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Wooden Storm Doors Another take
Low-Budget Mechanized Biscuit Joinery
The Chappell Square A revolutionary approach to a commonly used tool
Swirl-Free Sanding A new tool tip
Festool CT Wings Soon to be released
Power Tank C02 Kits Understanding and refilling C02 tanks
Pattern Books from Andersen Windows
Waterproof Windows with HydroGap

TIC Merchandise

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Waterproof Windows with HydroGap

Some people (mostly folks who live in big cities!) think that builders who live in small towns are behind the curve when it comes to technology and better building practices. But the truth is that every state in the U.S. is actively improving building codes, and through new requirements on everything from decks to framing to air infiltration to housewrap, even small towns in America are getting up to speed. Read the full article…

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Pattern Books from Andersen Windows

I saw my first pattern book while visiting the Huntington Library Rare Books department in 1992 or 93. The book was Designs by Inigo Jones, written by William Kent and published in 1727. By the time I opened that book, I’d been working as a carpenter for more than fifteen years and specializing in finish carpentry for nearly ten years. Looking back, it’s amazing that I was able to survive without any understanding of architectural design, in a profession dependent upon architectural design. Read the full article…

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Power Tank C02 Kits

In 2008, I was installing a kitchen every week, on average. As you can probably imagine, I was bringing in a lot of equipment each time to set up shop: miter saw, work bench, table saw, screw guns, levels, and of course nail guns, compressor, hose, and cord—even though there isn’t a lot of need for air guns in kitchen installs, you still need them. Read the full article…

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Festool CT Wings

The first time I used a Bosch sliding compound miter saw, with up-front bevel lock, I didn’t like the saw at all—it weighed too much. But after working with it for six months, I loved it (as long as someone else would carry it!). And when I first starting using a Kapex, I didn’t like it at all. Other than the fact that I could carry it myself, I just wasn’t comfortable using it. Within a month, I loved it. Tools are like that. You have to use them before you really get to known them, and some you end up loving. Read the full article…

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The Chappell Square

A revolutionary approach to a commonly used tool

Every carpenter has his favorite tool—the one he’ll turn the truck around to get because he left it at home. A lot of craftsmen have some kind of antique tool they really don’t use, but think it’s cool to have. (Some of us bought that collectable new!) Just go on eBay and do a search for “collectable carpenters tools.” There are tools online that don’t list a function, because the seller has no idea what it was used for! There are thousands of tools that have come and gone. Some were gadgets that some clever carpenter thought he could retire on; some were replaced with modern technology. My personal test of a tool’s worthiness is whether I would replace it if I lost it or broke it. Read the full article…

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Low-Budget Mechanized Biscuit Joinery

Most finish work is a matter of repetition. And if you don’t come up with a good system for all that repetition, you’ll never make any real money. I had one job where we had to glue up almost 100 panels made from a mixture of recycled beech and maple. We wanted to biscuit all those glue joints, but the last thing anyone on my crew wanted to do was plunge a hand-held biscuit joiner a few thousand times. And the last thing I wanted to do was invest in a big-dollar tool that I might not have a real need for again. Read the full article…

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Greek Revival and Italianate Trim

Years ago, in a Fine Homebuilding article, I explained how to build corbels for an Italianate mirror frame. I ran out of pages in that short article before I could discuss how to layout the pediment. I have plenty of room here, so I’ll cover that part of the story, and I’ll include all the material that we couldn’t fit into the Fine Homebuilding Master Carpenter article. Read the full article…

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Custom Rosette Head Blocks

Thirty years ago, if you needed an old house head block with a bullseye or rosette in it, you would have had to buy one pre-made or seek out one of the few rosette cutters on the market. Either way, it would’ve been too small for a typical renovation of an old house. Today, there are some rosette cutters that have interchangeable blades with the ability to have custom knives cut. But they’re too expensive, especially if you only need a few. And rosette cutters are hard to use on a drill press because they tend to chatter, ruining the work. My 1975 Craftsman has a little play in the bearings—it certainly won’t work with a rosette cutter! Read the full article…

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