Subscribe to TIC
Ten Rod Road The Journal of a Pro-Remodel
Custom Tool Tote ...a good friend
Ten Rod Road Episode 2
Hunting Miters ...a better choice
Cutting & Coping Crown Molding Every cope can fit perfectly on the first try.
Warwick Area Career and Technical School A construction trades program in Warwick, RI
Book Review: From the Top Plates Up A Production Roof Framer’s Journey
Making a Murphy Bed A critical, space-saving project.

TIC Merchandise

Book Review: From the Top Plates Up

If you’re building today you’ve probably succumbed to the demands of the ubiquitous smartphone, being assaulted with job-related texts, emails, and notifications—not to mention Instagrams from Mike Guertin and tips from Gary Katz on THISisCarpentry.

As much as I love technology, it can be a relief to take an afternoon off, and just hold and read a book. This is exactly what I did when my roof framing expert and friend, Will Holladay, emailed me asking if I would review his latest book, “From the Top Plates Up: A Production Roof Framer’s Journey.”

Read the full article…

Warwick Area Career and Technical School

As a kid, Michael wasn’t known as a strong student. He got into trouble a lot, or maybe trouble found him. “My parents weren’t saving for college,” Michael says, “they were saving for bail.”

Michael Haynes grew up on a family farm in a blue-collar rural area of Warwick, Rhode Island. His parents worked hard to make ends meet. Both his father and uncle built their own houses from the ground up. Michael learned how to work hard and how to work with his hands.

When Haynes entered high school, he decided to combine traditional learning with technical studies in construction by attending West Bay Vocational School (WBVS) in Coventry, Rhode Island. Like a lot of tradespeople, Michael discovered he wasn’t a poor student, he simply learned better with his hands than with a chalkboard. In fact, at WBVS, Haynes excelled at learning and soon found a trade that could support his future. Read the full article…

Cutting & Coping Crown Molding

Raise your hand if you have ever cut what you thought was a perfect crown cope only to find out it was open on the top or bottom? I’m raising my hand, too!

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about how copes work: for many carpenters, pressured by the need to ‘get the job done,’ cope joints are mysterious puzzles they haven’t the time or the patience to solve. But if we understand what makes a coped joint work then every cope can fit perfectly on the first try. Read the full article…

Hunting Miters

Carpentry is more than a job for me, more than just a trade, and more than a profession, too. Carpentry is rooted deep within me, along with my Swedish origin. I know this for a fact because I spend more time appreciating other carpenters’ work, and appreciating architectural ornamentation, than I spend doing anything else in my life—other than installing finish work, of course.

I return to Europe regularly, to visit family—at least that’s the excuse I use, but in truth, the siren of historic architecture lures me. I’ve taken so many photographs of architectural details that I can’t keep track of them. One detail that has always intrigued me is the hunting miter—a curved miter joint used when straight moldings and curved moldings intersect. Read the full article…

Ten Rod Road: Episode 2

Some of you suspected the same thing that I did. And we were right to be suspicious. The reason I had so much trouble getting the real estate broker to accept my offer was because there was another buyer! Apparently, another investor was so sure the deal was done that he hired a structural engineer to evaluate the house and submit a report to the town stating the home was unsafe for habitation. That was the strategy! If the town issued an “Order to Demolish,” then they’d have to issue a permit to replace the existing home. But the “Order to Demolish” came to ME! Read the full article…

Custom Tool Tote

Years ago, after all the trips back and forth to my truck for small hand tools began to tire me out more than the work, I started carrying a milk crate, fitted with a shoulder sling. But all the smallest tools, and the screws, driver bits, drill bits, wrenches, etc., ended up in a confused mess at the bottom.

I needed something I could organize and something I could stand on, something that would get me to the very top of a 6/8 door, something that would help me reach the pins on an 8-ft. door, something that would let me see over the top shelf in a closet. And I wanted something I could sit on, too, while chiseling tricky mortises in a jamb or drinking a cup of coffee on a break. Read the full article…

Ten Rod Road: The Journal of a Pro-Remodel

Not too long ago both of my wife’s parents passed and after about six months she took charge and decided to have their modest house fixed up and put on the market. A week later, sales agreements were signed with a 30-day closing date. Now the pressure was on to find a new place for her youngest brother who would need a new place to live.

My brother-in-law’s new place needed to be nearby, small, maintenance free, low cost and preferably not an apartment or condominium type complex.

As luck would have it, or at least that’s what it seemed like at the time, my wife noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of a very small property less than two miles from our house. Read the full article…

Framing A Patio Cover

Most contractors and carpenters are familiar with ‘once in a lifetime jobs.’ For some of us, a once-in-a-lifetime job is simply having a client that appreciates your work, and when the job is finished, doesn’t complain about your final invoice (with all the extras!). Instead, they just write you a check and say thank you, from the heart.

But this article isn’t about one of those once-in-a-lifetime jobs. This is about one of those jobs where you have to stretch your skills, learn techniques you never imagined using, and make something that’s truly memorable. That was the experience I’ve had working with Gary Katz, especially building his new patio cover—a faux timber-frame challenge of design, layout, and joinery. Read the full article…

FastCap Tour: Lean & Mean

My brother is a year older than me, and because of that, he’s far more experienced and much smarter. But the thing that bugs me is that everything always has to be ‘just so’ with him. Sometimes, when I think about my brother I remember the last words in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: “…each in its ordered place.” Even the pencils and pens on my brother’s desk have to be ‘just so’ before he’ll answer a ringing phone; his door bench is the same way: every tool has to be razor sharp and in its proper place before he’ll start work on a door.

It took me years to understand why. I have to thank Paul Akers, from FastCap, for helping me see my brother in a totally new way. Read the full article…

My New Patio: Stamped Concrete

When I bought my little house in southern Oregon, I knew I’d be removing the existing concrete patio and the funky patio cover. The concrete had been mixed in a wheelbarrow and poured in sections, maybe over a decade or two, at least that was the forensic evidence. In some places the finish was smooth as glass, in others there was a heavy broom texture, and in a few sections, no finish at all. It was cracked and heaved. Read the full article…

Installing Exterior Doors in HVHZ Zones

This article might not appeal to all TiC readers, but that’s not the point of THISisCarpentry. Our goal isn’t to reach everyone. Our mission is to provide quality educational material for carpenters, even if it’s only a few of them. Still, I expect that even if you never have to install doors to meet HVHZ code, you’ll learn a few interesting things from this demonstration, things that will probably apply to normal door installation, too. Read the full article…