The Boy Mechanic: Volume 1
Part 8 out of 15
for a mission sideboard and buffet. This method allows a wide
range of designs, which
[Illustration: Fancy Hinge Wings]
can be made at home with ordinary tools. The wings are made of
copper or brass and finished in repousse, or can be tarnished and
the high places burnished with 000 sandpaper or steel wool, then
lacquered with white shellac or banana bronzing liquid.
--Contributed by John H. Schatz, Indianapolis, Ind.
** How to Make a Child's Rolling Toy 
Secure a tin can, or a pasteboard box, about 2 in. in diameter and
2 in. or more in height. Punch two holes A, Fig. 1, in the cover
and the bottom, 1/4 in. from the center and opposite each other.
Then cut a curved line from one hole to the other, as shown at B.
A piece of lead, which can be procured from a plumber, is cut in
the shape shown in Fig. 2, the size being 1 by 1-1/8 by 1-1/4 in.
An ordinary rubber band is secured around the neck of the piece of
[Illustration: Rolling Can Toy]
lead, as shown in Fig. 3, allowing the two ends to be free. The
pieces of tin between the holes A, Fig. 1, on both top and bottom,
are turned up as in Fig. 4, and the ends of the bands looped over
them. The flaps are then turned down on the band and the can parts
put together as in Fig. 5. The can may be decorated with brilliant
colored stripes, made of paper strips pasted on the tin. When the
can is rolled away from you, it winds up the rubber band, thus
storing the propelling power which makes it return. --Contributed
by Mack Wilson, Columbus, O.
** How to Make a Portfolio 
Secure a piece of Russian modeling calf leather of a size equal to
12 by 16 in. Make a paper pattern of the size indicated in the
accompanying drawing, putting in the design.
The necessary tools consist of a stick with a straight edge and a
tool with an end shaped like that of a nutpick. A nutpick with a
V-shaped point will do if the sharpness is smoothed off by means
of a piece of emery paper, so that it will indent without cutting
the leather. These tools can be bought for this special purpose,
but are not essential for this piece if the nutpick is at hand.
[Illustration: Portfolio Design]
will also be needed a level, non-absorbent surface upon which to
lay the leather while working it. A piece of thick glass, metal,
or marble will serve.
Begin work by moistening the leather on the back side with a
sponge or cloth. Moisten as much as you dare and still not have
the moisture show on the face side. Next place the leather on the
glass, face up, and, holding the pattern firmly in place so that
it will not slip--if possible get some one to hold the pattern for
you--place the straight edge on the straight lines and mark out or
indent. After this has been done, mark over the design. A pencil
may be used the first time over.
The pattern is now to be removed and all the lines gone over with
the tool to make them deep and uniform.
The surplus stock around the edges may not be cut off. A neat way
to finish the edges is to punch a series of holes entirely around
through which a thin leather thong may be laced. If it is desired
to "line" the inside, this should be done before the holes are
punched or the lacing done.
** Gear for Model Work 
When a gear is needed to drive a small pinion and there is none of
the right size at hand, one can be made in the following manner:
Turn up a wood disk to the proper diameter and 1/4 in. thicker
than the pinion, and cut a flat bottom groove 3/16 in. deep in its
face. The edges should be about 1/8 in. or more thick on each
side. Measure the distance between centers of two adjacent teeth
in the pinion and step this off around the periphery in the bottom
of the groove. Drill holes into the wood on each point stepped off
and insert steel pins made of wire, allowing
[Illustration: Steel Pins in Wood]
the end of each to protrude just far enough to act as a tooth. In
this way a good gear for light work can be quickly and cheaply
--Contributed by Henry Schaefer, New York City.
** A Home-Made Vise 
While making a box I had some dovetailing to do, and as there was
[Illustration: Vise on Bench]
vise on the bench I rigged up a substitute. I secured a board 3/4
in. thick, 3 in. wide and 20 in. long and bored a 1/2-in. hole
through it, 1 in. from each end. The board was then attached to
the bench with two screws passing through washers and the two
holes in the . board into the bench top. The screws should be of a
length suitable to take in the piece to be worked. --Contributed
by A. M. Rice, Syracuse, New York.
** Cardboard Spiral Turned by Heat 
A novel attraction for a window display can be made from a piece
of stiff cardboard cut in a spiral as shown in Fig. 1. The
cardboard should be about 7 or 8 in. in diameter. Tie a piece of
string to the center point of the spiral
[Illustration: Spiral Cut from Cardboard]
and fasten it so as to hang over a gas jet, Fig. 2. A small swivel
must be put in the string at the top or near the cardboard, if it
is desired to have the spiral run for any length of time. The
cardboard will spin around rapidly and present quite an
--Contributed by Harry Szerlip, Brooklyn, N. Y.
** A Workbench for the Amateur 
The accompanying detail drawing shows a design of a portable
workbench suitable for the amateur woodworker. This bench can be
made easily by anyone who has a few sharp tools and a little spare
time. If the stock is purchased from the mill ready planed and cut
to length, much of the hard labor will be saved. Birch or maple
wood makes a very good bench. and the following pieces should be
4 legs, 3 by 3 by 36.
2 side rails, 3 by 3 by 62-1/2 in.
2 end rails, 3 by 3 by 20 in.
1 back board, 1 by 9 by 80 in.
1 top board, 2 by 12 by 77 in.
1 top board, 1 by 12 by 77 in.
2 crosspieces, 1-1/2 by 3 by 24 in.
1 piece for clamp, 1-1/2 by 6-1/2 by 12 in.
1 piece for clamp, 1-1/2 by 6-1/2 by 14 in.
4 guides, 2 by 2 by 18 in.
1 screw block, 3 by 3 by 6 in.
1 piece, 1-1/2 by 4-1/2 by 10-1/2 in.
Make the lower frame first. Cut tenons on the rails and mortise
the posts, then fasten them securely together with 3/8 by 5-in.
lag screws as shown. Also fasten the 1-1/2 by 3 by 24-in. pieces
to the tops of the posts with screws. The heads should be
countersunk or else holes bored in the top boards to fit over
them. Fasten the front top board to the crosspieces by lag screws
through from the under side. The screws can be put in from the top
for the 1-in. thick top board.
Fasten the end pieces on with screws, countersinking the heads of
the vise end. Cut the 2-in. square holes in the 1-1/2 by 4-1/2 by
10-in. pieces for the vise slides, and fit it in place for the
side vise. Also cut square holes in the one end piece for the end
vise slides as shown. Now fit up the two clamps. Fasten the slides
to the front pieces with screws. Countersink the heads of the
screws so they will not be in the way of the hands when the vise
is used. The two clamp screws should be about 1-1/2 in. in
diameter. They can be purchased at a hardware store. A block
should be fitted under the crosspiece to hold the nut for the end
[Illustration: Detail of the Bench]
you have the slides fitted, put them in place and bore the holes
for the clamp screws.
The back board can now be fastened to the back with screws as
shown in the top view. The bench is now complete, except for a
couple of coats of oil which should be applied to give it a finish
and preserve the wood. The amateur workman, as well as the pattern
maker, will find this a very handy and serviceable bench for his
As the amateur workman does not always know just what tools he
will need, a list is given which will answer for a general class
of work. This list can be added to as the workman becomes more
proficient in his line and has need for other tools. Only the long
run. If each tool is kept in a certain place, it can be easily
found when wanted.
1 bench plane or jointer;
1 jack plane or smoother;
1 cross cut saw, 24 in.;
1 rip saw, 24 in.;
1 claw hammer;
1 set gimlets;
1 brace and set of bits;
2 screwdrivers, 3 and 6 in.;
1 compass saw;
1 set chisels;
1 wood scraper;
1 monkey wrench;
1 2-ft. rule;
1 marking gauge;
1 pair pliers;
1 nail set;
1 pair dividers;
1 pocket level;
1 6-in. try square;
No.1, 2 and 00 sandpaper.
[Illustration: Workbench Complete]
** Repairing a Worn Knife Blade 
When the blade of a favorite pocket knife, after constant use,
becomes like A, Fig. 1, it is more dangerous than
[Illustration: The Blade Is Cut Down]
useful. To cut down the already worn blade would leave only a
stump, but if the blade is fastened in a vise and the point B
filed off until it is like C, Fig. 2, the projecting point A, Fig.
1, will sink into the handle as shown at D, Fig. 3, and the knife
will be given a new lease of usefulness. -
--Contributed by James M. Kane, Doylestown, Pa.
** How to Make a Leather Spectacle Case 
The spectacle case shown in the accompanying illustration may be
made of either calf or cow skin. The calf skin, being softer, will
be easier to work, but will not make as rigid a case as the cow
skin. If calf skin is to be used, secure a piece of modeling calf.
The extreme width of the case is 2-3/8 in. and the length 6-5/8
in. Two pieces will be required of this size. Put on the design
before the two parts are sewed together. First draw the design on
paper, then prepare the leather. Place the leather on a small
non-absorbent surface, such as copper or brass, and moisten the
back side with as much water as it will take and still not show on
the face side. Turn the leather, lay the design on the face, and
hold it in place while both the outline and decoration are traced
on the surface with a pencil or some tool that will make a sharp
line without tearing the paper.
After the outlines are traced, go over the indentations a second
time so as to make them sharp and distinct. There are special
modeling tools that can be purchased for this purpose, but a
V-shaped nut pick, if smoothed with emery paper so that it will
not cut the leather, will do just as well.
Take a stippling tool--if no such tool is at hand, a cup-pointed
nail set will do--and stamp the background. It is intended that
the full design shall be placed on the back and the same design
placed on the front as far as the material will allow. Be careful
in stamping not to pound so hard as to cut the leather. A little
rubbing on the point with emery will take off the sharpness always
found on a new tool.
Having prepared the two sides, they may be placed together and
sewed around the edges.
If cow hide is preferred, the same
[Illustration: Two Designs of Cases]
method of treatment is used, but a form will need to be made and
placed inside the case while the leather is drying to give it the
right shape. The form can be made of a stick of wood.
** Waterproofing a Wall 
The best way to make a tinted wall waterproof is to first use a
material composed of cement properly tinted and with no glue in
it--one that will not require a glue size on the wall. After this
coating of cement is applied directly to the plaster, cover it
completely with water enamel and, when dry, give the surface a
thorough coating of varnish. This will make a perfectly impervious
covering, which steam, water or heat will not affect.
--Contributed by Julia A. White, New York City.
**Polishing Flat Surfaces 
The work of finishing a number of brass castings with flat sides
was accomplished on an ordinary polishing wheel, from which the
first few layers of cloth were removed and replaced with emery
cloth. The emery surface of the cloth was placed outward and
trimmed to the same diameter as the wheel. This made a sanding and
polishing wheel in one.
--Contributed by Chester L. Cobb, Portland, Maine.
** Rubber Tip for Chair Legs 
[Illustration: Rubber Tips]
An inexpensive method of preventing a chair from scratching the
floor is to bore a hole of the proper size in the bottom end of
each chair leg and then procure four rubber stoppers of uniform
size and press them into place.
This cushion of rubber eliminates vibrations, and they will not
slip nor mar the finest surface upon which they rest.
--Contributed by W. A. Jaquythe, Richmond, Cal.
** Adjusting a Plumb-Bob Line 
[Illustration: Line Adjustment]
When plumbing a piece of work, if there is no help at hand to hold
the overhead line, it is common practice to fasten the plumb line
to a nail or other suitable projection. On coming down to the
lower floor it is often found that the bob has been secured either
too high or too low. When fastening the line give it plenty of
slack and when the lower floor is reached make a double loop in
the line, as shown in the sketch. Tightening up on the parts AA
will bind the loop bight B, and an adjustable friction-held loop,
C, will be had for adjusting the bob accurately either up or down.
--Contributed by Chas. Herrman, New York City.
** Drier for Footwear 
A drier for footwear can be readily made by a tinner, or anyone
that can shape tin and solder. The drier consists of a pipe of
sufficient length to enter the longest boot leg. Its top is bent
at right angles and the other end is riveted to a base, an
inverted stewpan, for instance, in whose bottom a few perforations
have been made to let air in. The boot or stocking to be dried is
placed over the pipe and the whole set on a heated surface. The
heat will cause a rapid circulation of air which will dry the
--Contributed by Wm. Roberts, Cambridge, Mass.
[Illustration: Show Drier]
** Repairing A Roller Shade 
A very satisfactory repair can be made by using a good
photographic paste to fasten a torn window shade to its roller.
** A Shot Scoop 
In the ammunition department of our hardware store the shot was
kept in regular square bins and dished out
[Illustration: A Small Square Scoop Made of Tin for Dipping Up
Shot Stored in a Square Bin]
with a round-bottom scoop. This was very difficult, especially
when the bottom of the bin was nearly reached, as the round scoop
would roll over them and only pick up a few at a time. To overcome
this difficulty I constructed a square-shaped scoop that gave
entire satisfaction. The scoop can be used for other purposes as
A thick piece of tin, 6-1/4 by 9-3/4 in., was marked out as shown,
the pattern being cut on the full lines and bent on the dotted
ones. The strip for the handle was riveted to the end of the
--Contributed by Geo. B. Wright, Middletown, Conn.
** Removing Grease Stains from the Leaves of a Book 
Happening to get a grease spot on a page of a valuable book, I
found a way to remove it without injury to the paper, which has
been tried out several times with success.
Heat an iron and hold it as near as possible to the stain without
discoloring the paper, and the grease will disappear. If any
traces of the grease are left, apply powdered calcined magnesia.
Bone, well calcined and powdered, and plaster of Paris are also
excellent absorbents of grease.
A beautifully bound book, and quite new, had oil from a lamp
spilled over it. There was no quicklime to be had, so some bones
were quickly calcined, pulverized and applied. The next morning
there was no trace of oil, but only an odor which soon vanished.
--Contributed by Paul Keller, Indianapolis, Ind.
** Tightening Cane in Furniture 
Split cane, used as part of furniture, such as chair seats, often
becomes loose and the threads of cane pull out. This can be
prevented by sponging with hot water, or by applying steaming
cloths to the cane. This process also tightens the shreds of cane
and does not injure ordinary furniture. If the article is highly
polished, care should be taken to prevent the hot water from
coming in contact with anything but the cane.
** Cleaner for a Stovepipe 
A long horizontal pipe for a stove soon fills with soot and must
be cleaned. The usual method is to beat the pipe after taking it
down to be cleaned, but a much better device for the purpose is
shown in the sketch.
A scrub brush is procured and cut in two, the parts being hinged
to a crosspiece fastened to a long broom handle. The brushes are
[Illustration: Stovepipe Brush]
against the inside surfaces of the pipe with a wire and spring, as
--Contributed by C. L. Herbert, Chicago, Illinois.
** Mounting Photo Prints on Glass 
Photograph prints can be mounted on glass with an adhesive made by
soaking 1 oz. of sheet gelatine in cold water to saturation, then
dissolving in 3-1/2 oz. of boiling water. Let the solution cool to
about 110 deg. F., then immerse the print in it and squeegee, face
down, on a clear piece of glass. When dry, take a damp cloth or
soft sponge and wipe off any surplus gelatine on the glass.
** Dropping Coins in a Glass Full of Water 
Take a glass and fill it to the brim with water, taking care that
the surface of the water is raised a little above the edge of the
glass, but not running over. Place a number of nickels or dimes on
the table near the glass and ask your spectators how many coins
can be put into the water without making it overflow. No doubt the
reply will be that the water will run over before two coins are
dropped in. But it is possible to put in ten or twelve of them.
With a great deal of care the coins may be made to fall without
disturbing the water, the surface of which will become more and
more convex before the water overflows.
[Illustration: Dropping Coins]
** Hollow-Grinding Ice Skates 
The accompanying sketch illustrates a practical method of clamping
ice skates to hold them for grinding the small arc of a circle so
The U-shaped clamps are made of 3/4-in. soft steel with the
opening 6 in. deep and 5 in. high and are bolted to a block of
wood, 2 in. thick, 6 in. wide and 12 in. long. The skate runner is
adjusted to the proper height by 1/2-in.. set and thumbscrews. The
[Illustration: Skate Runner Fastened in Clamp]
of wood holding the clamp and skate can be pushed along on the
emery-wheel table in front of the revolving wheel.
If properly adjusted, a slight concave or hollow can be made full
length of the runner, true and uniform which will hold on the ice
sideways and not retard the forward movement.
--Contributed by Geo. A. Howe, Tarrytown, New York.
** How to Make a Bicycle Coasting Sled 
The accompanying drawing and sketch illustrate a new type of
coasting sled built on the bicycle principle. This coaster is
simple and easy to make, says Scientific American. It is
constructed of a good quality of pine. The pieces marked S are
single, and should be about 1 by 1-1/2 in.; the pieces
[Illustration: Has the Lines of a Bicycle]
marked D are double or in duplicate, and should be 1/2 by 1-1/2
The runners are shod with iron and are pivoted to the uprights as
shown, double pieces being secured to the uprights to make a fork.
The seat is a board, to the underside of which is a block, which
drops down between the two top slats and is secured with a pin. A
footrest is provided consisting of a short crosspiece secured to
the front of the frame and resting on the two lower slats. The
frame and front fork are hinged together with four short eyebolts,
E, with a short bolt through each pair as shown.
** Spelling Names with Photo Letters 
There are, no doubt, many amateur photographers who make only
occasional trips afield or through the more traveled thoroughfares
with their cameras during the winter months. Each one is generally
interested in working up the negatives that he or she made during
the summer or on that last vacation into souvenir post cards,
albums and the like, for sending to friends. Illustrated herewith
is something different from the album or photographic calendar.
The letters forming part of the word POPULAR are good examples of
The masks which outline the letters are cut from the black paper
in which plates come packed. Their size depends on the plate used.
A sharp knife, a smooth board and a straightedge are all the tools
needed, says Camera Craft. If the letters are all cut the same
height, they will look remarkably uniform, even if one is not
skilled in the work of forming them all in accordance with the
rules. Be sure to have the prints a little larger than the letters
to insure a sufficient margin in trimming, so as to have a white
margin around the finished letters. The best method is to use a
good pair of scissors or a sharp knife.
Many combinations can be made of these letter pictures to spell
out the recipient's name or the season's greeting. During the
holidays the letters may be made from winter scenes to spell "A
Merry Christmas" or "A Happy New Year." An Easter greeting may
have more spring-like subjects and a birthday remembrance a
fitting month. The prints are no more difficult to make than the
ordinary kind. In cutting out an 0, for example, do not forget to
cut out a piece to correspond to the center. This piece can be
[Illustration: Letters Made from photographs]
placed on the printing paper after the outline mask has been laid
down, using care to get it in the right position, and closing the
frame carefully so that the small piece will not be disturbed. The
letters should be of the kind to give as large an area of surface
to have as much of the picture show as possible. What the printer
calls black face letters are the most suitable.
By cutting the letters out of black paper in a solid form, and
using these as a mask for a second printing after printing the
full size of the negatives, these letter pictures can be made with
a black border. So made, they can be trimmed to a uniform black
line all around; and, mounted on a white card and photographed
down to post card size, the greeting so spelled out makes a most
unique souvenir. Another application of the letters in copying is
to paste them on a white card as before, trim the card even with
the bottoms of the letters, stand the strip of card on a mirror
laid flat on a table, and then photograph both the letters and
their reflections so as to nicely fill a post card. Still another
suggestion is to cut out the letters, after, pasting the prints on
some thin card, and then arrange them in the desired order to
spell out the name or greeting, but with flowers interspersed and
forming a background, photographing them down to the desired size.
A third means of securing a novel effect by photographing down an
arrangement of the letters is to have them cut out in stiff form
as in the last method; mount them on short pieces of corks, in
turn fastened to a white card forming the background. So arranged,
the letters will stand out from the card about 1/2 in. If they are
now placed in a light falling from the side and slightly in front,
each letter will cast a shadow upon the background, and in the
finished print the letters will look as if suspended in the air in
front of the surface of the card.
** Holding a Loose Screw 
A piece of sheet lead put on each side of a screw will fill up and
hold the threads in a too large hole.
A Checker Board Puzzle 
Place eight checker men upon the checker board as shown in the
first row in the sketch. The puzzle is to get
[Illustration: Placing the Checkers]
them in four piles of two men each without omitting to jump over
two checker men every time a move is made.
The first move is to jump 5 over 4 and 3 on 2 which is shown in
the second row, then jump 3 over 4 and 6 on 7 and the positions
will appear as shown in the third row; jump 1 over 2 and 5 on 4 to
get the men placed like the fourth row and the last move is to
jump 8 over 3 and 7 on 6 which will make the four piles of two men
each as shown in the fifth row.
--Contributed by I. G. Bayley, Cape May Point, N.J.
** A Home-Made Rabbit Trap 
[Illustration: Rabbit in the Trap]
A good serviceable rabbit trap can be made by sinking a common dry
goods box in the ground to within 6 in. of its top. A hole 6 or 7
in. square is cut in each end level with the earth's surface and
boxes 18 in. long that will just fit are set in, hung on pivots,
with the longest end outside, so they will lie horizontal. A
rabbit may now look through the two tubes, says the American
Thresherman. The bait is hung on a string from the top of the
large box so that it may be seen and smelled from the outside. The
rabbit naturally goes into the holes and in this trap there is
nothing to awaken his suspicion. He smells the bait, squeezes
along past the center of the tube, when it tilts down and the game
is shot into the pit, the tube righting itself at once for another
catch. The top and sides of the large box may be covered with
leaves, snow or anything to hide it. A door placed in the top will
enable the trapper to take out the animals. By placing a little
hay or other food in the bottom of the box the trap need not be
visited oftener than once a week.
** Old-Time Magic - Changing a Button into a Coin 
Place a button in the palm of the left hand, then place a coin
between the second and third fingers of the right hand. Keep the
right hand faced down and the left hand faced up, so as to conceal
the coin and expose the button. With a quick motion bring the left
hand under the right, stop quick and
[Illustration: Making the Change]
the button will go up the right-hand coat sleeve. Press the hands
together, allowing the coin to drop into the left hand, then
expose again, or rub the hands a little before doing so, saying
that you are rubbing a button into a coin.
--Contributed by L. E. Parker, Pocatello, Idaho.
** Buttonhole Trick 
This trick is performed with a small stick having a loop attached
that is too small for the stick to pass through. Spread out the
string and place it each side of the buttonhole, then draw the
cloth around the hole through the string until it is far enough to
pass the stick through the hole. Pull back the cloth and you have
the string looped in
[Illustration: Buttonhole Trick]
the hole with a hitch the same as if the stick had been passed
through the string.
The stick may be removed by pulling up the loop as if you were
passing the stick through it, putting the stick in the hole and
leaving the string on the outside, then spread the string, pulling
up the cloth and passing the stick through the hole as before.
--Contributed by Charles Graham, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
** How to Remove Paper from Stamps 
Old stamps as they are purchased usually have a part of the
envelope from which they are taken sticking to them and in
removing this paper many valuable stamps are torn or ruined. Place
all the stamps that are stuck to pieces of envelopes in hot water
and in a short time they can be separated without injury. Dry the
stamps between two white blotters. Stamps removed in this way will
have a much better appearance when placed in an album.
--Contributed by L. Szerlip, Brooklyn, N. Y.
** Imitation Arms and Armor PART I 
Genuine antique swords and armor, as used by the knights and
soldiers in the days of old, are very expensive and at the present
time practically impossible to obtain. The accompanying
illustration shows four designs of swords that anyone can make,
and if carefully made, they will look very much like the genuine
The drawings are so plain that the amateur armorer should have
very little difficulty, if any, in building up his work from the
illustrations, whether he requires a single sword only, or a
complete suit of armor, full size.
The pieces. or designs in this article are from authentic sources,
says the English Mechanic, so that where names are given the
amateur can so label them, and will thereby greatly add to their
interest and value.
An executioners' sword of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig.
1. The blade should be about 27 in. long with a handle of
sufficient length to be grasped by both hands. The width of the
blade near the handle is about 2-1/2 in., tapering down to 1-1/2
in. near the point end. Several ridges are cut around the handle
to permit a firm grip. The cross guard is flat and about 1 in. in
Mark out the shape and size of the blade on a piece of wood 1/8
in. thick, using a straightedge and a pencil, and allowing a few
inches more in length on which to fasten the handle. Cut out the
wood with a scroll saw or a keyhole saw, trim the edges down thin
and smooth both surfaces with fine sandpaper. The end for the
handle is cut about 1 in. wide and 2 in. long. The cross guard is
cut out and a hole made in the center through which to pass the
handle end of the blade. The handle is next made, and if the
amateur does not possess a lathe on which to turn the shape of the
handle, the ridges around the wood may be imitated by gluing and
tacking on pieces of small rope. The handle is then mortised to
receive the 1 by 2-in. end of the blade. The cross guard is now
glued and placed
[Illustration: Swords; Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4]
on the blade, then the hole in the handle is well glued with glue
that is not too thick and quite hot. The blade with the cross
guard is inserted in the handle and allowed to set. When the glue
is thoroughly dry, remove the surplus with a sharp knife and paint
the handle with brown, dark red, or green oil paint. The blade is
covered with tinfoil to give it the appearance of steel. Secure
some pieces of tinfoil and cut one strip 1/2 in. wider than the
blade and the other 1/4 in. narrower. Quickly paint the blade well
with thin glue on one side., then lay evenly and press on the
narrow strip of tinfoil. Glue the other side of the blade, put on
the wider strip of tinfoil and glue the overlapping edge and press
it around and on the surface of the narrow strip. The cross guard
must be covered with tinfoil in the same manner as the blade. When
the whole is quite dry, wipe the blade with light strokes up and
down several times, using a soft and dry piece of cloth. The sword
is then ready to hang in its chosen place as a decoration, not for
use only in cases of tableaux, for which this article will be
especially useful to those who are arranging living pictures
wherein swords and armor are part of the paraphernalia.
A Chinese scimitar is shown in Fig. 2. The handle of this sword is
oval and covered with plaited cord. In making this scimitar,
follow the directions as for Fig. 1, except that the handle has to
be covered with a round black cord. If it is found difficult to
plait the cord on the handle as in the illustration, wind it
around in a continuous line closely together, and finish by
fastening with a little glue and a small tack driven through the
cord into the handle. The pommel is a circular piece of wood, 1/8
in. thick and 5 in. in diameter. The length of the handle,
allowing for a good hold with both hands, should be about 9 in.,
the length of the blade 28 in., the width near the pommel 1-1/2
in. and 3 in. in the widest part at the lower end. The sharp or
cutting edge is only on the short side, the other is flat or
A Turkish sabre of ancient manufacture from Constantinople is
shown in Fig. 3. The handle is painted a dull creamy white in
imitation of ivory. The enamel paint sold in small tins will
answer well for this purpose. The cross guard and blade are
covered as described in Fig. 1. The sharp edge is on the longer
curved side, the other is flat or half-round.
A two-handed sword used in the 14th and 15th centuries is shown in
Fig. 4. This sword is about 68 in. long, has a cross guard and
blade of steel with a round wood handle painted black. The ball or
pommel on top of the handle is steel. Both edges of the blade are
sharp. This sword is made in wood the same as described for Fig.
** A Dovetail Joint Puzzle 
A simple but very ingenious example in joinery is illustrated. In
the finished piece, Fig. 1, the dovetail appears on each side of
the square stick of
[Illustration: How the Joint Is Cut]
wood, the illustration, of course, shows only two sides, the other
two are identical. The joint is separable and each part is solid
and of one piece. In making, take two pieces of wood, preferably
of contrasting colors, such as cherry and walnut or mahogany and
boxwood, about 1-1/2 in. square and of any length desired. Cut the
dovetail on one end of each stick as shown in Fig. 2, drive
together and then plane off the triangular corners marked A. The
end of each piece after the dovetails are cut appear as shown in
Fig. 3, the lines marking the path of the dovetail through the
** Radiator Water 
Pure rain water is the best to use in a cooling system of an
automobile engine, as it is free from the mineral substances which
are deposited in the radiator, piping and jackets by hard water.
** Springboard for Swimmers 
A good springboard adds much to the fun of swimming. The boards
are generally made so that the plank will bend, being dressed down
thin at one end and fastened. The thinness of the plank, or an
insecure fastening, causes many a plank to snap in two or come
loose from its fastenings in a short time.
The accompanying sketch shows the method of constructing a
springboard that does not depend upon the bending of the wood for
its spring. It is made of a plank, 2 in. thick and from 14 to 16
ft. long, one end of which is secured with a hinge arrangement
having a U-shaped rod whose ends are held with nuts. On each edge
of the board, at the lower end, are fastened two pieces of strap
iron, each about 1 ft. long and with the lower ends drilled to fit
the horizontal of the U-shaped rod.
Secure a pair of light buggy springs from a discarded rig and
attach them to the ends of a square bar of iron having a length
equal to the width of the plank. Fasten this to the plank with
bolts, as shown in the sketch. Should the springs be too high they
can be moved forward.
--Contributed by John Blake, Franklin, Mass.
[Illustration: Buggy Springs Used beneath the Board]
** Taking Button from a Child's Nostril 
A three-year-old child snuffed a button up its nostril and the
mother, in an attempt to remove it, had caused the button to be
pushed farther up the channel. Doctors probed for the button
without success. The distracted mother happened to think of snuff,
and, as there was some at hand, took a pinch of snuff between the
thumb and forefinger and held it close to the child's nose. The
violent sneezing caused the button to be blown out. Such an
accident may come under the observation of any parent, and if so,
this method can be used to relieve the child when medical
assistance is not at hand.
--Contributed by Katharine D. Morse, Syracuse, N. Y.
** Brass Frame in Repousse 
Punches can be purchased, as can the pitch bed or block. Both can
be made easily, however. Several punches of different sizes and
shapes will be needed. A piece of mild steel, about 3/8 in.
square, can be easily worked into tools shaped as desired. A cold
chisel will be needed to cut the metal to length; a file to reduce
the ends to shape, and a piece of emery paper to smooth and polish
the end of the tool so that it will not scar the metal.
A small metal box must be secured to hold the pitch. The
illustration shows an iron receptacle. The pitch is prepared by
heating the following materials in these proportions: pitch, 5
lb.; plaster of Paris, 5 lb.; tallow, 1/2
[Illustration: Design for the Frame]
lb. To put it in another way, use pitch and plaster in equal parts
with 1/10 part tallow. See that the pitch and plaster are dry so
that the moisture will not cause the pitch to boil over. Keep
stirring the mass so that it never boils. Melt the pitch first and
add the plaster by degrees.
For a piece of repousse such as the frame shown, secure a piece of
brass of about No. 18 gauge. With carbon paper trace the design on
the brass. Place the metal on the pitch bed and work over the
outline of the design. Use the chisel-edged tool and try to make
the lines continuous. When this has been done, heat the pitch
[Illustration: Working Out The Design]
and place the metal, design down, on the pitch, and with the
raising punches work up the shape as desired after the pitch has
hardened. When the desired form has been obtained, turn the metal
over and "touch up" any places improperly raised. The metal will
probably be warped somewhat. To remedy this, place a board on the
metal and pound until the metal assumes a flat shape again. Next
drill a hole in the center waste and saw out for the opening,
using a small metal saw. Trim up the edges and file them smooth.
Clean the metal thoroughly, using powdered pumice with lye. Cotton
batting fastened to the end of a stick will make a good brush.
Upon the cleansed metal put a lacquer to prevent tarnishing. Metal
clips may be soldered to the back to hold the picture in place and
also a metal strip to hold the frame upright. These should be
placed before the metal is lacquered.
** Finding the Horsepower of Small Motors 
A small motor often excites curiosity as to its true horsepower,
or fraction of a horsepower. Guesses in this direction vary
remarkably for the same motor or engine. It is comparatively easy
to determine the horsepower put out by almost any machine by the
following method which is intended for small battery motors and
small steam engines.
Before giving the description, it may be well to know what
horsepower means. Horsepower is the rate of work and a unit is
equal to 33,000 ft. lb. per minute, or 550 ft. lb. per second.
That is lifting 33,000 lb. 1 ft. in one minute or 550 lb. 1 ft. in
one second. This may be applied to the problem of finding the
horsepower of a motor by fastening a piece of twine about 25 ft.
long to the shaft of the engine or motor to be tested in such a
way that when the shaft revolves it will wind up the string
similar to a windlass. Place the motor in such a position that the
twine will hang freely without touching anything: out of a high
window will do. Fasten a weight to the other end of the line as
heavy as the motor or engine can lift and still run. It must weigh
enough to slow the power down a little, but not to stop it. Mark
the position of the weight and start the motor, at the same time
accurately measuring time in minutes and seconds it takes to lift
the weight from the lowest point to the highest. Next measure
accurately the distance in feet covered by the weight in its
ascent and obtain the correct weight in pounds of the weight.
Multiply the weight by the distance covered and divide the result
by the number of minutes or fraction of a minute obtained and
divide this last result by 33,000 and the quotient will be the
horsepower of the motor or engine.
Perhaps an illustration will make this solution much plainer.
Suppose the motor will lift a weight of 1 lb. and still revolve,
30 ft. in 10 seconds or 1/6 of a minute. Multiplying 1 by 30 we
get 30, which divided by 1/6 gives 180. This in turn divided by
33,000 equals in round numbers 1/200 part of a horsepower.
--Contributed by Harold H. Cutter.
** Illusion for Window Attraction 
Gold fish and canary birds, living together in what seems like one
receptacle, make an unusual show window attraction. Secure two
glass vessels having straight sides of the same height, one 18 in.
in diameter (Fig. 1) and the other 12 in. in diameter (Fig. 2).
The smaller is placed within the larger, the bottoms being covered
with moss and aquarium decorations which can be purchased at a
bird store. Fill the 3-in. space between the vessels with water.
Cut a piece of galvanized screen into circular form to cover the
larger vessel, and hang a bird swing, A, Fig. 3, in the center.
Place the screen on top of the vessels so that the swing will hang
in the center of the inner vessel. A weight--a box filled with
sand will do--should be placed on top of the screen, over the
smaller vessel, to keep it from floating. Moss should be put over
the top of the screen so that the two separate vessels can not be
[Illustration: 18 in. Diameter; 12 in. Diameter]
[Illustration: Birds and Fish Apparently Together]
Place the birds in the inner vessel and the fish in the water. The
effect is surprising. To complete the effect and aid the illusion
the vessels can be set in a box lined with black velvet, or on a
--Contributed by J. F. Campbell, Somerville, Mass.
** Cleaner for White Shoes 
Finely ground whiting mixed with water to the consistency of paste
makes a very good coating for white shoes. A brush can be used in
applying the mixture which will dry in a few minutes. It is best
to mix only as much paste as required for immediate use.
--Contributed . by L. Szerlip, Brooklyn, N. Y.
** Crossing Belt Laces 
Belt laces should never cross on the side next to the pulley as
they will cut themselves in two.
** How to Make a Candlestick Holder 
A candlestick of very simple construction and design can be made
as follows: Secure a piece of brass or
[Illustration: Candle Holder Complete]
copper of No. 23 gauge of a size sufficient to make the pieces
detailed in the accompanying sketch. A riveting hammer and a pair
of pliers will be needed, also a pair of tin shears and a piece of
metal upon which to rivet.
Cut out a piece of metal for the base to a size of 5-1/2 by 5-1/2
in. Trim the sharp corners off slightly. Draw a pencil line all
around the margin and 5/8 in. away from the edge. With the pliers
shape the sides as shown in the illustration.
Next lay out the holding cup according to the plan of development
shown, and cut out the shape with the shears. Polish both of these
pieces, using any of the common metal polishes. Rivet the cup to
the base, and then, with the pliers, shape the sides as shown in
the photograph. The manner of making and fastening the handle is
clearly illustrated. Use a file to smooth all the cut edges so
that they will not injure the hands.
In riveting, care should be taken to round up the heads of the
rivets nicely as a good mechanic would. Do not be content merely
to bend them over. This rounding is easily accomplished by
striking around the rivets' outer circumference, keeping the
A good lacquer should be applied after the parts have been
properly cleaned and polished, to keep the metal from tarnishing.
[Illustration: Details of Candle Holder]
** A Home-Made Duplicator 
The usual gelatine pad, which is the principal part of the average
hectograph or duplicator, is, as a rule, unsatisfactory, as it is
apt to sour and mold in the summer and freeze in the winter,
which, with other defects, often render it useless after a few
A compound that is almost indestructible is the preparation sold
at art stores as modeling clay. This clay is as easily worked as a
putty and is spread into the tray, which may be of wood or tin,
and the surface leveled by pounding with a mallet or hammer, then
by drawing a straightedge over it.
The surface of the pad is now saturated with pure glycerine. This
is poured upon the surface after it is slightly warmed, covering
the same and then laying a cloth over the pad and allowing it to
stand long enough for the clay to absorb the glycerine, after
which it is ready for use.
The original copy is written with a copying pencil or typewritten
through a hectograph ribbon. A sheet of newspaper is laid upon the
pad and a round stick or pencil is passed over it to make the
surface level and smooth. Remove the newspaper and place the
original copy face down on the leveled surface and smooth it out
in the same way so that every part touches the pad. Remove the
copy in about five minutes and place the clean sheets of paper one
after another on the surface and remove them. From 50 to 75 copies
of the original can be made in a short time.
This compound is impervious to water, so the negative print is
removed by simply washing with a damp sponge, the same as removing
writing from a slate. This makes it possible to place another
original on the pad immediately without waiting for the ink to
vanish by chemical action as in the original hectograph.
The action of the weather has no effect upon this compound and it
is proof against accident, for the tray may be dropped and the pad
dented or cut into pieces, and the clay can be pressed back and
leveled. The only caution is to keep it covered with a cloth
saturated in glycerine while not in use.
--Contributed by A. A. Houghton, Northville, Mich.
** Paper-Clip Bookmark 
The combination of a paper clip and a calling card makes a good
The clip and card can be kept together by piercing the card and
bending the ends of the wire to stick through the holes. The clip
is attached to a page as shown in the sketch.
--Contributed by Thos. DeLoof, Grand Rapids, Mich.
** Aerating Water in a Small Tank 
A simple way of producing air pressure sufficient to aerate water
is by the use of a siphon as shown in Fig. 1. The siphon is made
of glass tubes, the longer pieces being bent on one end as shown.
The air receiver and regulating device are attached to the top end
of the lower tube, as shown in Fig. 2. The receiver or air inlet
is the most important part. It is made of a glass tube, 3/4 in. in
diameter and 5 in. long. A hole is filed or blown through one side
of the glass for the admission of air. The ends of the smaller
[Illustration: FIG.1 FIG.2 Forcing Air Through Water]
tubes are passed through corks having a diameter to fit the ends
of this larger tube. The ends of these tubes should be so adjusted
that the continuous drops of water from the upper will fall into
the tube below. The succession of air bubbles thus imprisoned are
driven down the tube and into the tank below.
The regulator is placed in the tube or siphon above the air
receiver. Its purpose is to retard the flow of water from the
siphon above and make it drop rapidly. It consists of a rubber
connecting tube with two flat pieces of wood clamped over the
center and adjusted with screws. The apparatus is started by
clamping the rubber tube tightly and then exhausting the air in
the siphon tube, then placing the end in the upper reservoir and
releasing the clamp until the water begins to drop. If the
reservoir is kept filled from the tank, the device will work for
an indefinite time.
--Contributed by John T. Dunlop, Shettleston, Scotland.
** Imitation Arms and Armor-Part II 
Imitation swords, stilettos and battle-axes, put up as ornaments,
will look well if they are arranged on a shield which is hung high
up on a wall of a room or hall, says the English
[Illustration: FIG 1; FIG 2; FIG 3; Three Fifteenth Century
Mechanic, London. The following described arms are authentic
designs of the original articles. A German sword of the fifteenth
century is shown in Fig. 1. This sword is 4 ft. long with the
crossguard and blade of steel. The imitation sword is made of wood
and covered with tinfoil to produce the steel color. The shape of
the sword is marked out on a piece of wood that is about 1/8 in.
thick with the aid of a straightedge and pencil, allowing a little
extra length on which to fasten the handle. Cut the sword out with
a saw and make both edges thin like a knife blade and smooth up
with sandpaper. The extra length for the handle is cut about 1 in.
in width and 2 in. long. The handle is next carved and a mortise
cut in one end to receive the handle end of the blade. As the
handle is to represent copper, the ornamentations can be built up
of wire, string, small rope and round-headed nails, the whole
finally having a thin coat of glue worked over it with a stiff
bristle brush and finished with bronze paint.
The crossbar is flat and about 1 in. in width. Cut this out of a
piece of wood and make a center hole to fit over the extra length
on the blade, glue and put it in place. Fill the hole in the
handle with glue and put it on the blade. When the glue is
thoroughly dry, remove all the surplus with a sharp knife. Sheets
of tinfoil are secured for covering the blade. Cut two strips of
tinfoil, one about 1/2 in. wider than the blade and the other 1/4
in. narrower. Quickly cover one side of the blade with a thin coat
of glue and evenly lay on and press down the narrow strip of
tinfoil. Stick the wider strip on the other side in the same way,
allowing equal margin of tinfoil to overlap the edges of the
blade. Glue the overlapping edges and press them around on the
surface of the narrow strip. The crossguard must be covered in the
same manner as the blade. When the whole is quite dry, wipe the
blade up and down several times with light strokes using a soft
The sword shown in Fig. 2 is a two-handed Swiss sword about 4 ft.
in length, sharp on both edges with a handle of dark wood around
which is wound spirally a heavy piece of brass or copper wire and
held in place with round-headed brass nails. The blade and
crossbar are in imitation steel. The projecting ornament in the
center of the crossguard may be cut from heavy pasteboard and bent
into shape, then glued on the blade as shown.
In Fig. 3 is shown a claymore, or Scottish sword of the fifteenth
century. This sword is about 4 ft. long and has a wood handle
bound closely around with heavy cord. The crossbar and blade are
steel, with both edges sharp. A German poniard is shown in Fig. 4.
This weapon is about 1 ft. long, very broad, with wire or string'
bound handle, sharp edges on both sides. Another poniard of the
fourteenth century is shown in Fig. 5. This weapon is also about 1
ft. long with wood handle and steel embossed blade. A sixteenth
century German poniard is shown in Fig. 6. The blade and
ornamental crossbar is of steel, with both edges of the blade
sharp. The handle is of wood. A German stiletto, sometimes called
cuirass breakers, is shown in Fig. 7. This stiletto has a wood
handle, steel crossbar and blade of steel with both edges sharp.
In Fig. 8 is shown a short-handled flail, which is about 2-1/2 ft.
long with a dark handle of wood, studded with brass or steel
nails. A steel band is placed around the handle near the top. The
imitation of the steel band is made by gluing a piece of tinfoil
on a strip of cardboard and tacking it to the handle. A large
screw-eye is screwed into the top of the handle. The spiked ball
may be made of wood or clay. Cover the ball with some pieces of
linen, firmly glued on. When dry, paint it a dark brown or black.
A large screw-eye must be inserted in this ball, the same as used
on the end of the handle, and both eyes connected with a small
piece of rope twisted into shape. The rope is finished by covering
with tinfoil. Some short and heavy spike-headed nails are driven
into the ball to give it the appearance shown in the illustration.
A Russian knout is shown in Fig. 9. The lower half of the handle
is of wood, the upper part iron or steel, which can be imitated by
covering a piece of wood that is properly shaped with tinfoil. The
whole handle can be made of wood in one piece, the lower part
painted black and the upper part covered with tinfoil. A screw-eye
is screwed into the upper end. A length of real iron or steel
chain is used to connect the handle with the ball. The ball is
made as described in Fig. 8. The spikes in the ball are about 1
in. in length. These must be cut from pieces of wood, leaving a
small peg at the end and in the center about the size of a No. 20
spike. The pegs are glued and inserted into holes drilled into the
In Fig. 10 is shown a Sclavonic horseman's battle-axe which has a
handle of wood painted dark gray or light brown; the axe is of
steel. The blade is cut from a piece of 1/4-in. wood with a
keyhole saw. The round part is made thin and sharp on the edge.
The thick hammer side of the axe is built up to the necessary
thickness to cover
[Illustration: Ancient Weapons]
the handle by gluing on pieces of wood the same thickness as used
for the blade, and gradually shaping off to the middle of the axe
by the use of a chisel, finishing with sandpaper and covering with
tinfoil. Three large, round-headed brass or iron nails fixed into
the front side of the handle will complete the axe.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century horseman's battle-axes
shaped as shown in Fig. 11 were used. Both handle and axe are of
steel. This axe is made similar to the one described in Fig. 10.
When the woodwork is finished the handle and axe are covered with
** How to Make a Round Belt Without Ends 
A very good belt may be made by laying several strands of strong
cord, such as braided fishline, together as shown in Fig. 1 and
wrapping them as
[Illustration: Method of Forming the Belt]
shown in Fig. 2. When wrapped all the way around, the ends are
tied and cut off. This will make a very good flexible belt; will
pull where other belts slip, and as the tension members are all
protected from wear, will last until the wrapping member is worn
through without being weakened.
--Contributed by E. W. Davis, Chicago.
** Old-Time Magic - The Growing Flower 
This trick is performed with a wide-mouthed jar which is about 10
in. high. If an earthern jar of this kind is not at hand, use a
glass fruit jar and cover it with black cloth or paper, so the
contents cannot be seen.
[Illustration: Flower Grows Instantly]
Two pieces of wire are bent as shown in Fig. 1 and put together as
in Fig. 2. These wires are put in the jar, about one-third the way
down from the top, with the circle centrally located. The wires
can be held in place by carefully bending the ends, or using small
wedges of wood.
Cut a wire shorter in length than the height of the jar and tie a
rose or several flowers on one end. Put a cork in the bottom of
the jar and stick the opposite end of the wire from where the
flowers are tied through the circle of the two wires and into the
cork. The dotted lines in Fig. 3 show the position of the wires
To make the flowers grow in an instant, pour water into the jar at
one side of the wide mouth. The cork will float and carry the wire
with the flowers attached upward, causing the flowers to grow,
apparently, in a few seconds' time. Do not pour in too much water
to raise the flowers so far that the wire will be seen.
--Contributed by A. S. Macdonald, Oakland, Calif.
** Water and Wine Trick 
This is an interesting trick based on the chemical properties of
acids and alkalies. The materials needed are: One glass pitcher,
filled with water, four glass tumblers, an acid, an alkali and
some phenolphthalein solution which can be obtained from your
local druggist. Before the performance, add a few drops of the
phenolphthalein to the water in the pitcher and rub a small
quantity of the alkali solution on the sides of two of the
tumblers and repeat, only using as large a quantity of the acid as
will escape notice on the remaining tumblers. Set the tumblers so
you will know which is which and proceed as follows: Take hold of
a prepared tumbler with the left hand and pour from the pitcher,
held in the right hand, some of the liquid. The liquid turned into
the glass will become red like wine. Set this full tumbler aside
and take the pitcher in the left hand and pour some of the liquid
in one of the tumblers containing the acid as it is held in the
right hand. There will be no change in color. Repeat both parts in
the same order then begin to pour the liquids contained in the
tumblers back into the pitcher in the order reversed and the
excess of acid will neutralize the alkali and cause it to lose its
color and in the end the pitcher will contain a colorless liquid.
--Contributed by Kenneth Weeks, Bridgeton, N.J.
** Cheap Nails are Expensive 
The life of iron shingle nails is about 6 years. An iron nail
cannot be used again in putting on a new roof. Solid zinc nails
last forever and can be used as often as necessary. As zinc is
much lighter than iron, the cost of zinc nails is only about 2-1/2
times that of iron nails.
** Cutting Lantern Slide Masks 
It has long been a puzzle to me why round cornered masks are
almost invariably used for lantern slides, when most works of art
are included within rectangular spaces, says a correspondent of
Photo Era. Certainly the present commercial masks are in very poor
taste. The worker who wishes to make the most of every slide will
do well to cut his own masks, not only because of the fact just
mentioned, but also because he can suit the size of the opening to
the requirements of each slide. Slides can be works of art just as
much as prints; so that masking a slide becomes just as important
as trimming a print, and equally worthy of individual treatment.
It is folly to give each slide a mask opening of uniform size and
When many slides are to be masked, it becomes tedious work to
treat each one separately, unless some special device is used. The
accompanying drawing shows a way to mark masks which is simple,
practical and costs nothing. The drawing is exactly lantern slide
Lay the slide over such a guide and note the size of the opening
best suited to the picture. This will be determined by the
intersection of the ruled lines, which are numbered for
convenience in working. If the size wanted is No. 4 for width and
No. 2 for height, place the guide over a piece of black mask paper
and prick through the proper intersections with the point of a
pin. This outlines the desired
[Illustration: Form for Marking Out Rectangular Lantern Slide
opening, which may then be cut out easily with a knife and
The black paper from plate boxes and film rolls is excellent for
making masks. It should be cut up in pieces 3-1/4 by 4 in. and
kept ready for use at any time.
** Relieving the Weight of a Talking Machine Reproducer 
Too loud reproduction from a record, the scratching noise
sometimes heard and the forcing of the needle into a soft record,
because the extension arm and reproducer are too heavy, can be
remedied in the following manner: Attach a small ring to the under
side of the horn and use a rubber band to lift the extending arm
--Contributed by W. A. Jaquythe, Richmond, Cal.
** How to Make a Thermometer Back in Etched Copper 
Etching copper is not a very difficult process. Secure a sheet of
No. 16 gauge copper of the width and length
[Illustration: Copper Thermometer Holder]
wanted for the back of the thermometer. In the design shown the
extreme width is 3-1/2 in. and the extreme length 7 in.
Draw a design. The one shown is merely suggestive. The worker may
change the outline or proportions as desired. The decoration, too,
may be changed. The essential thing is to keep a space upon which
to place the thermometer. This design is in what is known as
two-part symmetry. A line is drawn down the paper and one-half of
the outline and decoration worked out. This done, the paper is
folded along the center line, a piece of carbon paper is inserted
between the folds and the design transferred on the inner surfaces
by tracing with a pencil over the half of the outline previously
drawn. Trace the design and outline upon the metal, using the
Cut out the outline with metal shears and file the edges smooth.
With a small brush and ordinary asphaltum or black varnish, paint
the design, the margin and the entire back of the metal. When this
coat has dried put on a second and then a third. The asphaltum is
to keep the acid into which the metal is to be immersed later from
eating any part of the metal but the background. Two coats or more
are needed to withstand the action of the acid.
The acid bath is composed of nitric acid and water, about half and
half, or, possibly, a little less acid than water, the mixture
being made by pouring the acid into the water, not the water into
the acid, which is dangerous. Keep this solution off the hands and
clothes, and do not inhale the fumes.
Put the asphalt-coated metal in the bath and allow it to remain
for four or five hours, depending upon the thickness of the metal
and the strength of the acid. With a stick, or a pair of old
tongs, take the metal out of the acid occasionally and examine it
to see how deep the acid has eaten it--1/32 in. is about right for
the No. 16 gauge.
When etched to the desired depth, remove the piece and with an old
knife' scrape off the asphaltum. Finish the cleaning by scrubbing
with turpentine and a brush having stiff bristles.
If the metal is first covered with turpentine and then heated over
a flame, all the colors of the rainbow will appear on its surface.
These colors fade away in the course of a long time, but they can
be easily revived. Another way to get these colors is to heat the
metal and then plunge it into the acid bath quickly.
A green finish is obtained by painting the background with an acid
stain composed as follows: 1 part ammonia muriate; 3 parts ammonia
carbonate; 24 parts water. If one coat does not give the depth of
color desired, repeat as many times as is necessary, allowing each
coat time to dry before applying the next.
To "fix" this color so that it will not rub off, and to keep the
metal from tarnishing, apply a coat of banana oil or lacquer.
Thermometers of suitable size can be bought in either brass or
nickel. They have holes through their top and bottom ends through
which metal paper fasteners can be inserted, and these in turn put
through holes punched in the copper back.
** To Make an Electric Piano 
Make or buy a table, about 3 ft. long and 1 ft. or more wide, and
about 2-1/2 ft. high. Nail a board, A, Fig. 1, about 8 in. wide
and of the same length as the table, to the table, as shown in the
illustration. Paint the table any color desired.
Purchase a dozen or so battery electric bells (they are cheaper if
bought by the dozen) and screw them to the board, as in Fig. 2.
Arrange the bells in the scale shown at B, Fig. 2. Bore two holes
near the posts of each bell for the wires to pass through.
Buttons for the bells may be purchased, but it is cheaper to make
them in the following way: Take a piece of
[Illustration: How the Electric Piano is Constructed]
wood and cut it round, about 2-1/2 in. in diameter and 1/4 in.
thick, Fig. 3, and bore two holes, C and D, through it. Then get
two posts, about 1 in. long, (battery posts will do) and put them
through the holes as in Fig. 4. Cut out a piece of tin, 3/8 in.
wide, punch a hole through it and put in under post E, so that
when it is pressed down, it will touch post F. It may be either
nailed or screwed down.
Make two holes in the table for each button and its wires, as at
H, Fig. 2. Nail or screw the buttons to the table, as shown in
Fig. 5, with the wires underneath. The connections are simple: I,
Fig. 5, is a wire running from one end of the table to the other
end, attached to a post at each end; J is another wire attached in
the same way; L is the carbon wire running from the batteries to
I; M is the zinc wire running from the batteries to wire J; 0
indicates the batteries; P is a wire running from J to one post of
a button; Q is another wire running from the other post of the
button to one of the posts of the bell; R is a wire running from I
to one post of the bell. When the button S is pressed, the bell
will ring. Each button should be connected with its bell in the
--Contributed by Vincent de Ybarrondo.
** Imitation Arms and Armor - PART III 
Maces and battle-axes patterned after and made in imitation of the
ancient weapons which were used from the
[Illustration: Ancient Weapons]
fourteenth to the sixteenth century produce fine ornaments for the
hall or den, says the English Mechanic. The imitation articles are
made of wood, the steel parts represented by tinfoil stuck on with
glue and the ornaments carved out with a carving tool.
An English mace used about the middle of the fifteenth century is
shown in Fig. 1. The entire length of this weapon is about 24 in.;
the handle is round with a four-sided sharp spike extending out
from the points of six triangular shaped wings. Cut the handle and
spike from one piece of wood and glue the wings on at equal
distances apart around the base of the spike. The two bands or
wings can be made by gluing two pieces of rope around the handle
and fastening it with tacks. These rings can be carved out, but
they are somewhat difficult to make. After the glue is dry, remove
all the surplus that has been pressed out from the joints with the
point of a sharp knife blade and then sandpaper the surface of the
wood to make it smooth. Secure some tinfoil to cover the parts in
imitation of steel. A thin coat of glue is quickly applied to the
surface of the wood and the tinfoil laid on evenly so there will
be no wrinkles and without making any more seams than is
necessary. The entire weapon, handle and all, is to appear as
An engraved iron mace of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 2.
This weapon is about 22 in. long, mounted with an eight-sided or
octagonal head. It will be easier to make this mace in three
pieces, the octagonal head in one piece and the handle in two
parts, so that the circular shield shown at the lower end of the
handle can be easily placed between the parts. The circular piece
or shield can be cut from a piece of wood about 1/4 in. thick. The
circle is marked out with a compass. A hole is made through the
center for the dowel of the two handle parts when they are put
together. A wood peg about 2 in. long serves as the dowel. A hole
is bored in the end of both handle pieces and these holes well
coated with glue, the wood peg inserted in one of them, the shield
put on in place and handle parts put together and left for the
glue to set. The head is fastened on the end of the handle with a
dowel in the same manner as putting the handle parts together.
The head must have a pattern sketched upon each side in pencil
marks, such as ornamental scrolls, leaves, flowers, etc. These
ornaments must be carved out to a depth of about 1/4 in. with a
sharp carving tool. If such a tool is not at hand, or the amateur
cannot use it well, an excellent substitute will be found in using
a sharp-pointed and red-hot poker, or pieces of heavy wire heated
to burn out the pattern to the desired depth. The handle also has
a scroll to be engraved. When the whole is finished and cleaned
[Illustration: Battle Axes of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth and
Up, it is covered with tinfoil in imitation of steel. The tinfoil
should be applied carefully, as before mentioned, and firmly
pressed into the engraved parts with the finger tips or thumb.
A French mace used in the sixteenth century is shown in Fig. 3.
This weapon is about 22 in. long and has a wood handle covered
with dark red cloth or velvet, the lower part to have a gold or
red silk cord wound around it, as shown, the whole handle finished
off with small brass-headed nails. The top has six ornamental
carved wings which are cut out, fastened on the handle and covered
with tinfoil, as described in Fig. 2.
Figure 4 shows a Morning Star which is about 26 in. long. The
spiked ball and the four-sided and sharp-pointed spike are of
steel. The ball may be made of clay or wood and covered with
tinfoil. The spikes are cut out of wood, sharp-pointed and
cone-shaped, the base having a brad to stick into the ball. The
wood spikes are also covered with tinfoil. The handle is of steel
imitation, covered in the middle with red cloth or velvet and
studded with large-headed steel nails.
A war hammer of the fifteenth century is shown in Fig. 5. Its
length is about 3 ft. The lower half of the handle is wood.
covered with red velvet, with a golden or yellow cord wound
spirally over the cloth. The upper half of the handle is steel,
also, the hammer and spike. The entire handle should be made of
one piece, then the hammer put on the base of the spike. The spike
made with a peg in its lower end and well glued, can be firmly
placed in position by the peg fitting in a hole made for its
reception in the top of the handle. Finish up the steel parts with
The following described weapons can be constructed of the same
materials and built up in the same way as described in the
foregoing articles: A horseman's short-handled battle-axe, used at
the end of the fifteenth century, is shown in Fig. 6. The handle
is of wood and the axe in imitation steel. Figure 7 shows an
English horseman's battle-axe used at the beginning of the reign
of Queen Elizabeth. The handle and axe both are to be shown in
steel. A German foot soldier's poleaxe used, at the end of the
fourteenth century is shown in Fig. 8. The handle is made of dark
wood and the axe covered with tinfoil. Figure 9 shows an English
foot soldier's jedburgh axe of the sixteenth century. The handle
is of wood, studded with large brass or steel nails. The axe is
shown in steel. All of these axes are about the same length.
** Playing Baseball with a Pocket Knife 
An interesting game of baseball can be played by two persons with
a common pocket knife on a rainy day or in
[Illustration: Positions of the Knife Indicate the Plays]
the winter time when the regular game cannot be played outdoors.
The knife is opened and loosely stuck into a board, as in Fig. 1,
and with a quick upward movement of the forefinger it is thrown
into the air to fall and land in one of the positions shown. The
plays are determined by the position of the knife after the fall.
A foul ball is indicated by Fig. 2, the knife resting on its back.
The small blade sticking in the board which holds the handle in an
upright position, as shown in Fig. 3, calls for a home run. Both
blades sticking in the board (Fig. 4), a three-base hit. A
two-base hit is made when the large blade sticks in the board,
Fig. 5. A one-base hit is secured when the large blade and the end
of the handle touch the board as in Fig. 6. The knife falling on
its side (Fig. 7) calls for one out. Each person plays until three
outs have been made, then the other plays, and so on for nine
--Contributed by Herbert Hahn, Chicago.
** How to Remove Paper Stuck to a Negative 
When making photographic prints from a negative, sometimes a drop
of moisture will cause the print to stick to the gelatine film on
the glass. Remove as much of the paper as can be readily torn off
and soak the negative in a fresh hypo bath of 3 or 4 oz. hypo to 1
pt. of water for an hour or two. Then a little gentle rubbing with
the finger-not the finger nail will remove anything adhering to
the film. It may be found that the negative is not colored. If it
is spotted at all, the negative must be washed for a few minutes
and placed in a combined toning and fixing bath, which will remove
the spots in a couple of hours. The negative must be well washed
after going through the solutions to take away any trace of hypo.
** Old-Time Magic - A Sack Trick 
The magician appears accompanied by his assistant. He has a sack
similar to a meal bag only on a large scale. The upper end of this
bag is shown in Fig. 1, with the rope laced in the cloth. He then
selects several people from the audience as a committee to examine
the sack to see that there is absolutely no deception whatever in
its makeup. When they are satisfied that the bag or sack is all
right, the magician places his assistant inside and drawing the
bag around him he allows the committee to tie him up with as many
knots as they choose to make, as shown in Fig. 2.
The bag with its occupant is placed in a small cabinet which the
committee surround to see that there is no outside help. The
magician then takes his watch and shows the audience that in less
than 30 seconds his assistant will emerge from the cabinet with
the sack in his hand. This he does, the sack is again examined and
found to be the same as when it was first seen.
[Illustration: Sack Trick-Holding the Rope Inside the Bag]
The solution is when the assistant enters the bag he pulls in
about 15 in. of the rope and holds it, as shown in Fig. 3, while
the committee is tying him up. As soon as he is in the cabinet he
merely lets out the slack thus making enough room for his body to
pass through. When he is out of the bag he quickly unties the
knots and then steps from his cabinet.
--Contributed by J. F. Campbell, Somerville, Mass.
** The Invisible Light 
The magician places two common wax candles on a table, one of them
burning brightly, the other without a light. Members of the
audience are allowed to inspect both the table and the candles.
The magician walks over to the burning candle, shades the light
for a few seconds, turns to the audience with his hands a few
inches apart, showing that there is nothing between them, at the
same time saying that he has a light between his hands, invisible
to them (the audience), with which he is going to light the other
candle. He then walks over to the other candle, and, in plain
sight of the audience lights the candle apparently with nothing.
In reality the magician has a very fine wire in his hand which he
is heating while he bends over the lighted candle, and the
audience gaze on and see nothing. He turns to the other candle and
touches a grain of phosphorus that has been previously concealed
in the wick with the heated wire, thus causing it to light.
--Contributed by C. Brown, New York City.
** Using the Sun's Light in a Magic Lantern 
The light furnished with a small magic lantern does very well for
evening exhibitions, but the lantern can be used in the daytime
with good results by directing sunlight through the lens instead
of using the oil lamp. A window facing the sun is selected and the
shade is drawn almost down, the remaining space being covered by a
piece of heavy paper. A small hole is
[Illustration: Magic Lantern]
cut in the paper and the lantern placed on a table in front of the
hole, the lamp having been removed and the back opened. The
lantern must be arranged so that the lens will be on a horizontal
line with the hole in the paper. A mirror is then placed just
outside of the window and at such an angle that the beam of light
is thrown through the hole in the paper and the lens of the
The shades of the remaining windows are then drawn and the lantern
is operated in the usual way.
--Contributed by L. B. Evans, Lebanon, Ky.
** A Handy Drill Gauge 
The accompanying sketch shows a simple drill gauge which will be
found very handy for amateurs. The gauge consists of a piece of
hard wood, 3/4 in. thick, with a width and length that will be
suitable for the size and number of drills you have on hand. Drill
a hole through the wood with each drill you have and place a screw
eye in one end to be used as a hanger. When you want to drill a
hole for a pipe, bolt,
[Illustration: Drill Gauge]
screw, etc., you take the gauge and find what size drill must be
used in drilling the hole.-Contributed by Andrew G. Thome,
** Stove Polish 
A good stove polish can be made by mixing together 1 lb. of
plumbago, 4 oz. of turpentine, 4 oz. of water and 1 oz. of sugar.
Mix well and apply with a cloth or brush.
A Home-Made Daniell Cell 
An effective Daniell galvanic cell may be constructed from
material costing very little money. A common tin tomato can with a
copper wire soldered to the top forms the jar and positive
electrode. A piece of discarded stove zinc rolled into an open
cylinder of about 1-1/2-in. diameter, 5 in. long, with a copper
wire soldered at one end forms the negative electrode.
To make the porous cell, roll a piece of heavy brown wrapping
paper, or blotting paper, into a tube of several thicknesses,
about 5 in. long with an internal diameter of 2 in. Tie the paper
firmly to prevent unrolling and close up one end with plaster of
paris 1/2 in. thick. It is well to slightly choke the tube to
better retain the plaster. The paper used must be unsized so that
the solution scan mingle through the pores.
Two liquids are necessary for the cell. Make a strong solution in
a glass or wooden vessel of blue vitriol in water. Dilute some oil
of vitriol (sulphuric acid) with about 12 times its measure of
water and keep in a bottle when not in use. In making up the
solution, add the acid to the water with constant stirring. Do not
add water to the acid.
The cell is charged by placing the zinc in the paper tube and both
placed into the tin can. Connect the two wires and pour the dilute
acid into the porous cell around the zinc, and then immediately
turn the blue vitriol solution into the can outside the paper cup.
A current generates at once and metallic copper begins to deposit
on the inside of the can. It is best to let the action continue
for a half hour or so before putting the cell into use.
[Illustration: Daniell Cell]
Several hours working will be required before the film of copper
becomes sufficiently thick to protect the tin from corrosion when
the cell stands idle. For this reason it will be necessary to pour
out the blue vitriol solution into another receptacle immediately
after through using, as otherwise the tin would be soon eaten full
of holes. The porous cup should always be emptied after using to
prevent the diffusion of the blue vitriol solution into the cup,
and the paper tube must be well rinsed before putting away to dry.
This makes one of the most satisfactory battery cells on account
of the constancy of its current, running for hours at a time
without materially losing strength, and the low cost of
maintenance makes it especially adapted for amateurs' use. Its
current strength is about one volt, but can be made up into any
required voltage in series. A battery of a dozen cells should cost
not to exceed 50 cts. for the material, which will give a strong,
steady current, amply sufficient for all ordinary experimental
A strong solution of common salt may be used in place of the oil
of vitriol in the porous cup, but is not so good.
--Contributed by C. H. Denniston, Pulteney. N. Y.
** A Home-Made Equatorial 
By Harry Clark
The ordinary equatorial is designed and built for the latitude of
the observatory where it is to be used. This is necessary since
the hour axis must point to the north pole of the heavens whose
elevation above the horizon is equal to the latitude of the
observer's station. The final adjustment of an ordinary equatorial
is very tedious so that when once set up it is not to be moved.
This calls for a suitable house to protect the instrument. It has
been the aim of the writer to build a very simple instrument for
amateur work which would be adjustable to any latitude, so easily
set up ready for work and so portable that it need not be left out
of doors from one evening until the next.
[Illustration: Instrument for Locating Stars]
The instrument is mounted on a tripod or piece of iron pipe
carrying a short vertical rod of 3/8-in. steel. A rectangular
wooden frame with suitable bearings rotates about this shaft. The
frame has also two horizontal bearings carrying a short shaft to
the end of which the frame carrying the hour axis is firmly
clamped. By this arrangement of two perpendicular shafts the hour
axis may be directed to any point in the heavens without care as
to how the tripod or pipe is set up.
The frame for the hour axis is about 12 in. long with a bearing at
each end. The shaft which it carries is 1/4-in. steel, carrying
the hour circle at one end, and at the other the frame for the
declination axis which is similar to the other, but somewhat
lighter. The declination axis is also of 1/4-in. steel, carrying
at one end the declination circle and the pointer at the other.
The entire frame of the instrument is made of cherry and it will
save the builder much time if he will purchase cherry "furniture"
which is used by printers and can be obtained from any printers'
supply company. It is best quality wood free from imperfections in
straight strips one yard long and of a uniform width of about 5/8
in. As to thickness, any multiple of 12-point (about 1/8 in.) may
be obtained, thus saving much work in fitting up joints. Fifty
cents will buy enough wood for an entire instrument. All corners
are carefully mortised and braced with small brass angle-pieces.
The frame is held together by small brass machine screws. After
much experimentation with bearings, it was found best to make them
in halves as metal bearings are usually made. The loose half is
held in place by guides on all four sides and is tightened by two
screws with milled nuts. A great deal of trouble was experienced
in boring out the bearings until the following method was devised.
One hole was bored as well as possible. The bearing was then
loosened and a bit run through it to bore the other. Finally, a
piece of shafting was roughened by rolling it on a file placed in
both bearings and turned with a brace. The bearings were gradually
tightened until perfectly ground.
The declination axis must be perpendicular to both the hour axis
and the line of sight over the pointer. To insure this, a positive
adjustment was provided. The end of the shaft is clamped in a
short block of wood by means of a bearing like the ones described.
One end of the block is hinged to the axis frame, while the other
end is attached by two screws, one drawing them together, the
other holding them apart. The axis is adjusted by turning these
screws. Each shaft, save the one in the pipe, is provided with
The pointer is of two very thin strips placed at right angles and
tapered slightly at each end. The clamp is attached as shown in
the illustration. The eye piece is a black iron washer supported
on a small strip of wood. The aperture should be 1/4 in., since
the pupil of the eye dilates very much in darkness. The error due
to large aperture is reduced by using a very long pointer which
also makes it possible to focus the eye upon the front sight and
the star simultaneously. The forward sight is a bright brass peg
illuminated by a tiny electric lamp with a reflector to shield the
eye. The pointer arranged in this way is a great improvement over
the hollow tube sometimes used, since it allows an unobstructed
view of the heavens while indicating the exact point in question.
The circles of the instrument are of aluminum, attached to the
shafts by means of wooden clamps. They were nicely graduated by a
home-made dividing engine of very simple construction, and the
figures were engraved with a pantograph. The reading is indicated
by a cut on a small aluminum plate attached to a pointer. The hour
circle is divided into 24 parts and subdivided to every four
minutes. The figures are arranged so that when the instrument is
set up, the number of hours increases while the pointer travels
oppositely to the stars. The declination circle is graduated from
zero to 90 deg. in each direction from two points 180 deg. apart.
It is, adjusted to read zero when the pointer and two axes are
mutually perpendicular as shown in the picture.
To adjust the instrument it is set up on the iron pipe and the
pointer directed to some distant object. All set screws, excepting
those on the declination axis, are tightened. Then the pointer is
carefully turned through 180 deg. and if it is not again directed
to the same point, it is not perpendicular to the declination
axis. When properly set it will describe a great circle. With the
declination axis in an approximately horizontal position the place
where the pointer cuts the horizon is noted. The declination axis
is then turned through 180 deg., when the pointer should again cut
at the same place. Proper adjustment will cause it to do so. It is
desirable that the hour circle should read approximately zero when
the declination axis is horizontal, but this is not necessary for
a reason soon to be explained. All these adjustments, once
carefully made, need not be changed.
In using the instrument the hour axis can be directed to the north
pole by the following method. Point it approximately to the north
star. The pole is 1 deg. and 15 min. from the star on a straight
line from the star to "Mizar," the star at the bend of the handle
in the Big Dipper. Turn the hour circle into a position where the
pointer can describe a circle through "Mizar." Only a rough
setting is necessary. Now turn the pointer so that a reading of 88
deg. 45 min. shows on the declination circle on that side of 90
which is toward "Mizar." When this is done, clamp both axes and
turn the shafts in the base until the pointer is directed
accurately to the north star. It is evident from a study of the
picture that the position of the small pointer which indicates the
reading on the hour circle is not independent of the way in which
the tripod or pipe is set up. It would then be useless to adjust
it carefully to zero when the pointer cuts the "zenith" as is done
with a large equatorial. Instead, the adjustment is made by
setting the clock or watch which is part of the outfit. The
pointer is directed to Alpha, Cassiopiae, and the hour reading
subtracted from 24 hours (the approximate right ascension of the
star) gives the time which the clock should be set to indicate.
All of these settings should require not more than five minutes.
To find a star in the heavens, look up its declination and right
ascension in an atlas. Set the declination circle to its reading.
Subtract the clock time from the right ascension (plus 24 if
necessary) and set the hour circle to the result. The star will
then be seen on the tip of the pointer.
To locate a known star on the map, turn the pointer to the star.
Declination is read directly. Add the clock time to the hour
reading to get right ascension. If the result is more than 24
hours, subtract 24.
** A Ground Glass Substitute 
Ordinary plain glass coated with the following mixture will make a
good ground glass substitute: Dissolve 18 gr. of gum sandarac and
4 gr. of gum mastic in 3-1/2 dr.. of ether, then add 1 2-3 dr.
benzole. If this will be too transparent, add a little more
benzole, taking care not to add too much. Cover one side of a
clear glass and after drying it will produce a perfect surface for
use as a ground glass in cameras.
--Contributed by Ray E. Strosnider, Plain City, Ohio.
** A Miniature War Dance 
A piece of paper, 3 or 4 in. long, is folded several times, as
shown in the sketch, and the first fold marked out to represent
one-half of an Indian. Cut out all the folds at one time on the
dotted line and you will have as many men joined together as there
were folds in the paper. Join the hands of the two end men with a
little paste so as to form a circle of Indians holding hands.
The next thing to do is to punch holes in heavy cardboard that is
large enough to cover a pot or stew pan, and
[Illustration: Indian War Dance]
partially fill the vessel with water. Set this covered vessel over
a heat and bring the water to a boiling point and then set the
miniature Indians on the perforated cover. The dance will begin.
If the Indians are decked out with small feathers to represent the
head gear and trailing plumes, a great effect will be produced.
--Contributed by Maurice Baudier, New Orleans, La.
** Saving an Engine 
Turning the water on before starting the gas engine may prevent
breaking a cylinder on a cold day.
** OLD-TIME MAGIC 
Removing 36 Cannon Balls from a Handbag
The magician produces a small handbag and informs the audience
that he has it filled with 20-lb. cannon balls. He opens up the
bag and takes out a ball which he passes to the audience
[Illustration: Balls Made of Spring Wire]
for examination. The ball is found to be the genuine article. He
makes a few passes with the wand and produces another ball, and so
on until 36 of them lie on the floor.
In reality the first ball, which is the one examined, is the real
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