A. Neely Hall was a skilled craftsman who wrote a syndicated newspaper column in the early 1900s and whose ideas eventually became the basis for a family-run business selling woodworking plans and craft patterns. He also authored several books, encouraging boys to use their leisure time working with their hands to positive and practical ends, and spend time in the outdoors. Here are 4 of his handicraft books for boys — free!
Not all of the plans and ideas in his books will fit each family. But as a former Boy Scout Scoutmaster and an honorary life member of the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Hall has provided enough material to appeal to and encourage most young men.
1. The Boy Craftsman: Practical and Profitable Ideas for a Boy’s Leisure Hours
Begins with setting up the workshop, tool selection, and the proper handling of tools. Then moves on to making general repairs around the house (no, we don’t have much need for renewing window ropes or an ash-sifter — but these projects should spark ideas for ways in which the young man can be helpful around the house). Other areas covered include the boy’s room (with plans for practical, but beautiful furniture), making and furnishing a doll house, a printing-press, club house, log cabin, and a canoe, among many other ideas.
A boy should not expect to draw upon his father’s purse for everything his fancy desires. It is important that he learn to earn his spending money, for in doing so he becomes independent and more careful as to how he invests it. Having had the experience of working, the average boy learns to so appreciate the value of hard-earned money that it is pretty certain he will spend it only for something with which he can earn more or which will prove useful to him in his work and play.
“The Boy Craftsman” has been undertaken with a view of helping boys with their problems of earning money, as well as furnishing recreative and entertaining work, and to this end the first portion has been devoted to suggestions for the carrying on of a number of small business enterprises, and the second and third parts to outdoor and indoor pastimes for all seasons of the year.
2. Handicraft for Handy Boys: Practical Plans for Work and Play With Many Ideas for Earning Money
“Companion volume” to the book above, contains ideas for the younger and older young man with “the proper instruction to help him grow more proficient.” Broken into two parts (Autumn and Winter Handicraft, and Spring and Summer Handicraft), this book covers working with wood, wood finishing, drafting, simple furniture, wireless telegraph, bob sled, airplanes, camping equipment, and homemade instruments, among many others.
3. The Handy Boy: A Modern Handy Book of Practical and Profitable Pastimes
Covers a backyard workshop, workbench, clocks, electricity, electrical and mechanical toys, Christmas ideas, model airplanes, motors, kites, camping, tree forts, and gardening, among many others areas.
The handy boy becomes a handy man — a skilled mechanic, a practical business man, a thorough, accurate worker. That is why it is so important for a boy to learn to be handy, and why he should be encouraged in the pursuit of playtime pastimes which will develop handiness.
4. Home-made Toys for Girls and Boys: Wooden and Cardboard Toys, Mechanical and Electric Toys
Bringing together ideas from his other volumes and various newspaper and magazine articles, in this book the author collects plans and materials for toy-making. Plans include windmills, model airplanes, kites, motor boats, water wheels, railways, mechanical toys, geared toys, electrical toys, dollhouse with furnishings, and many others. The carefully crafted plans and diagrams in this book make it particularly appealing.
Few boys and girls are given a one hundred dollar assortment of toys at a time, yet any one can own a collection of this value who is willing to spend the time necessary to follow the instructions given in this book. Probably, though, some of the toys will be wanted now, and the others one, two or three seasons hence, because, you see, the book is an all-the-year-round handy book with suggestions for every season….
Home-made toys are generally longer lived than store toys because the boy or girl who expends a certain amount of effort producing gives them better care. Home-made toys have a greater value than boughten ones because there is as much fun making them as playing with them. Doing something interesting, getting satisfying results out of the work, putting an idea into tangible form, and having a toy to show of which it can be said, “I made this all myself,”—these are the factors in toy-making so fascinating to boys and girls.