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Articles by Jed Dixon

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Get Your House Right

It’s easy to distinguish between a two-hundred-year-old colonial house and a modern imitation—and not just because McMansions are puffed-up and super-sized. There’s a mysterious quality in a well-designed home—grace, proportion, something almost ineffable about the way they look “right.” Many older homes share that mysterious quality; few modern ones do. Read the full article…

Grinding Custom Shaper Knives

Learning to make your own tools is a step up for the serious woodworking carpenter

Most of my work is at the high-end of the New England custom home market. For the jobs I do, in Boston brownstones that even today sell for several million dollars, there are no off-the-shelf parts—everything is completely custom, or an exact reproduction of work done in the 18th or 19th centuries. Read the full article…

Story Poles for Stairs

A simple tool takes the guess work — and a lot of the brain work — out of making safe comfortable stairs.

Every time I’m asked to bid or to build a set of stairs, I unroll the plans, look at the details, and shake my head. Architects rarely include and often they don’t even have the basic information I need, the few specifications that allow me to build a staircase that will meet the stringent requirements of building code in my area. Read the full article…