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Tips

The Sliding Dovetail Cleat

Hang a mantel shelf without visible fasteners

A recent article in THISisCarpentry—“Craftsman Style Mantel and Bookcases,” by Brian Cinski Jr.—referenced the book “Building Fireplace Mantels,” by Mario Rodriguez. Brian used this book to replicate a stunning Charles Rennie Mackintosh mantel and bookcase. I was intrigued, and ordered a copy of the book. Inside, I found many great tips, as well as a plethora of techniques I had never imagined. One in particular amazed me: the “sliding dovetail cleat.” Read the full article…

Foam Rot Repair

Repairing rot in non-structural wood trim

I’ve repaired a lot of rotting trim in the past few years—mostly window sills, door framing trim, and garage door trim. I’ve used all of the commonly accepted practices—like cutting out and replacing the rotted piece and using structural repair epoxy—as well as not-so-accepted practices, like using Bondo. I’ve come to the conclusion that they all have their place in the hierarchy of repair options. Read the full article…

Raised Panel Table Saw Jig

As a member of a trim crew, once the doors have been hung and the case and base is installed, I can’t wait to get to the fun and unusual jobs. Some of these are crown molding or built-ins, but, for me, the best is building Jacuzzi/garden tub surrounds. These surrounds come in all different sizes and shapes, but they all need some means of access to the pumps, motors, and valves hidden under the tub deck. Read the full article…

Raked Baseboard Returns

Hand tools should be a part of every carpenter’s arsenal.

There was a time—not too long ago, really—when carpenters approached problems differently than they do today, and the solutions they conceived were different, too. Some readers might suspect I’m talking about raked crown on an open pediment, but that’s a rare problem encountered in only a few homes. Read the full article…

Rip Fence Mirror

How many times have you pushed a sheet of MDF or a wide board through your table saw and wondered if it was really tight against the rip fence? They often look tight, but if the light hits a board just right, there’s a slight shadow right between the board and the fence. Sometimes that shadow drives us nuts. Is the wood tight against the fence or is there a small gap? Read the full article…

Frank Screws

A simple technique by Frank Caputo makes setting window stool a whole lot easier.

I’ve been working with my dad for 15 years. In those years, I’ve learned almost everything I know from him. But lately I’ve been picking up some great techniques from the JLC Forums, and they’ve changed the way we work. Yes, they’ve even changed my Dad’s approach to a craft he’s been practicing for over thirty years.

On a recent job, we were asked to install all of the window stool at the same elevation throughout the home, and tie together the stool on adjacent windows. I’ve done this same work before many times, using wooden shims. But that technique has always been frustrating. Read the full article…

When Special Orders Go Bad

When the GC got to the jobsite on Monday morning, I could tell from the look on his face that something was wrong. After a quick glance at the materials in the back of his truck — two special order interior doors and some small moldings, I knew exactly what it was. The special order doors, like a lot of other special order items that are delivered near the end of the job, were the wrong ones. Read the full article…