In the gray shaded box below is the advice given to wannabe woodworkers in 1930 by Arthur

In the 1938 preface to Things to Make in Your Home Workshop, Wakeling notes that for almost two decades -- taking it back to 1918? -- he has edited the Home Workshop Department of Popular Science Monthly and "five years in directing the National Homeworkshop Guild ". (Be aware that the book itself was written in 1930 by Wakeling and several figures prominent Industrial Arts, including Emanual E Ericson, Herman Hjorth, William W. Klenke, but that Wakeling wrote the book's preface is written in 1938.) For additional details about the manual, Things to Make in Your Home Workshop, click on the link above.


Hammer and nails are in common use in every household. Yet driving nails, the commonest of all mechanical operations, is not often done in such a way as to get the full holding power of the nails. A few plain facts about nails and their uses would, if they were carefully observed by the amateur woodworker, decrease the difficulties encountered and save much effort and subsequent disappointment the failure of joints.

The proper way to hold a hammer is the first important thing to learn. The amateur has the natural feeling that the less of the handle he uses, the less likely he is to miss the nail. The truth of this is not borne out in practice, however, forafter one has become accustomed to holding the hammer handle at the end, as shown in Fig. 8, he will miss the nail if he tries the former method. It is safe to assume that the manufacturers of any good hammer know something about the best length of handle to use.

The angle of a nail hammer or the "hang" of it will have to be sensed from experience. It will not take long before a person will automatically hold his hammer handle just low enough as the hammer strikes the nail.

Source: Arthur Wakeling, ed. Things to Make in Your Home Workshop New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1930, pages 45-46