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Articles by Gary Katz

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…

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…

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…

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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