Subscribe to TIC

Book Review

DVD Review: Roof Framing for the Professional

I got my start in roof framing because I was personally interested in it, and it seemed that there was a lack of local knowledge on the subject. I live in Norway, and almost everything here is trussed. I tried to find some kind of course to take but, as far as I know, there is no course on the subject in Northern Norway, and there are no Norwegian books or DVDs. I had a little experience from my work in the states—on occasion I have helped a friend with roof framing projects, but I was basically just the cut man and far from an expert. Read the full article…

Pattern Books from Andersen Windows

I saw my first pattern book while visiting the Huntington Library Rare Books department in 1992 or 93. The book was Designs by Inigo Jones, written by William Kent and published in 1727. By the time I opened that book, I’d been working as a carpenter for more than fifteen years and specializing in finish carpentry for nearly ten years. Looking back, it’s amazing that I was able to survive without any understanding of architectural design, in a profession dependent upon architectural design. Read the full article…

Book Review: A Carpenter’s Life

Soon after Larry Haun published his book, A Carpenter’s Life, I overheard someone complaining that the book was ‘repetitious’. They said: “Larry just keeps saying the same stuff chapter after chapter—take care of the earth, don’t be greedy, care about your neighbors. I thought the book was going to be about carpentry!” I didn’t have the courage to speak up then, but I will now, from the safety of my desk. Yes, Larry Haun’s final, and perhaps most illuminating, book is repetitious—and it should be. Read the full article…

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…

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…

An Award-Winning Letter

“How I built a reputation that is now worth money to me as a builder”
A reprinted article from American Carpenter & Builder, July, 1912.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff K. Burks for the tremendous effort he makes to discover, copy, and share these jewels! Years ago, Jeff introduced me and countless other carpenters to C Howard Walker’s seminal book, The Theory of Moldings. Here, Jeff provides us with a telescopic view of the past: timeless lessons that carpenters should heed today about building better business practices. Read the full article…

Shop Class as Soulcraft

A book every craftsman should read

“What sort of personality does one need to have, as a twenty-first-century mechanic, to tolerate the layers of electronic bullshit that get piled on top of machines?”
–Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: Penquin Press, 2009

I recently taught a class on Mastering the Miter Saw to a group of mixed-age students at the West Valley Occupational Center, near my home in Los Angeles. I’ve volunteered to teach classes there before. The instructors teach drafting, framing, electrical, drywall—a general hands-on course covering everything about construction with blackboard backup. It’s a great program for anyone new to the trades. But I was surprised to find the class stalled by a lack of building materials. One instructor was digging into his own pocket to keep his class going. Read the full article…