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Articles by Gary Katz

Building Custom Gates

Between 1980 and 1994 I moved ten times—one fixer after the other, and a few rentals, too (fixers aren’t always profitable, even for a carpenter). When I moved into my current home, I promised myself I’d stay a while, and one of the first projects I wanted to tackle was replacing the gates. I accomplished the first goal, but it took a while before I got to the gates. Read the full article…

Keith Mathewson & Seattle Fine Woodworking

A “From the Road” Shop Tour

(With Keith Mathewson and Tom Brewer)

Last summer, while Tom Brewer and I were doing Roadshows in Washington state, we stopped by and visited with Keith Mathewson at his shop in Seattle. Keith specializes in custom woodworking, and he shares his shop with a few like-minded woodworkers. Everything that goes out the door of Seattle Fine Woodworking is a one-of-a-kind custom creation. Read the full article…

The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades

Education with a purpose; where no one is left behind

In the modern world, we value college degrees over trade-school know-how; and our educational system—and our country—pays the price. The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades is a good example of effective education, education that actually works, where, truly, no child is left behind; and where success—both for educators and students—is easy to track: at Williamson, nearly every graduate who wants a job gets a job, and that is a great measure of success. Read the full article…

Hull-Oakes Sawmill

Hull-Oakes Lumber may be the last steam-powered commercial saw mill in the country, and they’re one of the few mills capable of cutting large timbers up to 85 ft. long. The mill has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. Large long timbers are still used in railroad trestles, the restoration of historic structures, and for the spars and masts of ships. By coincidence, the day I arrived the mill was cutting an 80-ft. long timber for the restoration of the C.A. Thayer, an early 20th century three-masted schooner used to transport lumber along the West Coast. Read the full article…

Casing Doors: Part 1

The trim that surrounds a door frame is called casing, and it’s always installed before baseboard and chair rail because they have to butt against it. Casing is also the easiest type of molding to install because the joinery is simple, making it a perfect first project.

I’ll start off by explaining the details of casing joinery and describing how to measure for new casing around a door frame. I also talk about making a cut list, so when you cut your casing it will be perfect the first time. Read the full article…

Sharp Matters at Windsor Mill

Remembering Ray Flynn

I first visited the WindsorONE mill in Willits, CA about ten years ago. Don Dunkley, the events coordinator for JLC LIVE, arranged the tour for a group of show presenters. I remember driving up there in a van with Tom Carty, Mike Sloggatt, Don Dunkley, Tom Brewer, and a few other guys. The trip is still vivid, mostly because Tom Carty got carsick in the back of the van. Read the full article…

Book Review: Traditional American Rooms

A resource for classical details

I apologize. I read this book more than a year ago and wanted to write a review but never made the time, and I should have. Sure, we’re all busy and short of time, but the truth is, if something is important to you, you make the time, even if it means sacrificing something else that isn’t as important—at least for a little while. And that’s often what it takes to read a good book. This is one I recommend highly to anyone interested in classical architecture and the design of traditional American homes. Read the full article…

Glass Elegance

The Art of Etching Glass with Sand

What’s a story on etched glass doing in a carpentry magazine? Good question. I don’t know the exact answer. All I know is that every aspect of construction interests me, and when I met Donna Burrows and visited her studio, I knew that other readers would be interested in seeing what I saw. Maybe it’s something about craftsmanship. Read the full article…

The New & Improved Bosch Angle Finder

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been whining about Bosch’s Angle Finder for years. I mean, I even whined during my presentations at JLC Live shows: “How come the ‘Hold’ button doesn’t hold anything when you press it!?”

But the folks at Bosch must have been listening because they’ve improved their Angle Finder—finally! And while they haven’t done everything I would have liked (it would be nice if they’d put a key pad right on the tool, so you could just key in the crown molding spring angle), they have taken the tool to the next level. Read the full article…

Photographing Your Work

Taking process pictures on the job or in the shop

There’s something about photography that’s related to carpentry, I just can’t quite put my shutter finger on it. But I know a lot of photographers who are carpenters. I think it has something to do with using tools. After all, a camera is just another tool: in order to use one, you have to know how it works. Read the full article…

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