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What Rod Making Is---Laying Out Full Sized Work on a Board---A Practice Being Provided for the Manual Training Student in Lieu of Cabinet Making By C. A. ZUPPANN,


Of the Union High School, Grand Rapids

OD making is beginning to take a place in the manual training courses of our high schools, and as an educational factor it may well be encouraged. It is commonly understood that the time allowed to cabinet-making is so short that the student in this subject cannot construct enough different kinds of articles to present a sufficient number of problems in furniture making. In fact, he is usually limited to one or two pieces. To overcome this deficiency, rod making can be used to great advantage.

Rod making, with the attending stock billing, emphasizes the constructive features of a design in a manner little short of the actual making of the object. It is a thorough check on the detail drawing. Mechanical drawing is commonly called "the language of the shop." In the same terms rods are a different language and rod making is translating from one of these languages to the other. Translating from one of two inter-dependent languages to the other must lead to a better understanding of both. Telling how to make things, as in detailing, and repeating this in a different language, as in rod making, leads to an understanding of construction which can only be surpassed by unlimited shop work.

A rod can be made to overcome practically all of these objections. By the use of a board with all measurements running with the grain of the wood, the errors due to changing humidity are eliminated. The board is easily handled, easily filed in racks, will not wear and when coated with shellac can be kept clean. The confusion of superimposed drawings is also overcome as will be explained later.



That system of furniture drawing in which the detail is transferred full size onto a board which is used for measuring and constructing purposes, is called "rod making." The rod, therefore, is a board on which is "layed out" the length, width and thickness of all parts used in the construction of a piece of furniture.

Measurements From the Drawing

The full size detail drawing as used in furniture making, as a rule, contains no written measurements. In this it differs from machine drawings. It is, therefore, necessary to take all measurements direct from the drawing. The disadvantages connected with this practice have led to the extended use of rods. It can easily be seen that a large detail is clumsy to handle and that with ordinary usage its life is short. However, a greater disadvantage is found in the shrinking and swelling of the paper with the differences in humidity. Suppose the lengths of some rails were measured and the rails cut on a very dry day, and another lot for the same piece was measured and cut the next day, which happened to be damp and rainy. There would be an appreciable difference in these rails due to the difference in the paper which would be swelled on the rainy day. Anyone who has tacked drawing paper to a board and let it remain through changes of weather will realize this fact.

Another disadvantage in the use of full size details is found in the fact that the views are superimposed, the plan is drawn over the front view and the cross section view partly over both plan and front view. These views are distinguished by coloring the plan red and the section blue. However, to many workmen this superimposing brings a certain amount of confusion.

Rods are layed out on white wood or basswood boards, usually one-fourth inch to one-half inch thick, five to eight feet long, or longer if the work requires, and six to twelve inches wide. (Dimensions for linear rods differ from the above to some extent.) Both edges are jointed perfectly true. All lines drawn with the grain on the rod are made with a pencil. All cross lines are knife lines, though sometimes these are gone over with a pencil. There are two systems of rods in general use: the linear and the detail systems. The linear system rod is practically an individual measuring stick and when it is used must be accompanied with the detail drawing. The detail rod is a combination of measuring stick and detail drawing and generally contains all the information needed for the construction of the article. In some cases, however, reference to the detail drawing will be needed. Besides the two systems there are rods in use which are a combination of both methods. The detail rod is, without doubt, harder to lay out, but is at the same time by far the more complete and easily read, and for this reason is fast replacing the purely linear rod. This chapter will be devoted to the detail system.

Making Full Size Drawings

In designing a piece of furniture the approximate sizes and shapes of parts having been settled, the full size drawing is made. It is not necessary to tell how we are able to present a three-dimension object on a paper or plane surface having only two dimensions by orthographic projection or mechanical drawing. To reduce this drawing to a form which can be placed on a comparatively narrow board with the measurements for each item running with the grain, is the work of the rod maker.

In the detail drawing, as has been stated, there are usually three views. These are half the front view, half of the plan, and a view showing all or half of a sectional end elevation taken on the center line. Reference to the detail of the simple typewriter table will illustrate these views, which are separated instead of superimposed. Figures 1 and 2 represent two sides of a detail rod of the same table, and for purposes of explanation, contain more information than would be placed on a rod of so simple an object in ordinary factory procedure. By a comparison of these two figures a general idea of the process of rod making may be obtained. It is, however, practically impossible to secure a thorough understanding of any system of drawing by merely reading about

it. For this reason the student who wishes to know about rods is advised to make several, using this article as a guide.

The tools necessary are a combination square with a 12 or 18 inch blade, rule, knife and pencils. Use the

are not taken across the grain of the rod in any of the views, as, owing to the shrinkage of the wood and inaccuracy of the pencil lines, such measurements would not always be absolutely true.

Width of Top

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Back Rail

Front Rail


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Length of Stretchers Length of End Rail

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square to pencil-gauge all lines with the grain and also to square lines across grain. All cross grain lines should be knife lines. A 6-foot basswood board, 10 inches wide and 3% inch thick, will be ample for this rod. Where it is impossible to use a board, of course, detail paper of sufficient size may be substi

tuted for practice work. In this case pencil lines are used throughout.

Start with the left side of Figure 1. This is the plan of the table. To obtain this view, the top appears to have been removed and set on edge back of the table and yet

Figure 2.

at the same time it appears as being in its natural position, which is represented by the line surrounding the other parts of the plan. The end rails and stretchers have had a considerable length broken out of their middles. The amount broken out is shown in the sectional view of the detail by letters C, D, E and F. All

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Frent Leg.

The view to the right in Figure 1 is a combination of parts of two views as given in the detail. Suppose the bottom part of the table were cut off at G-H in the sectional view, leaving only the top and the upper part of the rails and legs. These remaining parts are shown above the letters G-H on the rod. Under this is placed another plan. The part shown is the lower part of the plan which would be obtained if such a view were made over the end section on the detail. In other words, it is the lower part of the plan turned up endwise. As drawing in the stretcher would perhaps be confusing,

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a single line represents this member and this is labeled in order to distinguish it.

The reverse side of the rod is shown in Figure 2. On the left is placed a rough sketch of the table. This sketch aids materially in interpreting any doubtful parts of the rod. On the right is another combination of views, being part of a front view and part of a side view. On the lower part is given as much of the front view as is shown on the detail to the left of a line drawn from A to B. The remainder of the front view is broken away. On the upper part of this end of the rod is given an end view of the table, which is obtained from the end sectional view on the detail. All parts on the detail between the letters C, D, E and F are broken away in this view.

To bring out the principal parts of the object as represented on the rod, these parts are colored with yellow pencil lines just inside of the black pencil lines and knife lines. This coloring, together with other minor details, may be left until the technical parts of rod making are mastered.

That the system above described is not the only system of making rods should be understood by every student. It is, however, the system used by some of the best factories today. Individual peculiarities will be found by comparing the work of rod makers using practically the same system. This may be noticed in such matters as changing the positions of the views and of the parts in the views. It is not uncommon to hear one workman declared wrong simply because he does not agree to the peculiarities of another. However, even in the machine design rooms heated arguments are often heard on such questions as whether a center line should be a dash and two dots or a dash and one dot or some other form. By the observer such arguments in either rod making or machine designing could be answered by saying that it makes no material difference as long as it is the form used throughout the factory and is adhered to in all rods or drawings, as the case might be.

More advanced work in the detail system of rod making and some work in one of the combination systems will be given in the next articles on this subject.

A Department in Which is Collected Observations in and About Factories, With Comment Pertinent and Impertinent, on Things, Men and Measures By A. B. MAINE


EING in a somewhat retrospective mood today, we find it hard to get down to work. You see it is one of those early June days when the air is full of something that makes it easier to dream than to work. We are up on the top floor of a hotel in the furniture town of Rockford, in the state of Illinois, when we would much rather be fishing, or lying on our back in some shady green spot gazing at the slowly moving clouds with our mind in a state of a dreamy haze. Now and again a motor boat goes spitting down the river, and we think how fine it would be if we could be taking a ride on Massachusetts Bay in the roomy boat that our brother-in-law owns. Of course,

we would let him do all the navigation work. Yes, we are even that sentimental that we can think of nothing that would give us more pleasure tonight than to sit up on the high bank about a mile from Crescent Beach, watching the myriads of electric lights along the boulevard, and the play of the searchlights across the water, listening to the music of the band in the distance, while we held our wife's waist and she told us that we didn't love her as much as we used to just to have us say we did.

Well, you don't have to criticize us for writing this because we are due to get a personal remonstrance from that same wife for bringing our family into this page, and that will be sufficient without any remarks from you. Anyway we met our wife on just such a day as this and we were married on such another day, and it is getting very close to the anniversary, so we feel that we have some slight excuse for our lightheadedness.

Shifting from the editorial "We." What I started out to try to write about was a sort of a rehash of some of my observances during the past six months. It is six months to the date of this writing since I started in as a regular representative of this periodical. During this time it has been my pleasure to meet all kinds of men, for there are all kinds in the furniture industry as well as in any other phase of effort. Besides the meeting of all kinds of men, I have visited all kinds of factories, and you can take it from me that there are all kinds of them. Every factory is somewhat different from every other one. Each has its individuality the same as a person. There are those that have reached the highest state of development because of the alertness of the management in adopting, and even in bringing out, new ideas. There are those that are growing for the same reason. There are those that are sort of moving along in the same old way that has characterized them for many years. They neither go forward nor backward. Then, I am sorry to state, there are those that are dying of dry rot, because the whole works need shaking up. Business has been slipping away from them because they do not keep up with the times, either in the installation of modern machinery or in the bringing out of new designs.

Of course, it is well known that the past six months have been trying ones to the furniture manufacturer, but the same thing must also be said of most other industries. Those who claim to know say that the furniture man is the first to feel the period of depression, because

furniture is more or less of a luxury anyway, and we can sit on a box or eat off the sidewalk if we find it necessary. We want the eats and naturally cut on other things if it looks as though we were in any danger of having to do without nourishment.

Whenever there is a period of depression there is consolation in the fact that it cannot always last, and the man or body of men who pull out the best are the ones who do the least worrying and the most hustling. If a man sits around and mopes and whines at the times he works himself into that state of mind where he is firmly convinced that the whole business is going to the rocks, and further, he creates the same feeling in others. Then it is no surprise to learn that that factory has suspended operations for the time being. But the man who is right in the fight, who says to his whole organization, “Come on boys, things are a little quiet, but let's get what we can, and we will be right there when conditions take a turn," is the man who believes in letting the other fellow do the worrying, and he is a constructive rather than a destructive force in the industrial world.

The worst, however, is now over for this time. There is a better tone to the inquiries that the manufacturers are receiving and while it is very improbable that the furniture world in general will be flooded with immediate orders, I venture the forecast that by fall the wheels will all be turning in good shape, and that many of the manufacturers will wish that they had placed a little more faith in the future, and had put a few more goods in their storehouses.

It has seemed somewhat strange to me to find the smallest concerns having a good business and often behind in orders, while the factory of large operations has to curtail production from 10 to 40 per cent. Mention that to one of the men interested in the larger plant and he will immediately tell you that the "little fellow" is making a price concession, and that he can do that because he has not such a burden to carry as is carried in the large plant. Ask the little fellow if he is making such concessions and he denies it, but says he is getting the business at a little greater cost because he has had to branch out more in his territory, and he has been able to do this because the "big fellow" has pulled several of his men in while business is dull. There you are, take your choice. The fact remains that the relatively small concern has, for the most part, been just as busy as he could be.

In general, however, no man can claim that he is the only one who has suffered, and since you have all had the disease at the same time, the chances are even that you all will be convalescent at the same time, and a year from now, when you are buying a new automobile, or pushing out your cash in some other fool way to boost the cost of high living, you will wonder why you spent such a lot of time in worry when you might have taken a few days off and gone fishing.

Maybe it will be well to keep up my record of the past few months and tell you a story before quitting. I read

one the other day that made me think of some of you fellows who are so short-sighted that you can only see the first cost when you are buying a new machine, or when you don't buy one, just because of that first cost. In the story, use your imagination; consider the woman as a manufacturer, and the boy-well, suppose we call him an efficiency engineer. Here's the yarn:

"A plump little woman stood beside a counter in a big store where 'bargains in ladies' hose' were on sale. She selected a pair and held it toward the small boy who was assisting the salesladies, saying:

"I'll take six pairs like this.'

"The boy glanced from the hose to the lady and coolly drawled:

"I wouldn't if I were you; cheap hosiery is never elastic at the top.'"

We all know that business at the shows last January was not good, and we know that it has not improved to any perceptible extent since then. Indeed, if anything, it has got worse. Yet it has been a pleasure to visit many factories in Indiana and Ohio during the last few weeks and find that in spite of these conditions most of the manufacturers are getting ready for the July shows and the big business that is bound to come with a rush when it once sets in.

I wish that some of those who are always kicking at what they call hard luck could meet the prince of optimists that I fell in with on the train between Zanesville and Newark, Ohio, one night. He had on a misfit coat, a pair of overalls and other things in keeping. Though his conversation gave me no true insight into his nationality, I think he was a Scandinavian, and if that is a wrong guess we are even, for he took me a way down East "Yankee"-for a Syrian. At the time I met him he was farming, though for some years he had worked for the Pennsylvania railroad and saved up enough money to buy his little place just outside of Zanesville.

Everything down there dates from the flood (of 1913, of course), and in the course of conversation I asked him if he got hit by the uprising. No, he was in Columbus at that time, and was lucky enough to be on high ground, but he was just now having a "little set back."

Herein, briefly, is what was his "little set back:" Last fall he had taken his family savings (he had a wife and three small children) and invested in a small farm. This spring he had put in three incubators, having a capacity of 460 eggs. They were filled and if the "set back" had not happened, would have started to hatch in a few days. A little over $50-all the money he had-was in a box in the house. Of course, there were other possessions there, too. In some way, he thinks his four-year-old boy got hold of a match and built a bonfire in one of the rooms, the place got on fire, and before anything could be done the house and other buildings were in ruins. He was in the field, his wife got somewhat burned, though not seriously, in getting out a baby girl, and the boy that did the damage. Everything was lost and he had on a borrowed coat, as he was on his way to Columbus to see if his father could let him have a few dollars for a while. Yet it was only a "little set back" and he was pleased it was not worse. He remarked that it was only necessary to keep working and things would come out all right.

This incident may have nothing to do with the furniture industry, but I could not help but think of some

of the pessimists that I sometimes meet and wish they could get the lesson I got.

A story is told of the passerby who asked a boy what the fuss in the school yard was about, and received the answer, "Why, the doctor has just been around examining us, and one of the deficient boys is knocking the everlastin' stuffin' out of a perfect kid."

Such incidents are possible in school boy life, but if you put your factory on an efficient basis, no deficient factory is going to knock your props from under you unless it commits suicide in doing it.

Are your steam pipes covered? If not, better make a memo and get after this before another winter. Losses of heat by uncovered steam pipes are not only high, but wasteful. To offset the heat from a bare 4-inch pipe line, 300 feet long, carrying steam at 125 pounds pressure, with the temperature of the air 90 degrees F., it has been calculated that the consumption of 105 tons of coal per year would be necessary.

Safeguards may not be things of beauty. They never were intended to be, for they have another purpose to Still graceful lines are worth something and designers will do well to consider such things.



The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers HE manufacturers of kitchen cabinets held a meeting in Chicago, last month, along with all the other manufacturers who held group meetings just preceding and immediately following the meeting which resulted in the organization of the Federation of Furniture and Fixture Manufacturers Association, although inadvertently the meeting was not reported along with the rest. The makers of kitchen cabinets have given such unmistakable evidence that they are live ones that it is not surprising that their meeting should have been a good one. The kitchen cabinet men have added more new business to the volume of the retailers than the manufacturers of any other class of goods, and they have problems and propositions all their own worthy of consideration in an association.

The kitchen cabinet manufacturers met at the Auditorium Hotel, Chicago, on May 13th, and the regular routine business was disposed of and the different committees appointed at the last meeting in Indianapolis. made their reports.

One of the most interesting and satisfactory reports was the one made by the classification and rate committee.

This committee reported that E. L. Ewing appeared before the Official Classification Committee, in New York, on September 23rd, in behalf of the kitchen cabinet association and presented reasons to that committee why the classification on kitchen cabinets should not be raised. The information was well received and the members of the classification committee, with the chairman, were convinced that the present description might well be expected to give rise to frequent overcharges and some controversy. Changes will undoubtedly be made. It was reported that by crating tops and bases separately, the bulk of the shipping packages was reduced from 13 to 35 cubic feet. With this showing, the Official Classification Committee recognized the justice of the claim made by the cabinet manufacturers and took under advisement the proposition to rescind the motion to increase the classification on kitchen cabinets K. D.

There was a very interesting discussion upon plans to still further increase the demand for cabinets.

L. D. Waters was re-elected president and G. A. Wilkinson, secretary and treasurer.

Illustration of How Bargains in Lumber Work Out Disastrously---Known Quality Better Than a Gamble on Outcome---Good Material Pays Best



OME day, in order to create more jobs for political workers, the government may attempt to gather statistics on the several classes of foolishness, and the number of persons found in each class. The task would last forever, but it is a safe bet that as the figures began to be tabulated, "bargain hunting" would be a close runner for first place.

Man will laugh, or sneer, according to the nature of the beast, at woman for shopping at the "bargain" counter, and then immediately turn around and do the same thing, only do it worse or better; for the woman shopper examines, to some extent, what she buys, while the man buys something he does not see "at a price" and takes a chance that the "pig in the bag" will prove to be in good condition.

If you want a specific material, take lumber. Do you buyers of this material really know how all the bargains that you got averaged up? Is the lumber you buy, at the price you pay, the best investment for your particular operations? I am not qualified to be the judge of your shrewdness in buying, so I'll tell you a few things that I have observed and let you pass judgment on yourself.

Just to encourage you in keeping up your bargain hunting, because I know you will not give it up, I will cite a recent instance that worked to the benefit of the buyer. It happened that a mahogany salesman, of a bonehead type, had booked a substantial order for his product with a Grand Rapids manufacturer and, as he was on the point of leaving, casually asked if there was anything more that was required. He was informed that there was, but that it was out of his line. Inquiry, however, brought out the fact that some black walnut was needed, and it so happened that this salesman knew of a small concern that bad about two carloads of this material that it had been holding for some time, because the owner knew of no market for it, and did not have the initiative to find one. Now, this salesman volunteered to handle the transaction and get the walnut to the consumer for what it would cost him. The deal was put through and, as # matter of record, the furniture man got a good quality of black walnut at about ten dollars below the standard market price. That was a "good buy" which might just as easily have been a bad one. Incidentally, you are welcome to your own opinion in regard to the foolishness of the salesmatt.

Now let us jump to Cincinnati, where there is lots of good furniture made. Some years ago a man owned a small mill just outside the city, and cut more or less Jumber from timber obtained from the surrounding farms. While his supply lasted, he sold it to some of the local furniture manufacturers, who thought they were shrewd in buying from him at a price lower than the regular Jumbermen were charging for the "same" grade of lumber.

The man had all the appearances of a country "jay" and let it not be recorded against these "wise ones" that they were taken in by him, because other "wise ones" in other places have found that the apparent fool was fooling them all the time, Well, in the course of time this that found that the demand was exceeding his supply and be began making demands on the regular lumber

yards for some material. His habit was to mix grades and sell them for a high grade. He was such a good "mixer" that he sold the "wise" buyers lumber at from $5 to $$ a thousand more than they would have had to pay for the same grade of lumber had they purchased it from the regular manufacturers.

He had such a trade that for several years after his own supply was exhausted, he was selling to his customers "at a price." He was in the habit of getting a dray, that had no name on it, in the city and paying the driver to haul the lumber from the yard where he purchased it to within a few blocks of the location of his customer. Then he would give the driver a quarter to pass away the time in a nearby saloon while he delivered the lumber, and the wonderfully shrewd buyers of bargains were several years finding out that they were being fooled by the country man in overalls and cowhide boots.

Similar things are happening in every furniture manufacturing center in the country, and if every “bargain” purchase of lumber could be traced to its consumption in the factory it is a safe bet that there would be more buying for quality and less for price.

There is, for example, a factory in New England which was buying what it considered good material for its operations at $22 to $30 per thousand feet. After an investigation by an efficiency or industrial engineer and following some of his suggestions for a time, it was found that it was more profitable to pay $35 to $45, and in some instances as high as $65 per thousand feet than it was to use the kind of material that it had been the habit to use.

In the use of the cheaper material the waste was from 40 to 65 per cent., while in the higher priced material the waste ran from 12 to 28 per cent., to say nothing of the difference in the time taken in handling operations to work up the material.

We might cite more instances, but why waste time? The probabilities are that we will always have with us the "bargain hunters," those people who are careful not to give anything away themselves, yet are foolish enough to think that they can get something for nothing so far as the other fellow is concerned.


American Forester for China

GAN HAN, chief of the division of forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the Chinese government, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and he is of the number who is in the Philippine Islands studying forestry methods as practiced in the islands. Already several Chinese students have graduated from the forestry department of the College of Agriculture in the University of the Philippines, which is under the direction of the Bureau of Forestry at Manila, and more students are being received. Some of these students are supported by the famine relief fund formed in connection wih the disastrous floods in various river districts in central and north China, the ultimate object of their work being largely the prevention of floods by reforesting large districts in central China formerly well covered with forests.

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