Save Fats and Greases

Growing up we ALWAYS dumped all grease into an empty coffee can.  I was told it was so that the grease didn’t clog the drains – but there may have been another reason too…as seen in this 1945 ad:

“Pass the Ammunition!

The fats and greases you save in your kitchen are ammunition when they reach the fighting front. Salvage every speck and turn it in to your neighborhood collecting center.  Every drop of fat and grease is an important contribution to the war effort.”

By the way….still, to this day, I pour grease into coffee cans…how about you?

Built-in Mail Box Provided in Wall(1945’s)


To get the full plans and directions for building these Wall Mail Box CLICK HERE

IF YOU are away from home during the day or you go away on short trips for several days at a time, it is advisable to install a built-in mail box to assure the safety of your mail. For the deposit of mail the wall compartment has a slot in the outside of the house, and for the withdrawal of mail it has a door on the inside wall. The convenience of the built-in mail box will be appreciated at all times, but in cold weather it will be especially welcome.

To provide this convenience, first buy an outside mail box plate and decide on the location for the plate. From 40″ to 42″ is a good height. Then choose a spot that you know is between two wall studs. Frame houses of single-siding construction show where the studs are, as the nails used to secure the siding are driven into the studs. If the house is of double construction these nails are no indication of the stud locations. It may be possible to check on the location to see if it is clear of studs by working on the inside wall. A series of small holes drilled through the plaster directly above the baseboard will determine if a stud is likely to interfere. Start cutting through the lath and plaster from the inside. This method is advisable, because you may have missed the stud location, and it would be much easier to rectify a mistake on the inside wall than on the outside. Mark the opening on the inside wall about 20″ high. This area should be located so the outside slot will come near the top. Knock away all plaster in this area and cut out the lath. In-stall 2×4 headers at top and bottom of the area. The top one keeps out dust; the bottom one catches the mail at the level of the door.

To cover the opening, cut a piece of 1/4″ plywood to size. Make an opening for the door and apply a frame around this opening as shown. Bevel strips of lath and nail them to one side of the plywood panel. Install the panel over the opening. Now you can plaster the panel in the usual way, building it up to the surface of the surrounding wall. The plaster, being well keyed into the beveled lath, will be permanent. Paint or wallpaper can be applied to match the rest of the wall.

To get the full plans and directions for building these Wall Mail Box CLICK HERE

Trysquare Made into Pencil Marker(1945’s)


To get the full plans and directions for building these Trysquare Pencil Marker CLICK HERE

WHERE pencil lines must be laid out parallel to a surface the usual method of using a rule or a straightedge can be supplanted by the quick and accurate method afforded by a trysquare prepared in a manner shown in the sketch.

A series of holes 3/32″ in diameter should be drilled through the blade of the square at every 1/4″ mark. If finer calibration is desired these holes can be drilled at every 1/8″ mark. The centering of the holes must be accurate. In order to do this, center punch marks must be made at each division mark where a hole is to be drilled. If a burr is left on the metal after the hole has been drilled, it can be removed by using a drill of larger diameter as a countersink.

In use, the handle of the trysquare is held firmly against the edge of the stock and is drawn toward the user while the point of a pencil is held in the required hole.

To get the full plans and directions for building these Trysquare Pencil Marker CLICK HERE

Closet Shoe Rack(1945’s)


To get the full plans and directions for building these Closet Shoe Rack CLICK HERE

MOTIFS that symbolize the purpose of a household accessory contribute novelty to the object if the motifs are as well chosen as the one for this shoe rack. Here a riding boot has been utilized for each upright supporting two tiers of stretcher dowels on which shoes can be conveniently stored.The uprights will require two pieces of 3/4″ stock, either plywood or solid stock, 12″ wide and 19″ long. Since these members are alike in contour, the stock from which they are to be made may be fastened together temporarily with l 1/4″ brads so that the identical uprights may be cut out as a single unit. The brads used for this purpose should be located outside that portion of the stock used for the boot.

A full-size pattern of the boot may be laid out on a sheet of paper and then be transferred to the stock with the aid of carbon paper, or the outline may be drawn directly on the wood. The laying out of a paper pattern is preferable as this method will eliminate the need of sanding off the graph squares which would have to be drawn on the stock. The locations of the 1/2″ holes to receive the dowel stretchers should be established on the pattern so they can be transferred to the stock before the wood is cut to shape. After the pattern has been traced on the stock, the four 1/2″ holes that are to take the dowels should be bored through both pieces of wood. The stock for the uprights is cut to shape on the band saw or jig saw. Sawed edges are finished smooth with a fife and sandpaper.

The length of the dowels on which the shoes are to rest will depend on the number or pairs that are to be stored. Each pair of men’s shoes will require about 9″ of dowel. A full length dowel which measures 36″ long will provide space for four pairs of men’s shoes on each shelf. The dowels are cut to length and are then glued in the hole provided in each upright. The assembled rack should be given a coat of shellac. When this coat has dried, a coat of light brown enamel should be applied to the entire piece. The laces, eyes, soles and heels of the boots may be drawn with dark brown or black enamel.

To get the full plans and directions for building these Closet Shoe Rack CLICK HERE

Simple Home-Made Oven Makes Plastics Easy to Work(1945’s)


To get the full plans and directions for building these Simple Home-Made Oven Makes Plastics to Easy Work CLICK HERE

CRAFTSMEN who have had experience with thermoplastics such as Lucite and Plexiglas have learned that these materials can be bent and molded into interesting shapes. When heated, these plastics become as pliable as leather. Heating has usually been done in a kitchen oven, as this was the only available source of indirect heat; but the handicap encountered in utilizing the oven has restricted the class of work that could be accomplished, inasmuch as the forming process had to be carried on in the kitchen, very near to the oven. The loss of heat in a thermoplastic is quite rapid in the first seconds and this drop may be sufficiently great to prevent successful molding if too much time elapses between oven and form.

Now, with the development of this simple oven which makes use of an in frared ray lamp, it is possible to construct an oven for heating plastics right in the shop. Such an oven consists of a length of stovepipe set in a stand which holds the lamp at one end and provides a sliding cover, or door, at the other end. The oven shown in the photographs and drawing has been designed around an infrared lamp having a reflector of 7″ diameter. Construction of the unit should not be started until the lamp has been obtained. The groove cut in one of the end pieces to hold the reflector can then be made to fit the reflector. Materials required for construction of the oven are a 2-ft. length of stove pipe 7″ in diameter, a piece of asbestos 23″ x 24″, a wooden base measuring 3/4″ x 9″ x 29″, two end pieces 3/4″ x 8″ x 8 1/4″, two pieces 1/2″ x 1″ x 81/4″ for the cover guides, a top stretcher 1/2″ x 2″ x 25″, four wooden turnbuttons  3/8″ x 1/2″ x 1″, a piece of sheet metal 1/32″ x 6 1/2″ x 9″ for the cover, and a strip of wood 1/2″ x 3/4″ x 7 1/2″ for the knob or handle of the sliding metal cover.

Construction of the oven is started with the end pieces. Each of these pieces is to be set up in the lathe on a faceplate in order to turn the grooves that are to take the stovepipe and light reflector. The inside face of each piece must have a groove for the stovepipe. The outside face of one end piece must also have a recess for the reflector. Beyond the recess the center area is cut out entirely. The center of the groove* is located at a point 4″ from one end and 4″ from the edge. At these points, a small pilot hole is bored.The wood is mounted on a center screw faceplate and is set up in the lathe. A groove having an outside diameter of 7″ which is equivalent to the diameter of the reflector is cut in the face to a depth of 1/8″. The width of the groove should be at least 3/8″. The stock is then reversed on the faceplate so a groove of the same diameter can be cut in the inside face to a depth of 1/4″ to take the stovepipe as in Fig. 1. The center area, 6 1/2″ in diameter, is removed on a jig saw as in Fig. 2. The other end member will require a 7″ x 1/4″ groove cut in the inside face only, to take the stovepipe. A hole 6 1/2″ in diameter is cut also in the center of the second piece.

The finished end members are attached to the base with 1 1/2″ No. 8 flat head screws in holes bored and counter sunk in the base. After one of the end members has been fastened to the base, the stovepipe is placed in position and the second end member is attached to the base. The top stretcher is fastened to the end members with 1 1/4″ No. 7  flat head screws. The four turn buttons required to hold the reflector in place are shaped as shown in the sketch. A hole to take a 1″ No. 6 round head screw is bored in each button. The buttons are fastened to the end member so that they will engage the rim of the reflector and hold it in place as in Fig. 4. Each cover guide has a 1/16″ x 1/4″ rabbet cut along one edge to take the sheet metal cover. These guides are fastened to the end member with 1″ No. 6 flat head screws. The strip of wood that acts as the handle for the cover is attached to the metal with 1/2″ No. 3 round head screws set in holes drilled through the metal.

The asbestos covering is wrapped around the outside of the pipe where it is secured with friction tape as in Fig. 3. In use, the oven will have to be preheated a few minutes before the plastic is placed inside. For quickest results, small pieces of plastic should be placed near the end of the oven where the lamp is located.

To get the full plans and directions for building these Simple Home-Made Oven Makes Plastics to Easy Work CLICK HERE

Hot Dish Mats(1945’s)


To get the full plans and directions for building these Hot Dish Mats  CLICK HERE

MANY a high finish on a dining room table has been ruined by hot dishes. The appearance of cloudy white spots is a fairly certain sign that adequate protection of the finish has been neglected. To prevent further discoloration of valued tables the craftsman should provide hot dish mats made of materials that are poor conductors of heat. Two such materials that are practical for hot dish mats are celotex and masonite. They are good insulating materials and are firm enough to withstand prolonged use.

For complete protection it is advisable to make several mats varying in size and shape to match the dishes. Circular mats are practical for round dishes; oval-shaped mats are more useful for platters. The material used for the mats may be of any thickness from 1/4″ to 1/2″. Oval mats will require stock 6″ wide and 9″ long, while circular mats can be made of stock 6″ square. The desired shape, either oval or circular, is laid out on the stock, but is not cut out until the scalloped edge has been laid out. To do this it will be necessary to divide the circumference into a number of equal parts. It will be found far easier to mark off one quarter section at a time rather than attempt to work the entire circumference as a single unit. The divisions are marked with a pair of dividers.

Without impairing the value of a plate mat an attractive design can be pierced in the center area. For the illustrated mat a pineapple design was chosen because it is the symbol of hospitality. The pierced pineapple design will require the laying out of a fullsize pattern. The use of graph squares will simplify the work of reproducing a full-size design from the accompanying drawing. The completed outline is transferred to the stock.

The work of cutting the mat to shape should be done on a jigsaw equipped with a fine-toothed blade to eliminate the need of excessive filing or sandpapering to finish the edges. The pierced design will require the boring of a small hole somewhere with in the area that is to be removed in order to pass the jigsaw blade.

Completed mats may be left natural, but if some sort of protective coat is desired, an application of heat-resistant varnish may be given. This type of  varnish is made with a bakelite base and can be obtained at paint stores.

To get the full plans and directions for building these Hot Dish Mats  CLICK HERE

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