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Articles by Gary Katz

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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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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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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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Out-of-sight Exterior Pocket Doors

At my new home, I built a small guest cabin down by the river (reservations are booked years in advance, so good luck with that!). I wanted to open up the west wall of the cabin, along the river, to both the sight and the sound of the water. But I couldn’t afford a 12-ft. wide commercially manufactured sliding door unit. And besides, I wanted it to look cool. So I made the unit myself. Read the full article…

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Installing Baseboard

The joinery in baseboard forms the foundation for nearly all the joinery in finish carpentry, which makes perfect sense because baseboard is meant to replicate the foundation—the plinth—of a classical column. Though casing is the first molding profile noticed in a home, and often the first molding installed in a home, baseboard is usually the first molding that an apprentice carpenter learns to cut, and for good reason. Read the full article…

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Finding the Right Angle

Co-written by Mike Sloggatt

Around 2,500 years ago, a Greek philosopher we all met in high school named Pythagoras discovered a theorem that can make life easy for carpenters and contractors—if we just knew how to use it, and how to find right angles!

Most of us remember our ABC’s from high school, and we remember the Pythagorean Theorem, too, which applies to any 90-degree triangle. Read the full article…

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Problem-free Prefit Doors

I’ve been hanging doors for over thirty-five years, and writing about it for nearly twenty-five. For many years, I approached door installs differently every time (like most carpenters). After all, there are so many steps, and there is a lot you need to watch for! It’s tough to do it the same way every time. But a door is a door is a door. Which means unless you’re doing exactly the same thing every time you install one, you’re wasting valuable energy and time. Read the full article…

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