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Precision Lasers for Demanding Projects DeWalt DW079LG vs. Stabila LAR120G
Reader Question An Exterior Siding Puzzle
My New Patio Stamped Concrete
FastCap Tour Lean & Mean
Framing A Patio Cover ...making something truly memorable
Ten Rod Road The Journal of a Pro-Remodel
Custom Tool Tote ...a good friend

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Custom Tool Tote

Years ago, after all the trips back and forth to my truck for small hand tools began to tire me out more than the work, I started carrying a milk crate, fitted with a shoulder sling. But all the smallest tools, and the screws, driver bits, drill bits, wrenches, etc., ended up in a confused mess at the bottom.

I needed something I could organize and something I could stand on, something that would get me to the very top of a 6/8 door, something that would help me reach the pins on an 8-ft. door, something that would let me see over the top shelf in a closet. And I wanted something I could sit on, too, while chiseling tricky mortises in a jamb or drinking a cup of coffee on a break. Read the full article…

Ten Rod Road: The Journal of a Pro-Remodel

Not too long ago both of my wife’s parents passed and after about six months she took charge and decided to have their modest house fixed up and put on the market. A week later, sales agreements were signed with a 30-day closing date. Now the pressure was on to find a new place for her youngest brother who would need a new place to live.

My brother-in-law’s new place needed to be nearby, small, maintenance free, low cost and preferably not an apartment or condominium type complex.

As luck would have it, or at least that’s what it seemed like at the time, my wife noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of a very small property less than two miles from our house. Read the full article…

Framing A Patio Cover

Most contractors and carpenters are familiar with ‘once in a lifetime jobs.’ For some of us, a once-in-a-lifetime job is simply having a client that appreciates your work, and when the job is finished, doesn’t complain about your final invoice (with all the extras!). Instead, they just write you a check and say thank you, from the heart.

But this article isn’t about one of those once-in-a-lifetime jobs. This is about one of those jobs where you have to stretch your skills, learn techniques you never imagined using, and make something that’s truly memorable. That was the experience I’ve had working with Gary Katz, especially building his new patio cover—a faux timber-frame challenge of design, layout, and joinery. Read the full article…

FastCap Tour: Lean & Mean

My brother is a year older than me, and because of that, he’s far more experienced and much smarter. But the thing that bugs me is that everything always has to be ‘just so’ with him. Sometimes, when I think about my brother I remember the last words in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: “…each in its ordered place.” Even the pencils and pens on my brother’s desk have to be ‘just so’ before he’ll answer a ringing phone; his door bench is the same way: every tool has to be razor sharp and in its proper place before he’ll start work on a door.

It took me years to understand why. I have to thank Paul Akers, from FastCap, for helping me see my brother in a totally new way. Read the full article…

My New Patio: Stamped Concrete

When I bought my little house in southern Oregon, I knew I’d be removing the existing concrete patio and the funky patio cover. The concrete had been mixed in a wheelbarrow and poured in sections, maybe over a decade or two, at least that was the forensic evidence. In some places the finish was smooth as glass, in others there was a heavy broom texture, and in a few sections, no finish at all. It was cracked and heaved. Read the full article…

Installing Exterior Doors in HVHZ Zones

This article might not appeal to all TiC readers, but that’s not the point of THISisCarpentry. Our goal isn’t to reach everyone. Our mission is to provide quality educational material for carpenters, even if it’s only a few of them. Still, I expect that even if you never have to install doors to meet HVHZ code, you’ll learn a few interesting things from this demonstration, things that will probably apply to normal door installation, too. Read the full article…

Precision Lasers for Demanding Projects

DeWalt DW079LG vs. Stabila LAR120G

Installing trim packages in luxury custom homes today requires a stricter level of precision than ever before. When millwork is meticulously shop-drawn room by room and trim details flow between spaces, it’s crucial to have agreed-upon reference lines that are understood and trusted by multiple trades. Typically the General Contractor will set a benchmark, or horizontal axis line, at 48 or 60 in. AFF (above finish floor). Floor and ceiling planes are determined from this line, as well as door heads, horizontal trim elevations, and device heights. Grid lines may also be established on the floor to keep finish wall planes square and parallel. Collectively, all of these lines are referred to as axis lines, and serve as the three-dimensional starting point for locating finishes. Read the full article…

Sanford & Hawley: A Family Tradition

Rarely a day goes by, especially when I’m on the road doing lumberyard events, where I don’t pinch myself and acknowledge how lucky I’ve been. I’m not talking about a career or an investment portfolio, or how big the steelhead was that I caught last summer. I’m talking about the people I’ve been fortunate to meet because of the Katz Roadshow: the carpenters and contractors; the manufacturers—marketing, production, and sales representatives; and especially the folks at the lumberyards we work with.

Sanford & Hawley is a perfect example. Read the full article…

On the Road: Jay-K Independent Lumber

We recently did another Katz Roadshow Finish Carpentry event at Jay-K Independent Lumber, in New Hartford, NY. This yard is one of our favorite Katz Roadshow hosts—these folks really get it; they want to help their customers by providing quality educational events. During one of the breaks, Jonas Kelly, the current President of the yard, suggested that before leaving town, we stop by their Woodshop. He said their shop foreman might surprise me. Boy, was he right. But first, some background. Read the full article…

Rules for Proportion

From the Greeks to the Golden Rectangle

Co-authored by Todd Murdock

When it comes to rules of proportion, I never understood the whole picture. At least not until recently, not before spending the last three years studying the classical orders with Todd Murdock—one SketchUp rendition at a time. Now I know why I had such a hard time understanding the rules of proportion. There are none. They don’t exist. But there are guidelines. Read the full article…