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Feature Articles

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Bisquick Cabinets

Once I find something that works, I pretty much stay with it. And the system I’ve used for making simple cabinets is still largely the same. I use multiple shaper setups for making cope-and-stick stile-and-rail doors, raising panels, and other high-end cabinetry projects. But in this article I want to focus on basic cabinet construction using a minimal number of tools—tools that most carpenters already own. Read the full article…

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Raking Cornice: Part 3

Developing and Producing Rake Crown with a Shaper and Band Saw 

The most important part of carpentry is design. If the design isn’t right, if the drawings are mediocre or worse, no amount of joinery skills will save a project from failure. Unfortunately, executing proper drawings prior to cutting wood and creating sawdust isn’t a common component on jobsites today. Read the full article…

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Making a Custom Door

At an almost commodity price

For almost fifteen years I’ve been meeting a friend of mine, Ken, on Friday mornings. He’s retired, but he still does a few small jobs. Sometimes he gets one that is a little over the top and asks me to help. Recently, he pulled out a picture of a door and said, “Do you think we could make one of these?” Another builder friend of his had a client who had to have the door, until they found out the price! Read the full article…

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Timber Framing with Glulams

Over the years, I’ve done my share of beam work, but I didn’t get a taste of real timber framing until a few years ago, during the recession, when a friend and I salvaged an old barn—there wasn’t much work around and the opportunity presented itself. Even though the barn had outlived its useful days and the roof had failed, most of the timber framing was still stable. And here’s why—joinery. Read the full article…

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Installing Sidelight/Door/Sidelight Units

For the 2014 IBS show, Plastpro asked me to produce a special presentation on installing an SDS unit. They shipped me all the materials so I could practice the presentation and shoot a video before the event. I was kind of surprised when the freight delivery arrived and the package was so small—the entire unit came knocked down, which reminded me of the olden days. Read the full article…

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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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Bottom Stair Post and Stringer Deck Connections

When it comes to decks and especially exterior stairs, there are several critical areas that can spell the difference between safe and dangerous construction techniques. For that reason, current code requirements focus on some of those areas. In this article, we’ll look at just one detail: the prescribed method for securing the bottom newel post at the base of a stair.

Read the full article…

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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…

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