Shaping woodwork

Hand tools
Boring tools

Grinding tools
Hammering tools
Holding tools (other)
Layout tools
Micrometer caliper
Sloyd knives
Steel scale
Vernier calipers
Wire gages

Cutting threads
Layout metalworking
Nuts & bolts

Bolting woodwork
Cutting woodwork
Finishing woodwork
Glueing woodwork
Jointing woodwork
Layout & testing
Layout, using paterns
Lumber & lumbering
Measuring with rule
Nails for woodwork
Painting wood
Screws woodwork
Shaping woodwork
Structure of wood
Try square usage

Surface planing

Squaring stock. Planing all the surfaces of rough stock to finished size is the process of squaring. The first step is to make a work face. This is done by planing one of the faces smooth and straight, using the smooth plane. The stock is held securely in the vise.

The surface is tested for straightness with a straightedge such as the blade of the try square or framing square. The work face should be tested by placing the straightedge crosswise, lengthwise, and from corner to corner.

If no light shows between the straightedge and the surface of the wood while it is being tested, the work face is finished and should be marked with one line.

Edge planing

The second step when squaring is to make a work edge. This is done by planing one of the edges smooth, straight, and square to the work face, with the stock held securely in the vise. The edge is tested, with the handle of the try square held tightly against the work face. The finished work edge is marked with two lines.

End-grain planing

The third step is the making of the work end. It is done by planing the end smooth, square to the work face, and square to the work edge, with a block plane or smooth plane.

Because of the arrangement of the fibers and cells that form the wood, the planing of the end requires a procedure different from that used when planing the face and the edge. If an end is planed across the entire surface in the one stroke, the fibers at the end of the plane stroke will break. This can be prevented in any one of three ways:

  1. By planing from each edge to a little beyond the center
  2. By the use of a chamfer cut on the waste edge
  3. By bracing the edge with a piece of scrap stock held in place between the vise jaws

The use of the first method is practical when wide pieces have to be planed. The chamfer method is used when there is sufficient stock at the waste edge to allow for the chamfer. The third method will be found helpful when planing the end of narrow stock.

The work end is tested with a try square, placing the handle against the work edge to test the end for squareness to the work edge, then placing the handle against the work face to test the end for squareness to this side. The finished work end is marked with three lines.

Finishing to length

The fourth step is planing the stock to the required length. The length is measured from the work end, plating the beginning of the Tule even with the work end. A line is squared across the faces and edges through the reference mark that establishes the length.

The handle of the try square is placed against the work face and work edge when doing this. These lines must meet at each corner, and they will do so if the handle of the try square is placed as indicated and held tightly against the work face and work edge. The end is planed down to the line. The second end is tested in the same manner as the work end.

Finishing to width

The fifth step is planing the stock to the required width. The width is marked off with the marking gage, setting and using the gage. The line establishing the width is made on the faces and ends. The head of the marking gage is held against the work edge when scribing the line. The second edge is planed down to the line and tested in the same manner as the work edge.

Finishing to thickness

The sixth step is planing to thickness. The required thickness is marked off with the marking gage, gaging from the work face. The second face is planed down to the gage line and tested in the same manner as the work face.

Auger-bit “through” boring

When boring holes through a piece of wood with an auger bit or an expansive bit, it is necessary to bore from both sides; or, if bored through from the one side, the stock must be backed up with a piece of scrap wood in order to prevent the splitting of the wood as the bit breaks through.

The shaping of a curve on the edge of a piece of wood or of a circular cut within the wood can often be done with an auger bit, provided the curve to be shaped is an are or part of a circle. Auger bits come in sizes ranging from 3/16" upward, and any curve having a diameter equal to that of an auger bit can be shaped by boring a through hole. Curves that are of a larger diameter than that of available auger bits can be shaped with the aid of an expansive bit, which can be regulated to bore holes up to 3".

Twist bit and twist drill

The twist bit and twist drill are seldom used in woodworking except for boring small holes for screws or bolts. Occasionally a twist bit or twist drill is employed when it is necessary to use a coping saw within the limits of the stock. A small hole is then bored within the area that is to be removed so that the blade of the coping saw can be passed through.

When boring a hole with either the twist bit or twist drill, it is not necessary to bore from each side as when the auger bit is used.


Countersinking is the shaping of a hole or depression to conform to the shape and thickness of a flat or oval screwhead; it is done with a cone-shaped cutter called a countersink. The angle at which the depression is cut is standard, being controlled by the countersink, which in turn is made to conform with the angle of the underside of the screwhead.

The purpose of countersinking is to permit the head of a flathead screw to set flush with or slightly below the surf ace of the wood. A hole that is to receive a flathead or ovalhead screw is first bored; then it is countersunk on the surf ace which the screw enters. The depth to which a hole is countersunk will depend on the thickness of the screwhead. This thickness is measured from the point where the body of the screw ends and the head starts, to the widest part of the head.

The depth to which a countersink will bore can be controlled with the aid of a special bit gage. Such a gage is attached to the shank of the countersink. The bit gage is used only when there are several holes to be countersunk to the same depth, since the gage is set after the first hole has been countersunk.

To countersink a hole, the countersink bit is placed in a brace. The stock into which the countersink is to be made is held in the vise or to the top of the bench by means of a clamp. The point of the countersink is placed in the screwhole. Then with the brace held in such a position that the shank of the countersink is parallel to the direction in which the screwhole was bored, the hole is countersunk by turning the brace in a clockwise direction.

The depth of the countersinking of the first hole is determined by trial-fitting the screw. Once the first hole has been countersunk, the bit gage can be set to duplicate the depth.


The shaping of a curve involves the use of any one of a number of tools, depending on the sweep of the curve and whether the curve is concave or convex. Tools most commonly used for shaping a curve are: plane, spoke shave, chisel, rasp, and file.

When it is necessary to shape a convex surface having a broad sweep, the plane, spoke shave, or paring chisel is used. If this surface is the face or edge, the planing or chiseling is done in the direction of the grain. If the curve is on an end, the work must be done from both edges, or faces, toward the center.

A convex surface with a short sweep can best be shaped with a spoke shave, paring chisel, or the flat side of a rasp or file. The direction of the grain must always be taken into consideration. Cutting must always be done with the grain, or from the edge to the end if the curve is on the end of the wood. Concave surfaces that have broad sweeps are shaped with a spoke shave or the round side of a rasp or file. When such a surface has a sweep too small for a spoke shave, the rasp or file should be used.

Chamfers and bevels

A chamfer is an inclined surface extending between adjacent sides. A chamfer may be used to prevent the edge of the wood from breaking, when planing an end, to shape a piece of wood, or to decorate a piece of wood. A chamfer should be laid out to the size required by using the various layout tools. Cutting a chamfer is generally done with a plane or chisel. Small chamfers may be cut with sandpaper.

A bevel is an inclined surface other than 90° extending between opposite sides. The bevel angle is laid out with the aid of the T-bevel. A plane is used to cut the bevel. The bevel should be tested frequently with the T-bevel as the planing is done.