Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/188

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

surface, or as to the direction of travel, or as to the correction of cross or longitudinal irregularities of surface.

The guide as to depth of cut is that which probably first presented itself as an important appendage to a chisel, and it has led to a form of tool of a very useful construction, although of limited range. The instrument is called a "spoke-shave." In this case the tool is that in Fig. 5 with the guide principle introduced, the depth of cut being determined by the nearness of the edge to a parallel wooden handle.

This tool, owing to the position of the application of the power, viz., the hands, and the tendency of resistance by the work to turn the whole tool in the hand, is not of general use; where, however, the curvature of surface varies, the parings to be removed are light, and the workman can have convenient access, the tool is one capable of doing good work, and, in some respects, possesses advantages over the plane, to which it probably formed an introduction.

The plane, in its most simple form, consists of a chisel inserted at an angle into a box, generally of wood, and with the cutting edge of the chisel projecting through the bottom of the box. If the actions of a workman be noted as he is smoothing wood with a chisel alone, it will be seen that he holds the bevel edge on the wood, and so elevates or lowers the handle as to secure a proper and efficient cut. Then he advances the tool in a line at right angles to its cross-section. If, now, instead of thus continuing to hold the tool, the chisel was so fixed in a movable piece of wood as to be at the same angle as the workman required, then, if the mouth were broad enough, and the instrument were propelled along the wood, a shaving would be removed very nearly the same as that obtained from the chisel alone.

In the arrangement thus sketched the workman would be relieved from the care needed to keep the tool at a constant angle with the surface of the timber. There is, however, a fixity of tool here, and consequently an optional or needful adjustment called for by any varying condition of the problem cannot be had. When operated upon by hand alone, if an obstacle to the progress of the tool is presented, as, for instance, a twist or curl in the fibre or grain of the plank—the presence of a knot—then the workman by hand can adjust the handle, and so vary the inclination of the cutting edge as the circumstances of the case require. Not so if the tool is securely fixed in a box as described.

While, therefore, one gain has been had, one loss has been encountered. Can the gain be made to more than counterbalance the loss? This can only be answered by observing the defects of the primitive plane, as hitherto described, and noting what hopeful elements it contains.

The front of the sole of the box will clearly prevent the penetration of the incased chisel into the wood, because it cannot now be