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Articles by Gary Katz

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…

My Shop Entry Door

I wanted a BIG entry door for my new shop—at least 4/0 x 8/0—so I wouldn’t have to fight carrying materials into the shop. Sure, I installed a 12-ft. wide custom roll-up right next to the entry door, but I open that ‘garage door’ rarely, especially in January, February, August, and September, and barring a big order of sheet goods, I open the roll-up door just to take finished projects out of the shop. But the main door I’d be opening every day, all day long, and I knew I would never find the door of my dreams on a shelf at a store. So I built the door and the jamb myself, as one big pre-hung unit.

Read the full article…

My New Home: Craftsman Style Gate

The last time I built gates, for my old home in L.A., I didn’t spend too much time on the design. My dog was jumping over the top of the old gates and I just wanted to get them built. But this time, with a cattle guard in front of the gate, I didn’t have to worry about the dog, and I wanted the gate to express what I loved about architecture, and I wanted the gate to express the style of architecture I enjoy most. With Todd Murdock’s help, I spent more than a month working on different designs. Read the full article…

Installing Sidelight/Door/Sidelight Units

For the 2014 IBS show, Plastpro asked me to produce a special presentation on installing an SDS unit. They shipped me all the materials so I could practice the presentation and shoot a video before the event. I was kind of surprised when the freight delivery arrived and the package was so small—the entire unit came knocked down, which reminded me of the olden days. Read the full article…

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