Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Vintage Wood Machining Books

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
I realise I have a bit of an odd collection going on now. I've been buying pretty much every old wood machining book that I've come across online that wasn't silly money and I've gathered quite a few now. Anyone else doing this or is it just me? 😂

So far I've got:

The Woodworking Machinist Volumes 1 & 2 by R.H.Holdern 1958
Woodworking Machinery Theory and Practice R.H.Holdern 1952
Sawing and Planing by A.H.Haycock 1948
Tenoning, Morticing and Boring by A.H.Haycock 1949
Spindle Moulding by A.H.Haycock 1952
Routing by A.H.Haycock 1953
Four-Cutter Practice by A.H.Haycock 1955
Modern Mechanical Saw Practice by J.Raymond Foyster 1947
Modern Woodworking Machine Practice by J.Raymond Foyster 1963
Information and Operation Units in Machine Woodworking by Robert Smith 1938
Woodworking Machinery its Rise, Progress and Construction by M.Powis Bale 1914
Joiners Machines and How to Work them by T.R Groom 1933
Saws and Sawing by Sydney Lister 1937
Planers and Planing by Sydney Lister 1947
Sanders and Sanding by Sydney Lister 1948
Woodworking Machinery for Small Workshops by Firstly A.Murray Ball and expanded upon by W.J Blackmur (Also removed references to colonialism 😐 1937
How to Work a Spindle Moulder by W.J Blackmur 1925 (Thanks for the Date AndyT :D)
Saw Mill Work and Practice by W.J. Blackmur 1926?
Principles of Woodcutting Machinists work by T.Hesp 1951
Two Hundred Years of History and Evolution of Woodworking Machinery by William L. Sims 1985 (For some reason Rycotewood chucked out this book? You'd think a woodworking college would want to keep it.)
Machine Woodworking by Herman Hjorth 1937
Operation of Common Woodworking Machines by Herman Hjorth 1942
Machine Woodworking by John R Clayton 1974
Machine Woodworking Technology for Hand Woodworkers by F.E.Sherlock 1973
Woodworking Machinery by H.R.Hudson 1946
Modern Woodworking Machinery by J.Stafford Ransome 1902
Cutters and Cutter-blocks by Stafford Ransome 1927
The Technique of Woodworking Machinery Vol 1 & 2 by Frank.L. Dunsmore 1965
Wadkin Catalogue No. 415, 1936
Wadkin Catalogue No. 790/1, 1973
Wadkin Tools and Accessories for Woodworking Machinery Catalogue No. 745 1950
Robinson Tools and Accessories For Woodworking Machinery Catalogue NO 17T (No idea on age, I guess late 60's to early 70's just by the fact they were still selling square cutter heads and suggesting which bandsaw blades were best for cutting Asbestos 😨
The New Builders Handbook on Woodcutting Machine Work by S.H.Glennister 1948
Circular Saws by Eric Stephenson and Dave Plank 1972
The Hanchett Saw and Knife Fitting Manual 1956
Practical Geometry - For Carpenters, Joiners And Woodcutting Machinists by A.B.Emary 1955 (Less about wood machining and more about geometry, but there are some good bits about cutter geometry and how to calculate knife shape)
Carpentry, Joinery and Machine Woodworking by A.B.Emary 1974
Woodworking for Industry John.L.Feirer 1963
Machine Woodworking by DeWitt Hunt 1956
Safety Hints on the use of Wood-Working Machinery by His Majesty's Stationary Office 1933
Circular Saws by His Majesty's Stationary Office 1937
A Handbook of Woodcutting by His Majesty's Stationary Office 1946

I must say firstly, that I haven't read all of them fully 😂 But they're all very interesting and whilst a lot of similar topics are touched upon there's something to be learned from each one. It seems a lot of techniques have also been lost to the modern machinist too, some perhaps were seriously questionable but there's good stuff there that I've begun applying to my own work. It's an interesting insight into a time where the job at hand was worth more than the hand doing the job. They seemed to have a far greater understanding of the machines 60+ years ago than we do now. They could definitely make them work harder than most do now, that's for sure.

Anyone else got any gems of their own?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
481
Location
Bristol
Wow, that's quite a collection!
I thought I had a fair few woodworking books but I don't have any of those, or room for them. (Mine are mostly before widespread machinery or aimed at amateurs who had none.)
The information in your books will be hard to find anywhere else. They are probably too new to be available scanned online but most secondhand shops would reject them as too specialist and outdated.

You are now the forum's go-to source of information on how to use old machinery!
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
2,386
Reaction score
102
Location
In me workshop
Trevanion said:
It's an interesting insight into a time where the job at hand was worth more than the hand doing the job.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
On what machinery are you considering, for trying out some of these new to you ideas on Trevanion?
Any tips for tablesaws? :)
 

wallace

Established Member
Joined
13 Feb 2011
Messages
1,987
Reaction score
28
Location
county durham
I really do like the old books, for me its the machine illustrations. I got a lovely powis bale machinery book from 1896 and my prized possession is a book by J Richards ' A treatise on wood working machinery'. which there aren't many copies known to exist.
One of the first books I got came from my loft when I bought my house, the previous owner was a hobbyist and got the 3 volumes out of the woodworker magazine in the 6O's. There was a big pile of magazines from the 6o's7O's which make for great reading
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Ttrees":1717m81s said:
Any tips for tablesaws? :)
Table saws are probably one of the machines that have dramatically changed the most over the years compared to what's described in the books, with blades perhaps changing the most. From what I've read, back in the day when you got a new blade the first thing to do was mount it in the saw and whilst the saw was running you would take a carborundum stone and push it into the spinning teeth :shock:. What this did was ensure that the blade was now perfectly concentric with the shaft of the saw and you would then sharpen the teeth with a file to just remove the flat spots created by the stone, this would then create a sharp and perfectly concentric blade where all the teeth are cutting in unison. Another massive difference is tooth patterns and geometries, these days with TCT blades you have 3 main patterns (With some more obscure ones) with some varied geometries, back in the day there was all manner of lethal-looking discs of doom. And then there were some seriously questionable practices with the table saw such as ramming wooden wedges between the saw flanges and the blade to create a "Drunken Saw" (Wobble saw these days), why have a Dado set when you can have TWO drunken saws? Got a crack in your saw blade? just drill out the end and keep using it and sharpening it down until you've gotten rid of the crack 8) Need to make a coving? clamp a piece of timber 45 degrees to the saw blade and use that as your fence and take light cuts traversing the blade until coving is achieved.

There really is some good information in there that you just can't get anywhere else anymore, some of it is for good reason though :lol: I'm not about to run out and get myself an old spindle moulder square cutter head and start playing with it, the draught off it would be nice on a hot summer day though :wink:
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Amended original post to add Modern Woodworking Machinery By J.Stafford Ransome 1902, Saw Mill Work and Practice by W.J. Blackmur 1926? and Modern Mechanical Saw Practice by J.Raymond Foyster 1947. :D

In the rear of the Ransome and Blackmur books (Both a part of Rider's Technical Series) there are loads of adverts for "Calculators" and "Measurers" various "Slide Rules" and other books of the time. This one stuck out the most:



I wonder if there are any examples left in the world? I suppose back in this time tape measures weren't too common and were possibly very expensive.
 

heimlaga

Established Member
Joined
27 Sep 2009
Messages
1,245
Reaction score
19
Location
western coast of Finland
Trevanion":b51pn7cu said:
Amended original post to add Modern Woodworking Machinery By J.Stafford Ransome 1902, Saw Mill Work and Practice by W.J. Blackmur 1926? and Modern Mechanical Saw Practice by J.Raymond Foyster 1947. :D

In the rear of the Ransome and Blackmur books (Both a part of Rider's Technical Series) there are loads of adverts for "Calculators" and "Measurers" various "Slide Rules" and other books of the time. This one stuck out the most:



I wonder if there are any examples left in the world? I suppose back in this time tape measures weren't too common and were possibly very expensive.
An aquintance of mine who died last year told me that in the late 50-ies when he worked as an offbearer at Öbacka Såg which was a large sawmill in what is now part of the city center in Umeå in Sweden the foreman handed out to each man a short measuring stick with a hook on it's end and the standard timber dimensions marked on it.
He said it was very handy because even if you stand behind the edger all day long sorting and stacking timber onto narrow gauge trolleys you will every now and then have a blackout and be unable to tell which size is which. Pulling that custom measuring stick out of your pocket and hooking it over the edge of the board is fast enough to not hinder the workflow while using a standard folding rule would too slow and cause trouble for your workmates.
No other sawmill he knew of used those custom measuring sticks neither before nor after.

Maybe that thickness gauge is intended for the same purpose?
 

heimlaga

Established Member
Joined
27 Sep 2009
Messages
1,245
Reaction score
19
Location
western coast of Finland
Back to the original topic I think there is a shortage of good textbooks about professional use of woodworking machinery theese days.
There is any number of books dealing with small dedicated hobby machinery but when you are using full size machinery you are pretty much left on your own. Those few books that I have seen only skim the surface telling about the most basic setups on a machine that is correctly set up and adjusted from the outset like machines never are in reality.

Older books dealt with such common oprarations as pouring babbit bearings and grinding your own profile knives for the square head and maintaining the lineshaft system.
While new books just tell you to contact a professional for any small maintainance job if it is as simple as honing the thicknesser knives........ and who is that professional going to be in a one or two man business out in the woods?....... you cannot afford to have an engineer travel from Italy can you.....
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
heimlaga":3p4cho8p said:
Back to the original topic I think there is a shortage of good textbooks about professional use of woodworking machinery theese days.
It's hard to find anything on a professional level about anything in woodworking that wasn't published before the 80's. The definitive book on proper window and door making is still George Ellis' "Modern Practical Joinery" a book which is over 100 years old now, it's almost as if nobody's come up with anything new at all in the last 100 years. I haven't seen a single book that really delves into the modern joinery trade that goes over modern draught sealing, double and triple glazing, ways to glaze dry and wet, modern paints and preservatives, modern glues... the list goes on! The only way for Bob Public to have access to this professional information these days is really through a professional, information on this seems more guarded now than it was 100 years ago!
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Post amended again to add,

Woodworking Machinery Theory and Practice R.H.Holdern 1952
The Technique of Woodworking Machinery Vol 1 & 2 by Frank.L. Dunsmore 1965
Wadkin Catalogue No. 790/1, 1973
Robinson Tools and Accessories For Woodworking Machinery Catalogue NO 17T
The New Builders Handbook on Woodcutting Machine Work by S.H.Glennister 1948
Circular Saws by Eric Stephenson and Dave Plank 1972

I was reading "Woodworking Machinery for Small Workshops" by W.J. Blackmur 1937 and I come across a very interesting excerpt about ball bearings, since they were a fairly new innovation at the time, I thought some of you machine guys would like to see it.

"Woodworking machinery is not made foolproof, it requires skilled attention to obtain the best results. Starting from the turning of the cutters or saws, let it be understood that with modern machinery using ball or roller bearings, there is a great difference between their lubrication and the plain bearing of old-time machines. Ball and roller bearings do not depend on oil or grease for thier successful running. Many a bearing has been ruined by operatives gamming grease into a ball-race, pressing it in so hard that the balls are checked, and they have to churn the grease up before they can move freely. Grease and oil are used in bearings to prevent rust and for the balls or rollers to retain their surfaces. Unless the bearing is in a very exposed position, a greasing of the bearings about once in three months will keep them in excellent condition. On no account grease the bearings every day, or they will become hot and trouble will come."

I knew that you could over-grease bearings and they'd become hot but I didn't realize that its main purpose was just to stop rust from damaging the balls and race-way more than anything else, when you think about it, it makes sense. They knew more about bearings 80 years ago than I do now! :lol:. It would be interesting if the thought process is still the same about them 80 years on, I'm sure there are still many people that think more grease is better, I know people that take the seals off new bearings and cram more grease in to try and get longer life.
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,966
Reaction score
121
Location
Warwick
There are classical nineteenth century woodworking books that you need to add. They are available online for free. One 18thC one by Plumier in French, L'Art du Tourneur, and the massive five-volume Holzappfel classic on 'Turning and mechanical manipulation'.

I do historical research on woodwind instruments and they are an absolute mine of accurate information.
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Inspector":3jqmthw9 said:
Here you go. https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/to ... ness-gauge

Likely reason there are no new textbooks is the reliance on the internet and there are far fewer woodworking jobs than there once was, most being done with sheet goods, automated machines and the dismantling of the apprentice system for job specific trained operators.

Pete
Would you look at that! 100 years and they're still making them! :lol:. Thanks for showing me that Pete, that's golden!

I can see what you mean when it comes to textbooks, but the traditional way of apprenticeships is still quite alive in Britain (I think it is anyway :?) and the traditional way of working with machines is still very much the core of most workplaces even if some have meandered off to work with CNC machines. So I think a lot of what's in these older books is still relevant but could be modernized, especially when it comes to joinery work rather than machine work since quite a bit has changed in some way, whilst the traditional construction of joinery is still very much the same as it was 100 years ago as I mentioned above, there's loads of new methods of glazing, painting, draughtproofing, etc etc...

You've really got to be in the trade already to pick all this modern information up, otherwise, you'd be trudging on trying to figure stuff out from manufacturers who don't want to give you the time of day. A nice, modern, concise textbook would be a godsend for some people trying to get into the trade I would imagine.
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Post amended again to add,

The Hanchett Saw and Knife Fitting Manual 1956
Practical Geometry - For Carpenters, Joiners And Woodcutting Machinists by A.B.Emary 1955 (Less about wood machining and more about geometry, but there are some good bits about cutter geometry and how to calculate knife shape)
Carpentry, Joinery and Machine Woodworking by A.B.Emary 1974
Woodworking for Industry John.L.Feirer 1963

New-to-me books seem to be getting harder to find, I might've cornered the market :lol:
 

Terry - Somerset

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2012
Messages
630
Reaction score
127
Location
Taunton
An interesting thread but being somewhat objective about why there are so few modern books on wood processing and machining:

1. Many items once traditionally made from wood rarely use solid wood in a conventional form - windows, doors, furniture, etc. They have been replaced using either wood composite materials - MDF, chipboard, plywood, or steel, aluminium, UPVC.

2. As little as 50-80 years ago most wood machining would have been skill based to set up and adjust equipment to maintain dimensional accuracy and optimise material use (eg: cutting lists). There would have been lot of manual handling - I suspect automation was limited.

3. At a guess the output of wood products using traditional skill based techniques may be 10% or less of total output today - in a domestic setting most windows and external doors would be UPVC, floors probably composite board of some sort. Roof frames are delivered to site complete and need lifting (crane, not rope and tackle) and fixing to walls.

So sadly traditional skills have been in decline with uses mainly in listed buildings, high end new builds, some higher end commercial. Compared with the mass produced costs are high.

The days when even a large village or small town would have its own local woodwork/carpentry trade are long gone. The relatively low cost and speed of transport around the country means that most local small businesses have not survived.

I suspect if one looks at large furniture (Ikea?) and board manufacturers, the equipment that sits behind manufacturing is complex, specialist and gives huge economies of scale. The "brains" behind the equipment design and performance is the province of only a few specialist engineers.

Much of the higher end "hobby" kit has a level of performance that would have been the envy of many small and medium sized companies 30 - 40 years ago. It also seems to be the case that there is a much wider range of standard kit - eg: just looking at the Axminster site for saw blades means that you can order one with teeth explicitly designed to meet particular needs rather than having to "fettle" one in the workshop!

Don't misjudge what I have written for criticism - I have massive admiration for the innovation and engineering skill of our Victorian forebears in making machines that still function after two lifetimes - but the world has moved on.
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Post amended again to add:

Cutters and Cutter-blocks by Stafford Ransome 1927

Been after this book for a while, copies are like hens teeth and don't come up for sale very often, this was the first one I've seen for sale and I've been collecting for a couple of years now. The book was in great condition and was a very reasonable price for a nice piece of history, It was Stafford Ransome's last book before his passing in 1931. Stafford was the son of Allen Ransome, who started up "A.Ransome and Co Woodworking Machinery" in 1868. The interesting thing I found was right at the end, an advert for "Record Woodworking Machinery" from Sweden and Norway, is that the same as the modern "Record Power"? I had always assumed it was an off-shoot of the Record Handtool company.











 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Post Ammended to add:

Wadkin Tools and Accessories for Woodworking Machinery Catalogue 745 1950
Machine Woodworking by DeWitt Hunt 1956

The Machine Woodworking book is an American (Oklahoman) book, It mentions and shows using push sticks, riving knives and guards in the first chapter but totally omits them in the rest of the book! :lol: There's some quite dodgy practices shown like cutting mortices with the table saw and cutting tapers with a surface planer. What's quite interesting that I've noticed with American books, in particular, is that there's always a questionnaire of some kind at the end of each chapter. Of course, the Wadkin is a little gem of a catalogue.










 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Picked up an interesting little safety pamphlet in immaculate condition, It's so small I thought I would post it in its entirety and hope the monarchy doesn't mind 🤫





















 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
567
Location
Pembrokeshire
Is that a Gripper block on page 9?
And Jacob said they were a new-fangled hobbyist piece of equipment, this pamphlet is older than him! 🤷‍♂️ 😂

I quite like the one that clamps onto the small timber so you can handle it with both hands at a fair distance
 
Top