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Lonestar Restoration Be careful what you wish for!
Dressing-up Roll-up Doors My new shop doors
Building a Tractor Barn From a Horse Stable
Best Practices for Exterior Trim Not as simple as it was 'back in the day'
Calavera 5# Gear Bags A new organizational offering from a new company
How I Designed and Built... ...a Traditional Flying Portico

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Calavera 5# Gear Bags

I have organizational envy. When it comes to a well thought out shop, trailer, jobsite or truck, I’m easily impressed. Even though (or perhaps because) I’m usually somewhat disorganized by nature, over the years I’ve tried to spend extra time and attention attempting to overcome this shortcoming as it relates to my business. I’ve tested many organizational systems for tools, hardware, and fasteners. Read the full article…

My Living Room Wall: Part 2

In “My Living Room Wall: Part 1,” I documented the design concepts, the firewood box, and the stone mantel-shelf; now we’re onto the cabinets and shelves.

Installing the tops and trim, the face frames and doors, as well as the tapered columns, took a lot of thought and a lot of time. Other than baseboard molding, I didn’t want to install any scribe molding or trim on top of the face frames, so the wood tops had to go in first. After calling around to a few local lumber mills, I found two 8/4 x 14-in. pieces of old growth Douglas fir, one 16-ft. long, one 14-ft. long. I bought them both: one advantage—besides world-class steelhead fishing—to living in Southern Oregon. Read the full article…

Dressing-up Roll-up Doors

I designed my new shop to look like an old horse barn, so it would blend in with the rural area of Southern Oregon where I now live. Being from Los Angeles, I went all the way with insulation and energy efficiency when I designed and built the shop. I even put in a radiant slab so my timid feet would stay warm in the cold, cold winters (it gets down in the low 20s here; sometimes even below 20 degrees!). So when it came to the 12-ft. wide x 9-ft. tall roll-up door, in order to get a good R-rating, I knew I had to use an insulated steel door. I found one rated at R-17, but it looked like something you’d see on a commercial building. Read the full article…

My Living Room Wall: Part 1

I’m fortunate not to be a packrat. I know many people who are. My father would never throw away anything! Which is probably one reason I’m so averse to saving stuff. I’ve even thrown away a few things I had to buy again! But there is one thing I’ve always had a problem with—books. My entire life, I’ve collected books. In fact, I still have most of my favorite first reads from when I was a kid. Read the full article…

Lonestar Restoration

Be careful what you wish for!

I’m sure you’ve all watched shows on HGTV or DIY and, like me, you’ve probably wondered if the hosts know anything about building, if they know anything about flipping a house quick and cheap. Now here I am about to have my own show; it’s my turn, and suddenly I understand the challenges of TV land. Read the full article…

Madison Area Technical College

A premier cabinet-making and millwork program

Patrick Molzahn, the program director of the Cabinet Making and Millwork Program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin, is no stranger to hard work. Hired in 1998, and taking on the lead teaching position by 2000, Molzahn recognized one of those magical moments in life few people are prepared for and fewer are offered—a moment where Patrick could effect a tremendous creative change in an education program, in the students who attend the program, and in his own life, too. Due to his passion and determination, and his interest in “lean” practices, Molzahn turned a bare-bones, one-year program into a much sought-after educational opportunity for students interested in fine woodworking, as a career and a craft. Read the full article…

Turning Stair Balusters

Design, Tools, & Lathe Work

My wife, Helen, is a grammar school teacher—third and fourth grades. For over twenty years, every weekday evening, as soon as dinner is finished, Helen carries a pile of papers to the dinner table and sets about grading each one, with diligence and care, because in the end—regardless of the ruling political party or that year’s favorite flavor of curriculum—Helen’s responsibility is to the children, her students.

Carpenters have a similar responsibility—though assuredly not one with such monumental impact. Read the full article…

Improve Moldings and Increase Referrals

Back in the mid-1980s, my brother and I were growing tired of installing 1 1/2-in. clamshell casing, and 2 1/2-in. streamline baseboard. As finish contractors, that’s all we did on every job, day after day (after we had installed the doors and windows). By then we’d nailed off miles of small trim in thousands of apartments and hundreds of single-family homes. The market was starting to soften up about that time, and one of the contractors we worked for needed an edge against other spec builders in the same subdivision. We suggested upgrading the moldings in one of his homes. Not the whole house, mind you, only the first floor. We told him we’d do it for our cost, just to prove a point. Read the full article…

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