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Other stories by Jon%20Vara

  • A History of Eel-Grass Insulation

    A remodeler encountering a layer of Cabot's Quilt inside an old building might mistake it for the tattered remnants of a Hawaiian grass skirt -- hastily stuffed into a wall, perhaps, during a police raid of some Prohibition-era costume party.

  • Hillside Elevators

    Waterfront property never goes out of style, and everyone likes a spectacular building site perched on high ground.

  • Weatherization Skills Competition

    Weatherizing older homes is hard, isolating, and often thankless work.

  • Geothermal Sources: The Blessing and the Curse

    Free underground heat

  • Staining Steel Garage Doors to Look Like Wood

    As the owners of a San Clemente, Calif., specialty painting company called Rags 2 Rich's, husband-and-wife team Rich Howe and Cindy Miller do a wide range of faux-finish work, including convincing renderings of masonry, plaster, and marble.

  • Snake-Infested Idaho House

    It was a story to gladden the heart of an editor or blogger facing a slow news day: The nice-looking little house had been marked down from $175,000 to $109,200 because it was infested with ... snakes.

  • A Short History Of Screws

    A long look back at the humble screw.

  • Town Lattice Truss Bridge For A Bride

    Builder Ted Kellogg convinced his bride-to-be that a brand-new covered bridge over the rocky stream behind his farmhouse would make a perfect spot for their summer nuptials.

  • Super-Insulated Tank for Heating Fluid Storage

    Wouldn't it be nice to store excess heat generated by solar panels and biomass boilers in summer for heating during the winter? Here's a stab at a tank designed for the purpose.

  • Maine Gets Its First Statewide Code

    It’s long been known that sunlight reflected from low-E windows can melt vinyl siding, but the management of a “green” Las Vegas hotel is confronted by a similar problem on a vastly larger scale.