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Articles by Gary Katz

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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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Stabila R-Beam Levels

For my first ten or fifteen years in carpentry, Stabila levels were mythical. Most of the time, you couldn’t even buy one, even if you could afford the hefty price tag. There just weren’t many around—only the most discriminating stores sold them, and they were always in short supply. Today you can buy a Stabila level at every professional tool store and lumber dealer. Read the full article…

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My New Home: Choosing a Contractor

Early last winter, after searching for more than two years, I finally found a new home in Oregon, outside of Medford, near the small town of Ruch. It took a long time to find this place because I couldn’t decide where I wanted to live and once I did, I had a hard time finding a place I could afford—a small, older home that hadn’t been remodeled. After the “big boom,” houses like that became pretty rare. Read the full article…

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