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Articles by Wm. Todd Murdock

Eave Returns: Interpreting GYHR Details

Co-written by Gary Katz

Over the years, several articles on eave returns have appeared in the Journal of Light Construction and Fine Homebuilding, and extensive discussions have occurred on website forums, too. But something about the details in those articles and discussions always seemed missing or confused. In 2007, Get Your House Right (GYHR) was published, and finally carpenters and architects had a reference that filled in the missing details and explained basic rules and proportions for eave returns. Understanding and following the advice in that book isn’t always easy. In this article, we’ll examine and expand on those details, and we’ll illustrate one step-by-step construction approach for a poor man’s return, too. Read the full article…

Circular Based Arches – Part 2: Three-Centered Arches

Two-centered and four-centered arches share something in common—a pointed peak. It’s not surprising that both are commonly found in Gothic and Gothic-inspired architecture. But a three-centered arch—sometimes called a ‘basket-handle arch’ or ‘Anse de panier’—closely resembles an ellipse, which puts it in a field of its own. Read the full article…

Circular-Based Arches – Part 1: One-Centered and Two-Centered Arches

I’ve toured a lot of historic homes and seen some extraordinary arches—door jambs, windows, passageways. In reading about historic architecture, especially Gothic and colonial styles, I’ve come across some beautiful arch work. But those once-common elements are not often incorporated into millwork today. Sure, sometimes the carpentry techniques are more difficult, and too costly, but the problem I’ve recognized is more one of design. Read the full article…

An Introduction to SketchUp for Finish Carpenters

It works the way a carpenter thinks.

If you are tired of working out trim details on a scrap of wood or making shop drawings with graph paper and a ruler, SketchUp is your answer. Unlike most computer-aided design programs you may have tried, SketchUp is very intuitive and works the way a carpenter thinks.

SketchUp has a simple set of tools that you can use to create anything from a rough mock-up to a very detailed drawing with 1/64″ precision. How much detail you want is up to you. The ability to convey your ideas to customers quickly and to produce working shop drawings is what SketchUp can do for you. Are you intrigued? What if I told you that it’s FREE! Read the full article…

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