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More stories about Backfill

  • Using Ship Masts for Structural Columns

    Suppose you wanted some wooden columns about 20 feet tall and custom-turned in one piece from straight tree trunks? There aren’t too many places you could find such a thing.

  • Robotic Transit for Perfect Foundation Layouts

    Although precise methods for layout have existed for thousands of years, not everyone seems to accord them equal value. Ponying up, say, $40,000 for a transit may strike you as over the top, but Hunzinger Construction of Brookfield, Wis., did just that.

  • An Affordable Solar Home

    Last fall, 20 college and university teams from the U.S. and abroad gathered in Washington, D.C., to take part in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.

  • Architect-Builder Uses Natural Tree Forms

    Architect Roald Gundersen and his team at Whole Tree Architecture and Construction are all for putting small-diameter trees — the “weeds” of the forest — to practical use.

  • Custom-Carved Corbels

    As part of a job finishing a side-porch addition to a Victorian home, I had to reproduce six decorative corbels.

  • Steam-Bent Shingles

    Renovations are a vital part of the routine at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Va., estate, which is open to the public 365 days a year. Recently, Steve Ritter’s company, Cedar Shakes and Shingles, was called upon to install decorative red cedar shingles on the bell-shaped roof of a reproduction...

  • Window on the Past

    As part of a recent restoration project, my partner and I were hired to restore an elaborate triangular window in the gable end of 150-year-old Howden Hall in Bristol, Vt. The problem was, there was no actual window left to restore; all we had for reference was an old sepia postcard.

  • Flexible Trailer Storage

    Finish-carpenter Brian Campbell wanted to keep his tools organized in his work trailer and still be able to transport the occasional full load of cabinets. He took his cue from a slat-wall system, where shelves, brackets, and hangers can be freely inserted behind horizontal slats without fasteners.

  • Watering Manhattan

    They’ve been an integral part of New York City’s skyline for more than a century: thousands of wooden water tanks, banded with steel and capped by conical plywood roofs, perched alone or in clusters on buildings throughout the borough.

  • A Rising Tide Lifts All Houses

    With at least one-third of their country below sea level, the Dutch don’t take the prospect of flooding lightly. But these days, the dual pressures of a growing population and limited space are forcing a re-evaluation throughout the Netherlands of land previously thought too wet or flood-prone for...