Gary M. Katz

Most of the really cool carpentry tricks that I know how to do I’ve learned from other carpenters, like my brother and the guys at Roadshows and JLC Live events, and I’ve learned a bunch from Jed Dixon. One thing Jed taught me is how to cut lock-miter joints. He uses lock miters on all of his newel posts and columns—whether they’re installed indoors or out and whether they’re tapered or not. He believes the lock-miter joint is simply the strongest corner joint possible.

Lock miters can be cut quickly—they can cut assembly time in half—and all the pieces are easy to keep track of, so it’s tough to make a mistake. Jed cuts his lock miters with a shaper, using a power feeder so all the pieces are cut precisely the same way. All four sides of every column are cut the same width—there’s no wide side or narrow side,...

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