2. The
pieces are then dressed round. A piece of plank 12 in. wide and 2
ft. long will make six boomerangs.
To throw a boomerang, grasp it and hold the same as a club, with
the hollow side away from you. Practice first at some object about
25 ft. distant, and in a short time the thrower will be able to
hit the mark over 100 ft. away. Any worker in wood can turn out a
great number of boomerangs cheaply.
--Contributed by J. E. Noble, Toronto, Ontario.
** How to Make an Eskimo Snow House 
By GEORGE E. WALSH
Playing in the snow can be raised to a fine art if boys and girls
will build their creations with some attempt at architectural
skill and not content themselves with mere rough work. Working in
snow and ice opens a wide field for an expression of taste and
invention, but the construction of houses and forts out of this
plastic material provides the greatest amount of pleasure to the
normally healthy boy or girl.
The snow house of the Eskimo is probably the unhealthiest of
buildings made by any savage to live in, but it makes an excellent
playhouse in winter, and represents at the same time a most
ingenious employment of the arch system in building. The Eskimos
build their snow houses without the aid of any scaffolding or
interior false work, and while there is a keystone at the top of
the dome, it is not essential to the support of the walls. These
are self-supporting from the time the first snow blocks are put
down until the last course is laid.
The snow house is of the beehive shape and the ground plan is that
of a circle. The circle is first laid out on the ground and a
space cleared for it. Then a row of snow blocks is laid on the
ground and another course of similar blocks placed on top. The
snow blocks are not exactly square in shape, but about 12 in.
long, 6 in. high and 4 or 5 in. thick. Larger or smaller blocks
can be used, according to size of the house and thickness of the
First, the snow blocks must be packed and pressed firmly into
position out of moist snow that will pack. A very light, dry snow
will not pack easily, and it may be necessary to use a little
water. If the snow is of the right consistency, there will be no
trouble in packing and working with it. As most of the blocks are
to be of the same size throughout, it will pay to make a mold for
them by forming a box of old boards nailed together, minus the
top, and with a movable bottom, or rather no bottom at all. Place
the four sided box on a flat board and ram snow in it, forcing it
down closely. Then by lifting the box up and tapping the box from
above, the block will drop out. In this way blocks of uniform size
are formed, which makes the building simpler and easier.
While one boy makes the blocks another can shave them off at the
edges and two others can build the house, one inside of the circle
and the other outside. The Eskimos build their snow houses in this
way, and the man inside stays there until he is completely walled
in. Then the door and a window are cut through the wall.
[Illustration: Laying the Snow Bricks]
[Illustration: Three-Room Snow House]
Each layer of snow blocks must have a slight slant at the top
toward the center so that the walls will constantly curve inward.
This slant at the top is obtained better by slicing off the lower
surfaces of each block before putting it in its course. The top
will then have a uniform inward slant.
The first course of the snow house should be thicker than the
others, and the thickness of the walls gradually decreases toward
the top. A wall, however, made of 6-in. blocks throughout will
hold up a snow house perfectly, if its top is no more than 6 or 7
ft. above the ground. If a higher house is needed the walls should
be thicker at the base and well up toward the middle.
The builder has no mortar for binding the blocks together, and
therefore he must make his joints smooth and even and force in
loose snow to fill up the crevices. A little experience will
enable one to do this work well, and the construction of the house
will proceed rapidly. The Eskimos build additions to their houses
by adding various dome-shaped structures to one side, and the
young architect can imitate them. Such dome-shaped structures are
shown in one of the illustrations.
A fact not well understood and appreciated is that the Eskimo
beehive snow house represents true arch building. It requires no
scaffolding in building and it exerts no outward thrust. In the
ordinary keystone arch used by builders, a, temporary structure
must be erected to hold the walls up until the keystone is fitted
in position, and the base must be buttressed against an outward
thrust. The Eskimo does not have to consider these points. There
is no outward thrust, and the top keystone is not necessary to
hold the structure up. It is doubtful whether such an arch could
be built of brick or stone without scaffolding, but with the snow
blocks it is a simple matter.
** Secret Door Lock 
The sketch shows the construction of a lock I have on a door which
is quite a mystery to those who do not know how it operates. It
also keeps them out. The parts of the lock on the inside of the
door are shown in Fig. 1. These parts can be covered so that no
one can see them.
[Illustration: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3; The Lock Parts]
The ordinary latch and catch A are attached to the door in the
usual manner. The latch is lifted with a stick of wood B, which is
about 1 ft. long and 1 in. wide, and pivoted about two-thirds of
the way from the top as shown. The latch A is connected to the
stick B with a strong cord run through a staple to secure a
right-angle pull between the pieces. A nail, C, keeps the stick B
from falling over to the left. The piece of wood, D, is 6 or 8 in.
long and attached to a bolt that runs through the door, the
opposite end being fastened to the combination dial. Two kinds of
dials are shown in Fig. 2. The piece D is fastened on the bolt an
inch or two from the surface of the door to permit placing a
spiral spring of medium strength in between as shown in Fig. 3.
The opposite end of the bolt may be screwed into the dial, which
can be made of wood, or an old safe dial will do. A nail is driven
through the outer end of the piece D and the end cut off so that
it will pass over the piece B when the dial is turned. When the
dial is pulled out slightly and then turned toward the right, the
nail will catch on the piece B and open the latch. --Contributed
by Geo. Goodbrod, Union, Ore.
** A Convenient Hot-Dish Holder 
When taking hot dishes from the stove, it is very convenient to
have holders handy for use. For this purpose I screwed two screw
eyes into the ceiling, one in front of the stove directly above
the place where the holder should hang, and the other back of the
stove and out of the way. I next ran a strong cord through the two
eyes. To one end of the cord I attached a weight made of a clean
lump of coal. The cord is just long enough to let the weight hang
a few inches above the floor and pass through both screw eyes. I
fastened a small ring to the other end to keep the cord from
slipping back by the pull of the weight. I then fastened two
pieces of string to the ring at the end of the cord and attached
an iron holder to the end of each string. The strings should be
just long enough to keep the holders just over the stove where
they are always
[Illustration: Holders in a Convenient Place]
ready for use, as the weight always draws them back to place.
--Contributed by R. S. Merrill, Syracuse, New York.
** Magic-Box Escape 
The things required to make this trick are a heavy packing box
with cover, one pair of special hinges, one or two hasps for as
many padlocks and a small buttonhook, says the Sphinx.
The hinges must be the kind for attaching inside of the box. If
ordinary butts are used, the cover of the box
[Illustration: Box with Hinges and Lock]
must be cut as much short as the thickness of the end board. The
hinges should have pins that will slip easily through the parts.
Before entering the box the performer conceals the buttonhook on
his person, and as soon as the cover is closed and locked, and the
box placed in a cabinet or behind a screen, he pushes the pin or
bolt of the hinge out far enough to engage the knob end with the
buttonhook which is used to pull the pin from the hinge. Both
hinges are treated in this manner and the cover pushed up,
allowing the performer to get out and unlock the padlocks with a
duplicate key. The bolts are replaced in the hinges, the box
locked and the performer steps out in view.
** A Flour Sifter 
When sifting flour in an ordinary sieve I hasten the process and
avoid the disagreeable necessity of keeping my hands in the flour
by taking the top from a small tin lard can and placing it on top
of the flour with its sharp edges down. When the sieve is shaken,
the can top will round up the flour and press it through quickly.
--Contributed by L. Alberta Norrell, Augusta, Ga.
** A Funnel 
An automobile horn with the bulb and reed detached makes a good
funnel. It must be thoroughly cleaned and dried after using as a
** How to Make Comer Pieces for a Blotter Pad 
To protect the corners of blotting pads such as will be found on
almost every writing desk, proceed as follows:
First, make a design of a size proportionate to the size of the
pad and make a right-angled triangle, as shown in Fig. 1, on
drawing paper. Leave a small margin all around the edge and then
place some decorative form therein. Make allowance for flaps on
two sides, as shown, which may later be turned back and folded
under when the metal is worked. It should be noted that the
corners of the design are to be clipped slightly. Also note the
slight overrun at the top with the resulting V-shaped indentation.
To make a design similar to the one shown, draw one-half of it,
then fold along the center line and rub the back of the paper with
a knife handle or some other hard, smooth surface, and the other
half of the design will be traced on the second side. With the
metal shears, cut out four pieces of copper or brass of No. 22
gauge and with carbon paper trace the shape and decorative design
on the metal. Then cut out the outline and file the edges smooth.
Cover the metal over with two coats of black asphaltum varnish,
allowing each coat time to dry. Cover the back and all the face
except the white background. Immerse in a solution of 3 parts
water, 1 part nitric acid and 1 part sulphuric acid. When the
metal has been etched to the desired depth, about 1-32 of an inch,
remove it and clean off the asphaltum with turpentine. Use a stick
with a rag tied on the end for this purpose so as to keep the
solution off the hands and clothes. The four pieces should be
worked at the same time, one for each corner.
It remains to bend the flaps. Place the piece in a vise, as shown
in Fig. 2, and bend the flap sharply to a right angle. Next place
a piece of metal of a thickness equal to that of the blotter pad
at the bend and with the mallet bring the flap down parallel to
the face of the corner piece, Fig. 3. If the measuring has been
done properly, the flaps
[Illustration: Manner of Forming the Plates]
ought to meet snugly at the corner. If they do not, it may be
necessary to bend them back and either remove some metal with the
shears or to work the metal over farther. All the edges should be
left smooth, a metal file and emery paper being used for this
If a touch of color is desired, it may be had by filling the
etched parts with enamel tinted by the addition of oil colors,
such as are used for enameling bathtubs. After this has dried,
smooth it off with pumice stone and water. To keep the metal from
tarnishing, cover it with banana-oil lacquer.
** Boring Holes in Cork 
The following hints will be found useful when boring holes in
cork. In boring through rubber corks, a little household ammonia
applied to the bit enables one to make a much smoother hole and
one that is nearly the same size at both openings. The common
cork, if rolled under the shoe sole, can be punctured easily and a
hole can be bored straighter. The boring is made easier by boiling
the cork, and this operation insures a hole that will he the
desired size and remain the size of the punch or bit used.
** Self-Lighting Arc Searchlight 
A practical and easily constructed self-lighting arc searchlight
can be made in the following manner: Procure a large can, about 6
in. in diameter, and cut three holes in its side about 2 in. from
the back end, and in the positions shown in the sketch. Two of the
holes are cut large enough to hold a short section of a garden
hose tightly, as shown at AA. A piece of porcelain tube, B, used
for insulation, is fitted tightly in the third hole. The hose
insulation A should hold the carbon F rigidly, while the carbon E
should rest loosely in its insulation.
The inner end of the carbon E is supported by a piece of No. 25
German-silver wire, C, which is about 6 in. long. This wire runs
[Illustration: Arc in a Large Can]
porcelain tube to the binding post D. The binding post is fastened
to a wood plug in the end of the tube. The tube B is adjusted so
that the end of the carbon E is pressing against the carbon F. The
electric wires are connected to the carbon F and the binding post
D. A resistance, R, should be in the line.
The current, in passing through the lamp, heats the strip of
German-silver wire, causing it to expand. This expansion lowers
the end of the carbon E, separating the points of the two carbons
and thus providing a space between them for the formation of an
arc. When the current is turned off, the German-silver wire
contracts and draws the two carbon ends together ready for
lighting again. The feed can be adjusted by sliding the carbon F
through its insulation.
A resistance for the arc may be made by running the current
through a water rheostat or through 15 ft. of No. 25 gauge
--Contributed by R. H. Galbreath, Denver, Colo.
** A Traveler's Shaving Mug 
Take an ordinary collapsible drinking cup and place a cake of
shaving soap in the bottom ring. This will provide a shaving mug
always ready for the traveler and one that will occupy very little
space in the grip.
** Homemade Snowshoes 
Secure four light barrel staves and sandpaper the outside smooth.
Take two old shoes that are extra large and cut off the tops and
heels so as to leave only the toe covering fastened to the sole.
Purchase two long book straps, cut them in two in the middle and
fasten the ends on the toe covering, as shown in Fig. 1. The
straps are used to attach the snowshoe to the regular shoe. When
buckling up the straps be sure to leave them loose enough for the
foot to work freely, Fig. 2. Fasten the barrel staves in pairs,
leaving a space of 4 in. between them as shown in Fig. 3, with
thin strips of wood. Nail the old shoe soles to crosspieces
[Illustration: Made from Barrel Staves]
placed one-third of the way from one end as shown. --Contributed
by David Brown, Kansas City, Mo.
** Fish Signal for Fishing through Ice 
Watching a fish line set in a hole cut in the ice on a cold day is
very disagreeable, and the usual method is to
[Illustration: Bell and Battery in a Box]
have some kind of a device to signal the fisherman when a fish is
hooked. The "tip ups" and the "jumping jacks" serve their purpose
nicely, but a more elaborate device is the electric signal. A
complete electric outfit can be installed in a box and carried as
conveniently as tackle.
An ordinary electric bell, A, Fig. 1, having a gong 2-1/2 in. in
diameter, and a pocket battery, B are mounted on the bottom of the
box. The electric connection to the bell is plainly shown. Two
strips of brass, C, are mounted on the outside of the box. The
brass strips are shaped in such a way as to form a circuit when
the ends are pulled together. The box is opened and set on the ice
near the fishing hole. The fish line is hung over a round stick
placed across the hole and then tied to the inside strip of brass.
When the fish is hooked the line will pull the brass points into
contact and close the electric circuit.
** Homemade Floor Polisher 
A floor polisher is something that one does not use but two or
three times a year. Manufactured polishers come in two sizes, one
weighing 15 lb., which is the right weight for family use, and one
weighing 25 lb.
A polisher can be made at home that will do the work just as well.
Procure a wooden box such as cocoa tins or starch packages are
shipped in and stretch several thicknesses of flannel or carpet
over the bottom, allowing the edges to extend well up the sides,
and tack smoothly. Make a handle of two stout strips of wood, 36
in. long, by joining their upper ends to a shorter crosspiece and
nail it to the box. Place three paving bricks inside of the box,
and the polisher will weigh about 16 lb., just the right weight
for a woman to use. The polisher is used by rubbing with the grain
of the wood.
--Contributed by Katharine D. Morse, Syracuse, N. Y.
** Tying Paper Bag to Make a Carrying Handle 
In tying the ordinary paper bag, the string can be placed in the
paper in such a way that it will form a handle to carry the
package, and also prevent any leakage of the contents. The bag
must be long enough for the end to fold over as shown in Fig. 1.
The folds are made over the string, as in
[Illustration: Stages in Tying a Bag]
Fig. 2. The string is then tied, Fig. 3, to form a handle, Fig. 4.
--Contributed by James M. Kane, Doylestown, Pa.
** Equilibrator for Model Aeroplanes 
On one of my model aeroplanes I placed an equilibrator to keep it
balanced. The device was attached to a crosspiece fastened just
below the propeller between the main frame uprights. A stick was
made to swing on a bolt in the center of the crosspiece to which
was attached a weight at the lower end and two lines connecting
the ends of the planes at the upper end. These are shown in Fig.
1. When the aeroplane tips, as
[Illustration: Warping the Aeroplane Wings]
shown in Fig. 2, the weight draws the lines to warp the plane so
it will right itself automatically.
--Contributed by Louis J. Day, Floral Park, N. Y.
** Repairing Christmas-Tree Decorations 
Small glass ornaments for Christmas tree decorations are very
easily broken on the line shown in the sketch. These can be easily
repaired by inserting in the neck a piece of match, toothpick or
splinter of wood and tying the hanging string to it.
[Illustration: Repaired Decoration]
** Homemade Scroll Saw 
A scroll saw, if once used, becomes indispensable in any home
carpenter chest, yet it is safe to say that not one in ten
contains it. A scroll saw is much more useful than a keyhole saw
for sawing small and irregular holes, and many fancy knick-knacks,
such as brackets, bookracks and shelves can be made with one.
A simple yet serviceable scroll saw frame can be made from a piece
of cold-rolled steel rod, 3/32 or 1/4 in. in diameter, two 1/8-in.
machine screws, four washers and four square nuts. The rod should
be 36 or 38 in. long, bent as shown in Fig. 1. Place one washer on
each screw and put the screws through the eyelets, AA, then place
other washers on and fasten in place by screwing one nut on each
screw, clamping the washers against the frame as tightly as
possible. The saw, which can be purchased at a local hardware
store, is fastened between the clamping nut and another nut as
shown in Fig. 2.
[Illustration: Frame Made of a Rod]
If two wing nuts having the same number and size of threads are
available, use them in place of the outside nuts. They are easier
to turn when inserting a saw blade in a hole or when removing
--Contributed by W. A. Scranton, Detroit, Michigan.
** How to Make a Watch Fob 
The fixtures for the watch fob shown--half size--may be made of
either brass, copper, or silver. Silver is the most desirable but,
of course, the most expensive. The buckle is to be purchased. The
connection is to be of leather of a color to harmonize with that
of the fixtures. The body of the fob may be of leather of suitable
color or of silk. Of the leathers, green and browns are the most
popular, though almost any color may be obtained.
Make full size drawings of the outline and design of the fixtures.
With carbon paper trace these on the metal. Pierce the metal of
the parts that are to be removed with a small hand drill to make a
place for the leather or silk. With a small metal saw cut out
these parts and smooth up the edges, rounding them slightly so
they will not cut the leather or silk. Next cut out the outlines
with the metal shears. File these edges, rounding and smoothing
with emery paper. The best way of handling the decorative design
is to etch it and, if copper or brass, treat it with color.
For etching, first cover the metal with black asphaltum varnish,
on the back and all the parts that are not to be touched with the
acid. In the design shown, the unshaded parts should not be etched
and should, therefore, be covered the same as the back. Apply two
coats, allowing each time to dry, after which immerse the metal in
a solution prepared as follows: 3 parts water, 1 part nitric acid,
1 part sulphuric acid. Allow the metal to remain in this until the
acid has eaten to a depth of 1/32 in., then remove it and clean in
a turpentine bath, using a swab and an old stiff brush. The amount
of time required to do the etching will depend upon the strength
of the liquid, as well as the depth of etching desired.
[Illustration: Watch Fob]
For coloring silver, as well as brass and copper, cover the metal
with a solution of the following: 1/2 pt. of water in which
dissolve, after breaking up, five cents worth of sulphureted
potassium. Put a teaspoonful of this into a tin with 2 qt. of
water. Polish a piece of scrap metal and dip it in the solution.
If it colors the metal red, it has the correct strength. Drying
will cause this to change to purple. Rub off the highlights,
leaving them the natural color of the metal and apply a coat of
** An Austrian Top 
All parts of the top are of wood and they are simple to make. The
handle is a piece of pine, 5-1/4 in. long, 1-1/4 in. wide and 3/4
in. thick. A handle, 3/4 in. in diameter, is formed on one end,
allowing only 1-1/4 in. of the other end to remain rectangular in
shape. Bore a 3/4-in. hole in this end for the top. A 1/16-in.
hole is bored in the edge to enter the large hole as shown. The
top can be cut from a broom handle or a round stick of hardwood.
[Illustration: Parts of the Top]
To spin the top, take a piece of stout cord about 2 ft. long, pass
one end through the 1/16-in. hole and wind it on the small part of
the top in the usual way, starting at the bottom and winding
upward. When the shank is covered, set the top in the 3/4-in.
hole. Take hold of the handle with the left hand and the end of
the cord with the right hand, give a good quick pull on the cord
and the top will jump clear of the handle and spin vigorously.
--Contributed by J.F. Tholl, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
** Pockets for Spools of Thread 
A detachable pocket for holding thread when sewing is shown
herewith. The dimensions may be varied to admit any number or size
of spools. Each pocket is made to take a certain size spool, the
end of the thread being run through the cloth front for obtaining
the length for threading a needle. This will keep the thread from
becoming tangled and enable it always to be readily drawn out to
the required length.
--Contributed by Miss L. Alberta Norrell, Augusta, Ga.
[Illustration: Pockets for Thread]
** Cleaning Leather on Furniture 
Beat up the whites of three eggs carefully and use a piece of
flannel to rub it well into the leather which will become clean
and lustrous. For black leathers, some lampblack may be added and
the mixture applied in the same way.
** A Baking Pan 
When making cookies, tarts or similar pastry, the housewife often
wishes for something by which to lift the baked articles from the
pan. The baking tray or pan shown in the sketch not only protects
the hands from burns but allows the baked articles easily to slip
from its surface. The pan is made from a piece of sheet iron
slightly larger than the baking space desired. Each end of the
metal is cut so that a part may be turned up and into a roll to
make handles for the pan.
[Illustration: Baking Pan without Sides]
A wire or small rod is placed between the handles as shown. This
wire is fastened at each end and a loop made in the center. The
pan can be removed from the oven by placing a stick through the
loop and lifting it out without placing the hands inside the hot
oven. The baking surface, having no sides, permits the baked
articles to be slid off at each side with a knife or fork. --A. A.
Houghton, Northville, Mich.
** A Broom Holder 
[Illustration: Broom Holder]
A very simple and effective device for holding a broom when it is
not in use is shown in the sketch. It is made of heavy wire and
fastened to the wall with two screw eyes, the eyes forming
bearings for the wire. The small turn on the end of the straight
part is to hold the hook out far enough from the wall to make it
easy to place the broom in the hook. The weight of the broom keeps
it in position.
--Contributed by Irl Hicks, Centralia, Mo.
**Stringing Wires 
A string for drawing electric wires into bent fixtures can be
easily inserted by rolling it into a small ball and blowing it
through while holding one end.
** A Darkroom Lantern 
Procure an ordinary 2-qt. glass fruit jar, break out the porcelain
lining in the cover and cut a hole through the metal, just large
enough to fit over the socket of an incandescent electric globe,
then solder cover and socket together, says Studio Light. Line the
inside of the jar with two thicknesses of good orange post office
paper. The best lamp for the purpose is an 8-candlepower showcase
lamp, the same as shown in the illustration. Screw the lamp into
the socket and screw the cover onto the jar, and you have a safe
light of excellent illuminating power.
When you desire to work by white light, two turns will remove the
[Illustration: Darkroom Lantern]
If developing papers are being worked, obtain a second jar and
line with light orange paper, screw into the cover fastened to the
lamp and you have a safe and pleasant light for loading and
development. By attaching sufficient cord to the lamp, it can be
moved to any part of the darkroom, and you have three lamps at a
** Preventing Vegetables from Burning in a Pot 
Many housekeepers do not know that there is a simple way to
prevent potatoes from burning and sticking to the bottom of the
pot. An inverted pie pan placed in the bottom of the pot avoids
scorching potatoes. The water and empty space beneath the pan
saves the potatoes. This also makes the work of cleaning pots
easier as no adhering parts of potatoes are left to be scoured
** A Clothes Rack 
A clothes-drying rack that has many good features can be made as
shown in the illustration. When the rack is
[Illustration: Folding Clothes Rack]
closed it will fit into a very small space and one or more wings
can be used at a time as the occasion or space permits, and not
tip over. The rack can be made of any hard wood and the material
list is as follows:
1 Center post. 1-1/4 in. square by 62 in. 4 Braces. 1-1/4 in.
square by 12 in. 16 Horizontal bars. 1 by 1-1/4 by 24 in. 4
Vertical pieces. 1/4 by 1 by 65 in.
Attach the four braces for the feet with finishing nails after
applying a good coat of glue.
The horizontal bars are fastened to the vertical pieces with
rivets using washers on both sides. The holes are bored a little
large so as to make a slightly loose joint. The other ends of the
bars are fastened to the center post with round head screws. They
are fastened, as shown in the cross-section sketch, so it can be
--Contributed by Herman Fosel, Janesville, Wis.
** Homemade Shower Bath 
[Illustration: A Shower Bath That Costs Less Than One Dollar to
While in the country during vacation time, I missed my daily bath
and devised a shower bath that gave complete satisfaction. The
back porch was enclosed with sheeting for the room, and the
apparatus consisted of a galvanized-iron pail with a short nipple
soldered in the center of the bottom and fitted with a valve and
sprinkler. The whole, after filling the pail with water, was
raised above one's head with a rope run over a pulley fastened to
the roof of the porch, and a tub was used on the floor to catch
the water. A knot should be tied in the rope at the right place,
to keep it from running out of the pulley while the pail is
lowered to be filled with water, and a loop made in the end, which
is placed over a screw hook turned into the wall. If the loop is
tied at the proper place, the pail will be raised to the right
height for the person taking the shower bath.
The water will run from 10 to 15 minutes. The addition of some hot
water will make a splendid shower bath.
--Contributed by Dr. C. H. Rosenthal, Cincinnati, O.
** How to Make Small Sprocket Wheels 
As I needed several small sprocket wheels and had none on hand, I
made them quickly without other expense than the time required,
from scrap material. Several old hubs with the proper size bore
were secured. These were put on an arbor and turned to the size of
the bottom of the teeth. Hole were drilled and tapped to
correspond to the number of teeth required and old stud bolts
turned into them. The wheels were again placed on the arbor and
the studs turned to the required size. After rounding the ends of
the studs, the sprockets were ready for use and gave perfect
--Contributed by Charles Stem, Phillipsburg, New York.
** Pot-Cover Closet 
The sides of the cover closet are cut as shown in Fig. 1 and
shelves are nailed between them at a slight angle.
[Illustration: FIG. 1 FIG. 2 Closet for Holding Pot Covers]
No dimensions are given as the space and the sizes of the covers
are not always the same. The back is covered with thin boards
placed vertically. The front can be covered with a curtain or a
paneled door as shown.
--Contributed by Gilbert A. Wehr, Baltimore, Md.
** Aid in Mixing Salad Dressing 
Some cooks find it a very difficult matter to prepare salad
dressing, principally mayonnaise dressing, as the constant
stirring and pouring of oil and liquids are required in the
operation. The simple homemade device shown in the accompanying
sketch greatly assists
[Illustration: Bottle in Stand]
in this work. It consists of a stand to hold a bottle, the mouth
of which rests against a. small gate directly in the rear of the
attached tin trough. The weight of the bottle and the contents
against the gate serves as a check or stopper. If the gate is
raised slightly, it will permit a continuous flow of liquid of the
** Saving Overexposed Developing Prints 
In using developing papers, either for contact printing or
enlargements, you are, by all rules of the game, entitled to a
certain number of overexposed prints, says a correspondent of
Camera Craft. But there is no reason why you should lose either
the paper or the time and trouble expended in making these prints.
By using the following method, you can turn these very dark prints
into good ones.
First: these overexposed prints must be fully developed. Do not
try to save them by rushing them out of the developer into the
short-stop or fixing bath. The results will be poor, and, if you
try to tone them afterward, the color will be an undesirable,
sickly one. Develop them into strong prints, thoroughly fix, and
wash until you are sure all hypo is removed. In my own practice, I
carry out this part of the work thoroughly, then dry the prints
and lay aside these dark ones until there is an accumulation of a
dozen or more, doing this to avoid too frequent use of the very
poisonous bleaching solution. The bleacher is made up as follows
and should be plainly marked "Poison."
Cyanide of potassium ....... 2 oz.
Iodide of potassium ....... 20 gr.
Water ..................... 16 oz.
Place the dry print, without previous wetting, in this solution.
It will bleach slowly and evenly, but, when it starts to bleach,
transfer it to a tray of water, where it will continue to bleach.
When the desired reduction has taken place, stop the action at
once by immersing the print in a 10-per-cent solution of borax.
The prints may be allowed to remain in this last solution until
they are finished. A good final washing completes the process.
This washing must be thorough and a sponge or a tuft of cotton
used to clean the surface of the print.
With a little practice, this method of saving prints that are too
dark becomes easy and certain. The prints are lightened and at the
same time improved in tone, being made blue-black with a delicate
and pleasing quality that will tempt you to purposely overexpose
some of your prints in order to tone them by this method for
certain effects. The process is particularly valuable to the
worker in large sizes, as it provides a means of making quite a
saving of paper that would otherwise be thrown away.
** An Ironing-Board Stand 
An ordinary ironing board is cut square on the large end and a
slot cut 1-1/2 in. wide and 4 in. long to admit the angle support.
The support is placed against the table and the board
[Illustration: Stand Attached to Table]
is pressed down against the outer notch which jams against the
table, thus holding the board rigid and in such a position as to
give free access for ironing dresses, etc.
--Contributed by T. L. Gray, San Francisco, Cal.
** A Desk Blotting Pad 
Procure four sheets of blotting paper, preferably the colored
kind, as it will appear clean much longer than the white. The size
of the pad depends on the size of the blotting paper.
Fold four pieces of ordinary wrapping paper, 5 by 15 in. in size,
three times, to make it 5 by 5 in. Fold each one from corner to
corner as shown in Fig. 1 and again as in Fig. 2. Paste the last
fold together and the corner holders are complete. Put one on each
corner of the blotting paper. They can be fastened with a small
brass paper fastener put through the top of the holder. The
blotting paper can
[Illustration: Fig. 1, 2, 3 Paper Corners for Blotter Pads]
be easily changed by removing the holders and fasteners. Corners
complete are shown in Fig. 3.
--Contributed by J. Wilson Aldred Toronto, Canada.
** Sleeve Holders for Lavatories 
A very handy article is an attachment on wash basins or lavatories
for holding the sleeves back while washing the hands. It is very
annoying to have the sleeves continually slip down and become wet
or soiled. The simple device shown herewith can be made with bent
wires or hooks and attached in such a way that it can be dropped
[Illustration: Wires Attached to a Lavatory]
of the way when not in use.
--Contributed by L.J. Monahan, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
** Removing Tarnish 
A pencil eraser will remove the tarnish from nickel plate, and the
ink eraser will remove the rust from drawing instruments.
** How to Make a Brass Bookmark 
Secure a piece of brass of No. 20 gauge, having a width of 2-1/4
in. and a length of 5 in. Make a design similar to that shown, the
head of which is 2 in. wide, the shaft 1 in. wide below the
[Illustration: FIG. 1 Fig. 2 The Pattern and the Finished
head and the extreme length 4-1/2 in. Make one-half of the design,
as shown in Fig. 1, freehand, then trace the other half in the
usual way, after folding along the center line. Trace the design
on the metal, using carbon paper, which gives the outline of the
design Fig. 2.
With the metal shears, cut out the outline as indicated by the
drawing. With files, smooth off any roughness
[Illustration: Drilling and Sawing the Metal]
and form the edge so that it shall be nicely rounded.
The parts of the design in heavy color may be treated in several
ways. A very satisfactory treatment is obtained by etching, then
coloring. Clean the metal thoroughly with pumice stone and water
or with alcohol before the design is applied. Cover all the metal
that is not to be lowered with a thick coating of asphaltum. Allow
this to dry, then put on a second coat. After this has dried,
thoroughly immerse the metal in a solution composed as follows: 3
parts water, 1 part sulphuric acid, 1 part nitric acid.
Allow the metal to remain in this solution until the exposed part
has been eaten about 1/32 in. deep, then remove it and clean off
the asphaltum, using turpentine. Do not put the hands in the
solution, but use a swab on a stick.
For coloring olive green, use 2 parts water to 1 part permuriate
of iron. Apply with a small brush.
The lines at A and B will need to be cut, using a small metal saw.
Pierce a hole with a small drill, Fig. 3, large enough to receive
the saw and cut along the lines as in Fig. 4. A piece of wood with
a V-shaped notch which is fastened firmly to the bench forms the
best place in which to do such sawing. The teeth of the saw should
be so placed that the sawing will be done on the downward stroke.
The metal must be held firmly, and the saw allowed time to make
its cut, being held perpendicular to the work.
After the sawing, smooth the edges of the metal with a small file
and emery paper. The metal clip may be bent outward to do this
part of the work.
** Cheesebox-Cover Tea Tray 
The cover from a cheesebox can be converted into a tea tray that
is very dainty for the piazza, or for serving an invalid's
First sandpaper the wood until it is smooth, then stain it a
mahogany color. The mahogany stain can be obtained ready prepared.
After the stain has dried, attach brass handles, which can be
obtained for a small sum at an upholsterer's shop. A round
embroidered doily in the bottom adds to the appearance of the
--Contributed by Katharine D. Morse, Syracuse, New York.
** Piercing-Punch for Brass 
Drill a 1/2-in. hole through a block of pine or other soft wood 2
in. thick. Tack over one end of the hole a piece of pasteboard in
which seven coarse sewing-machine needles have been inserted. The
needles should be close together and pushed through the pasteboard
until the points show. The hole is then filled with melted babbitt
metal. When this is cold, the block is split and the pasteboard
removed. This tool makes neat pierced work and in making brass
shades, it does the work rapidly.
--Contributed by H. Carl Cramer, East Hartford, Conn.
** Kitchen Chopping Board 
Cooks can slice, chop or mince vegetables and various other food
rapidly by placing the little device, as shown, on a chopping
board. Ii is an ordinary staple, driven in just far enough to
allow a space for the end of an ordinary pointed kitchen knife to
fit in it. The staple is driven in the edge of the chopping board.
The knife can be raised and lowered with one hand, as
[Illustration: Knife Attached to the Board]
the material is passed under the blade with the other. Great
pressure can be applied and the knife will not slip. --Contributed
by M. M. Burnett, Richmond, Cal.
** Carrying Mattresses 
Sew straps to the sides of mattresses and they can be handled much
** A Carpenter's Gauge 
The home workshop can be supplied with a carpenter's gauge without
any expense by the use of a large spool and
[Illustration: Round Stick In a Spool]
a round stick of wood. The stick should be dressed to fit the hole
in the spool snugly and a small brad driven through one end so
that the point will protrude about 1/16 in.
The adjustment of the gauge is secured by driving the stick in the
hole in the direction desired. A better way and one that will make
the adjusting easy is to file the point end of a screw eye flat
and use it as a set screw through a hole in the side of the spool.
** A Flatiron Rest 
The iron rest and wall hanger shown in the sketch is made of sheet
iron. The upturned edges of the metal are
[Illustration: Board or Wall Iron Rest]
bent to fit the sloping sides of the iron. The holder and iron can
be moved at the same time.
--Contributed by W. A. Jaquythe, Richmond, Cal.
** Use for Paper Bags 
When groceries are delivered, save the paper bags and use them for
staring bread and cakes. Tie the neck of the bag with a string and
it will keep the contents fresh and clean.
--Contributed by Mrs. L. H. Atwell, Kissimmee, Florida.
** Use Chalk on Files 
If a little chalk is rubbed on a file before filing steel, it will
keep the chips from sticking in the cuts on the file and
scratching the work.
** A Homemade Steam Turbine 
By WILLIAM H. WARNECKE
Procure some brass, about 3/16 in. thick and 4 in. square; 53
steel pens, not over 1/4 in. in width at the shank; two enameled,
or tin, saucers or pans, having a diameter on the inside part of
about 4-1/2 in.; two stopcocks with 1/8 in. holes; one shaft; some
[Illustration: Details of Turbine]
brass, 1/4 in. thick, and several 1/8-in. machine screws.
Lay out two circles on the 3/16-in. brass, one having a diameter
of 3-1/2 in. and the other with a diameter of 2-3/4 in. The
outside circle is the size of the finished brass wheel, while the
inside circle indicates the depth to which the slots are to be
cut. Mark the point where a hole is to be drilled for the shaft,
also locate the drill holes, as shown at A, Fig. 1. After the
shaft hole and the holes A are drilled in the disk, it can be used
as template for drilling the side plates C.
The rim of the disk is divided into 53 equal parts and radial
lines drawn from rim to line B, indicating the depth of the slots.
Slots are cut in the disk with a hacksaw on the radial lines. A
small vise is convenient for holding the disk while cutting the
When cutting the disk out of the rough brass, sufficient margin
should be left for filing to the true line. The slots should be
left in their rough state as they have a better hold on the pens
which are used for the blades. The pens are inserted in the slots
and made quite secure by forcing ordinary pins on the inside of
the pens and breaking them off at the rim, as shown in Fig. 4.
When the pens are all fastened two pieces of metal are provided,
each about 1 in. in diameter and 1/32 in. thick, with a 3/8-in.
hole in the center, for filling pieces which are first placed
around the shaft hole between the disk and side plates C, Fig. 1.
The side plates are then secured with some of the 1/8-in. machine
screws, using two nuts on each screw. The nuts should be on the
side opposite the inlet valves. The shaft hole may also be filed
square, a square shaft used, and the ends filed round for the
The casing for the disk is made of two enameled-iron saucers, Fig.
2, bolted together with a thin piece of asbestos between them to
make a tight joint. A 3/4-in. hole is cut near the edge of one of
the saucers for the exhaust. If it is desired to carry the exhaust
beyond the casing, a thin pipe can be inserted 1/4 in. into the
hole. Holes are drilled through the pipe on both inside and
outside of the casing, and pins inserted, as shown in Fig. 5.
Solder is run around the outside pin to keep the steam from
escaping. At the lowest point of the saucer or casing a 1/8-in.
hole is drilled to run off the water. A wood plug will answer for
If metal dishes, shaped from thick material with a good coating of
tin, can be procured, it will be much easier to construct the
casing than if enameled ware is used. The holes can be easily
drilled and the parts fitted together closely. All seams and
surfaces around fittings can be soldered.
Nozzles are made of two stopcocks having a 1/8-in. hole. These are
connected to a 3/8-in. supply pipe. The nozzles should be set at
an angle of 20 deg. with the face of the disk. The nozzle or
stopcock will give better results if the discharge end is filed
parallel to the face of the disk when at an angle of 20 deg. There
should be a space of 1/16 in. between the nozzle and the blades to
allow for sufficient play, Fig. 3.
The bearings are made of 1/4-in. brass and bolted to the casing,
as shown, with 1/8-in. machine screws and nuts. Two nuts should be
placed on each screw. The pulley is made by sliding a piece of
steel pipe on the engine shaft and fastening it with machine
screws and nuts as shown in Fig. 6. If the shaft is square, lead
should be run into the segments.
The driven shaft should have a long bearing. The pulley on this
shaft is made of pieces of wood nailed together, and its
circumference cut out with a scroll saw. Flanges are screwed to
the pulley and fastened to the shaft as shown in Fig. 7.
The bearings are made of oak blocks lined with heavy tin or sheet
iron for the running surface. Motion is transmitted from the
engine to the large pulley by a thin but very good leather belt.
** Homemade Telegraph Key 
A simple and easily constructed telegraph key may be made in the
following manner: Procure a piece of sheet brass, about 1/32 in.
thick, and cut out a strip 3-1/2 in. long by 3/4 in. wide. Bend as
shown in Fig. 1 and drill a hole for the knob in one end and a
hole for a screw in the other. Procure a small wood knob and
fasten it in place with a small screw. Cut a strip of the same
brass 2-3/4 in. long and 5/16 in. wide and bend as shown in Fig.
2. Drill two holes in the feet for screws to fasten it to the
base, and one hole in the top part for a machine screw, and solder
a small nut on the under side of the metal over the hole.
Mount both pieces on a base 4-1/4 by 2-3/4 by 1/4 in., as in Fig.
3, and where
[Illustration: Brass Key on a Wood Base]
the screw of the knob strikes the base when pressed down, put in a
screw or brass-headed tack for a contact. Fasten the parts down
with small brass wood-screws and solder the connections beneath
the base. Binding posts from an old battery cell are used on the
end of the base. The screw on top of the arch is used to adjust
the key for a long or short stroke.
--Contributed by S. V. Cooke, Hamilton, Canada.
** Keeping Food Cool in Camps 
Camps and suburban homes located where ice is hard to get can be
provided with a cooling arrangement herein described that will
make a good substitute for the icebox. A barrel is sunk in the
ground in a shady place, allowing plenty of space about the
outside to fill in with gravel. A quantity of small stones and
sand is first put in wet. A box is placed in the hole over the top
of the barrel and filled in with clay or earth well tamped. The
porous condition of the gravel drains the surplus water after a
The end of the barrel is fitted with a light cover and a heavy
door hinged to the box. A small portion of damp sand is sprinkled
on the bottom of the barrel. The covers should be left open
occasionally to prevent mold and to remove any bad air that may
have collected from the contents.
--Contributed by F. Smith, La Salle, Ill.
** Homemade Work Basket 
Secure a cheese box about 12 in. high and 15 in. or more in
diameter. It will pay you to be careful in selecting this box. Be
sure to have the cover. Score the wood deeply with a carpenter's
gauge inside and out 3-1/2 in. from the top of the box. With
repeated scoring the wood will be almost cut through or in shape
to finish the cut with a knife. Now you will have the box in two
pieces. The lower part, 8-1/2 in. deep over all, we will call the
basket, and the smaller part will be known as the tray.
Remove the band from the cover and cut the boards to fit in the
tray flush with the lower edge, to make the bottom. Fasten with
3/4-in brads. The kind of wood used in making these boxes cracks
easily and leaves a rough surface which should be well
The four legs are each 3/4-in. square and 30-1/2 in. long. The
tops should be beveled to keep them from splintering at the edges.
With a string or tape measure, find the circumference of the tray
or basket and divide this into four equal parts, arranging the lap
seam on both to come midway between two of the marks. When
assembling, make these seams come between the two back legs.
The tray is placed 1-1/4 in. from the top end and the basket 6-3/4
in. from the bottom end of the legs. Notch the legs at the lower
point about 1/8 in. deep and 1-1/4 in. wide to receive the band at
the lower end of the basket. Fasten with 3/4-in. screws, using
four to each leg, three of which are in the basket. Insert the
screws from the inside of the box into the legs.
Stain the wood before putting in the
[Illustration: Work Basket]
lining. If all the parts are well sandpapered, the wood will take
the stain nicely: Three yards of cretonne will make a very
attractive lining. Cut two sheets of cardboard to fit in the
bottom of the tray and basket. Cover them with the cretonne,
sewing on the back side. Cut four strips for the sides from the
width of the goods 5-1/2 in. wide and four strips 10 in. wide. Sew
them end to end and turn down one edge to a depth of 1 in. and
gather it at that point, also the lower edge when necessary. Sew
on to the covered cardboards. Fasten them to the sides of the tray
and basket with the smallest upholsterers' tacks. The product of
your labor will be a very neat and useful piece of furniture.
--Contributed by Stanley H. Packard, Boston, Mass.
** A Window Display 
A novel and attractive aeroplane window display can be easily made
in the following manner: Each aeroplane is cut from folded paper,
as shown in the sketch, and the wings bent out on the dotted
lines. The folded part in the center is pasted together. Each
aeroplane is fastened with a small thread from the point A as
shown. A figure of an airman can be pasted to each aeroplane. One
or more of the aeroplanes can be fastened in the blast of an
electric fan and kept in flight the same as a kite. The fan can be
concealed to make the display more real. When making the display,
have the background of such
[Illustration: Paper Aeroplanes in Draft]
a color as to conceal the small threads holding the aeroplanes.
--Contributed by Frederick Hennighausen, Baltimore, Md.
** How to Make a Flint Arrowhead 
If you live where flints abound, possess the requisite patience
and the knack of making things, you can, with the crudest of tools
and a little practice, chip out as good arrowheads as any painted
savage that ever drew a bow.
Select a piece of straight-grained flint as near the desired shape
as possible. It may be both longer and wider than the finished
arrow but it should not be any thicker. The side, edge and end
views of a suitable fragment are shown in Fig. 1. Hold the piece
with one edge or end resting on a block of wood and strike the
upper edge lightly with a hammer, a small boulder or anything that
comes handy until the piece assumes the shape shown in Fig. 2.
[Illustration: Fig.2 Fig.3 The Stone Chipped into Shape]
The characteristic notches shown in the completed arrow, Fig. 3,
are chipped out by striking the piece lightly at the required
points with the edge of an old hatchet or a heavy flint held at
right angles to the edge of the arrow. These heads can be made so
that they cannot be distinguished from the real Indian arrowheads.
--Contributed by B. Orlando Taylor, Cross Timbers, Mo.
** An Opening Handle for a Stamp Pad 
A stamp pad is a desk necessity and the cleanliness of one depends
on keeping it closed when it is not in use. The opening and
closing of a pad requires both hands and consequently the closing
of a pad is often neglected in order to avoid soiling the fingers.
This trouble can be avoided if the pad is fitted with a small
handle as shown in the sketch. Take the ordinary pad and work the
hinge until it opens freely.
[Illustration: Handle on Cover]
If necessary apply a little oil and spread the flanges of the
Saw off the top of a common wood clothespin just above the slot,
saving all the solid part. Fasten this to the cover near the back
side in an upright position with a screw. A tap on the front side
of the pin will turn it over backward until the head rests on the
desk thus bringing the cover up in the upright position. When
through using the pad, a slight tap on the back side of the cover
will turn it down in place.
--Contributed by H. L. Crockett, Gloversville, N. Y.
** Concrete Kennel 
The kennel shown in the illustration is large enough for the usual
size of dog. It is cleanly, healthful and more ornamental than the
[Illustration: Finished Kennel]
This mission style would be in keeping with the now popular
mission and semi-mission style home, and, with slight
modifications, it could be made to conform with the ever beautiful
colonial home. It is not difficult to
[Illustration: Concrete Forms]
build and will keep in good shape for many years. The dimensions
and the manner of making the forms for the concrete, and the
location for the bolts to hold the plate and rafters, are shown in
--Contributed by Edith E. Lane, El Paso, Texas.
** Nutshell Photograph Novelty 
Split an English walnut in the center, remove the contents, and
scrape out the rough parts. Make an oval
[Illustration: Photograph in the Shell]
opening by filing or grinding. If a file is used, it should be new
and sharp. After this is done, take a small half round file and
smooth the edges into shape and good form.
The photograph print should be quite small--less than 1/2 in.
across the face. Trim the print to a size a little larger than the
opening in the shell, and secure it in place with glue or paste.
It may be well to fill the shell with cotton. Mount the shell on a
small card with glue, or if desired, a mount of different shape
can be made of burnt woodwork.
--Contributed by C. S. Bourne, Lowell, Mass.
** Spoon Holder on a Kettle 
In making marmalade and jellies the ingredients must be stirred
from time to time as the cooking proceeds. After stirring, some of
the mixture always remains on the spoon. Cooks often lay the spoon
on a plate or stand it against the cooking utensil with the handle
down. Both of these methods are wasteful. The accompanying
illustration shows a device made of sheet copper to hold the spoon
so that the drippings will return to the cooking utensil. The
copper is not hard to bend and it can be shaped so that the device
can be used on any pot or kettle.
--Contributed by Edwin Marshall, Oak Park, Ill.
[Illustration: Spoon Holder]
** Repairing Cracked Gramophone Records 
Some time ago I received two gramophone records that were cracked
in shipment but the parts were held together with the paper label.
As these were single-faced disk records, I used the following
method to stick them together: I covered the back of one with
shellac and laid the two back to back centering the holes with the
crack in one running at right angles to the crack in the other.
These were placed on a flat surface and a weight set on them.
After several hours' drying, I cleaned the surplus shellac out of
the holes and played them.
As the needle passed over the cracks the noise was hardly audible.
These records have been played for a year and they sound almost as
good as new.
--Contributed by Marion P. Wheeler, Greenleaf, Oregon.
** New Use for a Vacuum Cleaner 
An amateur mechanic who had been much annoyed by the insects which
were attracted to his electric lights found a solution in the
pneumatic moth trap described in a recent issue of Popular
Mechanics. He fixed a funnel to the end of the intake tube of a
vacuum cleaner and hung it under a globe. The insects came to the
light, circled over the funnel and disappeared. He captured
several pounds in a few hours.
--Contributed by Geo. F. Turl, Canton, Ill.
** Filtering with a Small Funnel 
In filtering a large amount of solution one usually desires some
means other than a large funnel and something to make the watching
of the process unnecessary. If a considerable quantity of a
solution be placed in a large bottle or flask, and a cork with a
small hole in it inserted in the mouth, and the apparatus
suspended in an inverted position over a small funnel so that the
opening of the cork is just below the water level in the funnel,
the filtering process goes on continuously with no overflow of the
As soon as the solution in the funnel is below the cork, air is
let into the flask and a small quantity of new solution is let
down into the funnel. The process works well and needs no
watching, and instead of the filtrate being in a large filter
paper, it is on one small piece and can be handled with ease.
--Contributed by Loren Ward, Des Moines, Iowa.
** A Postcard Rack 
The illustration shows a rack for postcards. Those having houses
[Illustration: Finished Rack]
with mission-style furniture can make such a rack of the same
material as the desk, table or room furnishings and finish it in
the same manner.
The dimensions are given in the detail sketch. The two ends are
cut from 1/4-in. material, the bottom being 3/8 in. thick. Only
three pieces are required, and as they are simple in design,
anyone can cut them out with a
[Illustration: Details of the Rack]
saw, plane and pocket knife.
--Contributed by Wm. Rosenberg, Worcester, Mass.
** Substitute Shoe Horn 
A good substitute for a shoe horn is a handkerchief or any piece
cloth used in the following way: Allow part of the handkerchief or
cloth to enter the shoe, place the toe of the foot in the shoe so
as to hold down the cloth, and by pulling up on the cloth so as to
keep it taut around the heel the foot will slide into the shoe
just as easily as if a shoe horn were used.
--Contributed by Thomas E. Dobbins, Glenbrook, Conn.
** Building a Small Photographic Dark Room 
In building a photographic dark room, it is necessary to make it
perfectly light-tight, the best material to use being matched
boards. These boards are tongued and grooved and when put together
effectually prevent the entrance of light.
The next important thing to be considered is to make it
weather-tight, and as far as the sides are concerned the matched
boards will do this also, but it is necessary to cover the roof
with felt or water-proof paper.
The best thickness for the boards is 1 in., but for cheapness 3/4
in. will do as well, yet the saving is so little that the 1-in.
boards are preferable.
The dark room shown in the accompanying sketch measures 3 ft. 6
in. by 2 ft. 6 in., the height to the eaves being 6 ft. Form the
two sides shown in Fig 1, fixing the crosspieces which hold the
boards together in such positions that the bottom one will act as
a bearer for the floor, and the second one for the developing
bench. Both sides can be put together in this way, and both
exactly alike. Keep the ends of the crosspieces back from the
edges of the boards far enough to allow the end boards to fit in
One of the narrow sides can be formed in the same way, fixing the
crosspieces on to correspond, and then these three pieces can be
fastened together by screwing the two wide sides on the narrow
Lay the floor next, screwing or nailing the boards to the
crosspieces, and making the last board come even with the ends of
the crosspieces, not even with the boards themselves. The single
boards can then be fixed, one on each side of what will be the
doorway, by screwing to the floor, and to the outside board of the
sides. At the top of the doorway, fix a narrow piece between the
side boards, thus leaving a rectangular opening for the door.
The roof boards may next be put on, nailing them to each other at
the ridge, and to the sides of the room at the outsides and eaves.
They should overhang at the sides and eaves about 2 in., as shown
in Figs. 3 and 4.
One of the sides with the crosspieces in place will be as shown in
Fig. 2 in section, all the crosspieces and bearers intersecting
around the room.
The door is made of the same kind of boards held together with
crosspieces, one of which is fastened so as to fit closely to the
floor when the door is hinged, and act as a trap for the light.
The top crosspiece is also fastened within 1 in. of the top of the
door for the same reason.
Light traps are necessary at the sides and top of the door. That
at the hinged side can be as shown at A, Fig. 5, the closing side
as at B, and the top as at C in the same drawing. These are all in
section and are self-explanatory. In hinging the door, three butt
hinges should be used so as to keep the joint close.
The fittings of the room are as shown sectionally in Fig. 6, but
before fixing these it is best to line the room with heavy, brown
wrapping paper, as an additional safeguard against the entrance of
The developing bench is 18 in. wide, and in the middle an opening,
9 by 11 in., is cut, below which is fixed the sink. It is shown in
detail in Fig. 7, and should be zinc lined.
The zinc should not be cut but folded as shown in Fig. 8, so that
it will fit inside the sink. The bench at each side of the sink
should be fluted (Fig. 9), so that the water will drain off into
the sink. A strip should be fixed along the back of the bench as
shown in Figs. 6 and 9, and an arrangement of slats (Fig. 10),
hinged to it, so as to drop on the sink as in Fig. 6, and shown to
a larger scale in Fig. 11.
A shelf for bottles and another for plates, etc., can be fixed
above the developing bench as at D and E (Fig. 6) and another as F
in the same drawing. This latter forms the bottom of the tray
rack, which is fixed on as shown
[Illustration: Details of the Dark Rook]
in Fig. 13. The divisions of the tray rack are best fitted loosely
in grooves formed by fixing strips to the shelves and under the
bench and sink as in Fig. 13.
Extra bearing pieces will be wanted for the shelves mentioned
above, these being shown in Fig. 14. The window is formed by
cutting an opening in the side opposite the door, and fixing in it
a square of white glass with strips of wood on the inside and
putty on the outside, as in Fig. 15. A ruby glass is framed as
shown at G, Fig. 16, and arranged to slide to and fro in the
grooved runners H, which makes it possible to have white light, as
at I, or red light as at K, Fig. 16. The white glass with runners
in position is shown at L in the same drawing, but not the red
glass and frame. Ventilation is arranged for by boring a series of
holes near the floor, as at M, Fig. 6, and near the roof as at N
in the same drawing, and trapping the light without stopping the
passage of air, as shown in the sections, Fig. 17.
The finish of the roof at the gables is shown in Fig. 18, the
strip under the boards holding the felt in position when folded
under, and the same is true of the roll at the top of the roof in
The house will be much strengthened if strips, as shown in Fig.
20, are fastened in the corners inside, after lining with brown
paper, screwing them each way into the boards. The door may have a
latch or lock with a knob, but should in addition have two buttons
on the inside, fixed so as to pull it shut tightly at top and
bottom. A waste pipe should be attached to the sink and arranged
to discharge through the floor. A cistern with pipe and tap can be
fastened in the top of the dark room, if desired, or the room may
be made with a flat roof, and a tank stand on it, though this is
It is absolutely necessary that the room be well painted, four
coats at first is not too many, and one coat twice a year will
keep it in good condition.
A brick foundation should be laid so that no part of the room
touches the ground.
** The Versatile Querl 
"Querl" is the German name for a kitchen utensil which may be used
as an egg-beater, potato-masher or a lemon-squeezer. For beating
up an egg in a glass, mixing flour and water, or stirring cocoa or
chocolate, it is better than anything on the market.
[Illustration: Querl Made of Wood]
This utensil is made of hardwood, preferably maple or ash. A
circular piece about 2 in. in diameter is cut from 1/2-in. stock
and shaped like a star as shown in Fig. 1, and a 3/8-in. hole
bored in the center for a handle. The handle should be at least 12
in. in length and fastened in the star as shown in Fig. 2.
In use, the star is placed in the dish containing the material to
be beaten or mixed and the handle is rapidly rolled between the
palms of the hands.
--Contributed by W. Karl Hilbrich, Erie, Pennsylvania.
** An Emergency Soldering Tool 
Occasionally one finds a piece of soldering to do which is
impossible to reach with even the smallest of the ordinary
soldering irons or coppers. If a length of copper wire as large as
the job will permit and sufficiently long to admit being bent at
one end to form a rough handle, and filed or dressed to a point on
the other, is heated and tinned exactly as a regular copper should
be, the work will cause no trouble on account of inaccessibility.
--Contributed by E. G. Smith, Eureka Springs, Ark.
** Smoothing Paper after Erasing 
When an ink line is erased the roughened surface of the paper
should be smoothed or polished so as to prevent the succeeding
lines of ink from spreading. A convenient desk accessory for this
purpose can be made of a short
[Illustration: Collar Button Ends In Wood Stick]
piece of hardwood and two bone collar buttons.
File off the head of one button at A and the base from another at
B. Bore a small hole D and E in each end of the wood handle C and
fasten the button parts in the holes with glue or sealing wax. The
handle can be left the shape shown or tapered as desired. The
small end is used for smoothing small erasures and the other end
for larger surfaces.
** A Cherry Seeder 
An ordinary hairpin is driven part way into a small round piece of
wood, about 3/8 in. in diameter and 2 or 2-1/2 in. long, for a
handle, as shown in the sketch. The hairpin should be a very
[Illustration: Hairpin In Stick]
small size. To operate, simply insert the wire loop into the
cherry where the stem has been pulled off and lift out the seed.
--Contributed by L. L. Schweiger, Kansas City, Mo.
** A Dovetail Joint 
The illustration shows an unusual dovetail joint, which, when put
together properly is a puzzle. The tenon or tongue of the joint is
sloping on three surfaces and the mortise is cut sloping to match.
The bottom surface of the mortise is the same width at
[Illustration: Shape of Tenon and Mortise]
both ends, the top being tapering toward the base of the tongue.
--Contributed by Wm. D. Mitchell, Yonkers, New York.
** Base for Round-End Bottles 
The many forms of round-bottomed glass bottles used in chemical
laboratories require some special kind of support on which they
can be safely placed from time to time when the chemist
[Illustration: Base Made-of Corks]
does not, for the moment, need them. These supports should not be
made of any hard material nor should they be good conductors of
heat, as such qualities would result in frequent breakage.
A French magazine suggests making the supports from the large
corks of glass jars in which crystal chemicals are usually
supplied from the dealers. The manner of making them is clearly
shown in the sketch. Each cork is cut as in Fig. 1 and placed on a
wire ring (Fig. 2) whose ends are twisted together and the last
section of cork is cut through from the inner side to the center
and thus fitted over the wire covering the twisted ends, which
binds them together. The corks in use are shown in Fig. 3.
** Rustic Window Boxes 
Instead of using an ordinary green-painted window box, why not
make an artistic one in which the color does not clash with the
plants contained in it but rather harmonizes with them.
Such a window box can be made by anyone having usual mechanical
ability, and will furnish more opportunities for artistic and
original design than many other articles of more complicated
The box proper should be made a little shorter than the length of
the window to allow for the extra space taken up in trimming and
should be nearly equal in width to the sill, as shown in Fig. 1.
If the sill is inclined, as is usually the case, the box will
require a greater height in front, to make it set level, as shown
in Fig. 2.
The box should be well nailed or screwed together and should then
be painted all over to make it more durable. A number of 1/2-in.
holes should be drilled in the bottom, to allow the excess water
to run out and thus prevent rotting of the plants and box.
Having completed the bare box, it may be trimmed to suit the fancy
of the maker. The design shown in Fig. 1 is very simple and easy
to construct, but may be replaced with a panel or other design.
One form of panel design is shown in Fig. 3.
Trimming having too rough a surface will be found unsuitable for
this work as it is difficult to fasten and cannot be split as well
as smooth trimming. It should be cut the proper length before
being split and should be fastened with brads. The half-round
hoops of barrels will be found very useful in trimming, especially
for filling-in purposes, and by using them the operation of
splitting is avoided. After the box is trimmed, the rustic work
should be varnished, in order to thoroughly preserve it, as well
as improve its appearance.
[Illustration: Artistic Flower Boxes]
** Antidote for Squirrel Pest 
To the owner of a garden in a town where squirrels are protected
by law, life in the summer time is a vexation. First the squirrels
dig up the sweet corn and two or three replantings are necessary.
When the corn is within two or three days of being suitable for
cooking, the squirrels come in droves from far and near. They eat
all they can and carry away the rest. When the corn is gone
cucumbers, cabbages, etc., share the same fate, being partly eaten
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