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Features

Letters

  • Letters

    Another look at energy claims; feeling the financial squeeze

     

News

Q&A

  • New Deck Footings Near an Old Foundation

    Q. Plans for a freestanding deck call for new piers about 2 feet from the house foundation. Is it necessary to dig down to the bottom of the house's footing to reach undisturbed soil, or would the dirt around the foundation of a 60-year-old house be compacted enough to be con sidered undisturbed -...

     
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    Rafter Ties and Shallow-Pitch Roofs

    Q. My clients have a garage with a conventionally framed 4/12 roof that they want to convert to living space. They like the idea of a vaulted ceiling but not the expense of the new structural ridge it would require. As a compromise, can I replace the existing ceiling joists with rafter ties?

     
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    Quick Fix for a Noisy Circulation Fan

    Q. My client's metal fireplace is supplied by a makeup air system with a built-in circulation fan. This fan - which plugs into an accessible outlet - is triggered by a heat sensor in the fireplace. While effective, it's also very loud. To reduce the noise, I'd like to replace the fan's on/off...

     

On the Job

Business

  • Sandler Sales Training: Is It Worth the Cost?

    For small contractors in today’s competitive market, sales skills can make the difference between struggling and prospering. Yet many contractors turn up their noses at formal sales training, viewing it as a waste of time and money. Are they right? Or is enrolling in a training program an effective...

     

Legal

  • Beware Hidden Payment Terms

    Earlier this year, a friend of mine had an interesting conversation with a young man who was subcontracting for a GC. The contractor owed the young man a pile of money and my friend was concerned. But the young man assured him there was nothing to worry about, because the contractor was a pal and...

     

Products

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    Products

    Central-vac alternative; bay-front fireplace; wood-look decking; quick-dry latex paint; lighter bricks; more

     

Toolbox

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    Makita BHR202 SDS-Plus Cordless Rotary Hammer

    Powered by an 18-volt lithium-ion battery, Makita's BHR202 SDS-Plus cordless rotary hammer is rated for making 15/16-inch holes in concrete.

     
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    Praxis Router Templates

    Outside of a few drywall contractors, I've met few people who could accurately guide a drywall router freehand.

     
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    FastCap Pocket Chisel

    FastCaps' Pocket Chisel is protected by its own folding handle and is tough enough — according to the maker — to withstand hammer blows.

     
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    DeWalt Track Saws

    DeWalt's new Track Saws make it a lot easier to break down sheets of cabinet plywood or MDF.

     
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    Dremel Multi-Max

    I've never met a carpenter who didn't like his Fein MultiMaster, but I've met plenty who think Fein's prices — especially for accessories — are a little steep.

     
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    Pacific Laser Systems PLS5 Point-To-Point Laser

    The self-leveling PLS5 point-to-point laser has been updated.

     
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    Ridgid OL50145MW Air Compressor

    At roughly the size and capacity of a large twin stack but easier to move, Ridgid's OL50145MW 5-Gallon Mini Wheelbarrow Air Compressor features a cast-iron cylinder, an oil-lube pump, a 10-inch flat-free tire, a ball-valve tank drain, a protective roll cage, and two quick couplers.

     
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    Bosch PS30 Compact Driver/Drill

    The two-speed PS30 Compact Driver/Drill from Bosch delivers 220 inch-pounds of torque and 1,100 rpm — but weighs a mere 2 1/2 pounds.

     
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    Jet 708315BTC Benchtop Table Saw

    I bought the Jet 708315BTC because I wanted to supplement my regular job-site table saw with a portable model.

     

Backfill

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    Welcome to Your Future

    In October 2007, JLC illustrator Tim Healey envisioned a future in which pickup trucks would be replaced by freight-hauling bicycles. Who knew then that a few intrepid builders had already made the switch?

     

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