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Features

Letters

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    Letters

    Architectural abomination; protecting trees on site; reasons for red flags; grounding three-prong outlets

     

News

  • In the News

    Roofing nails puncture gas lines in Texas; hot countertops rattle kitchen and bath industry; dustup over drywall

     

Q&A

  • Preventing Gaps in PVC Trim

    Q: I've completed a couple of projects with cellular PVC trim boards, and in both of them wide gaps have opened up in the joints even though we used both glue and nails during installation. Is there a way to prevent these gaps from occurring?

     
  • Upgrading a Pocket-Hole Jig

    Q: Recently I discovered that my faithful Kreg pocket-hole jig somehow got "lost" on my last job site. I want to replace it. Is upgrading to the Foreman pocket-hole cutter worthwhile, or should I just stick with the same jig?

     
  • How to Build a Climbing Wall

    Q: I'm planning an addition for a client who wants to turn a 22-foot-high wall into a climbing wall. He would like this wall to closely resemble stone, but he doesn't want it to cost as much as natural stone. I've poured a lot of flat concrete, but I have never built something like this - so I...

     
  • What Causes Drywall Fasteners to Pop?

    Q: On a recent project, several hundred screw pops showed up on the primed walls and ceilings. About half the boards in the house had to be rescrewed and patched, and all the drywall had to be reprimed. Although it was raining when the drywall was stocked, my drywaller says he did not use any of...

     

Business

  • Defining Your Niche Can Help in Downtimes

    I specialize in custom decks. I switched to this niche last winter, when my backlog of general remodeling work dried up and I had no jobs on the horizon. The suburbs of New York City — where my business is located — were hit hard by the economic downturn; many GCs I knew were going out of business.

     

Legal

  • Employee Drinking on the Job

    Suppose your lead carpenter calls and says there has been an accident: One of your employees cut his finger off — and by the way, he had alcohol on his breath when it happened. What do you do? If you’re like most contractors, you fire the employee and then say to yourself, “Whew! I’m glad that’s...

     

Kitchen & Bath

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    Kitchen & Bath

    Commercial-style range for less; slate-look porcelain tiles; lightweight thinset mortar; PEX plumbing connections

     

Products

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    Products

    Noise-muffling floor underlayment; dramatic roof windows; natural-looking composite siding; manufactured moment frame; more

     

Toolbox

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    Ridgid SeeSnake Micro

    On past remodeling projects I

     
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    New Framing Guns from DeWalt and Senco

    Recently I tested two nailers introduced in 2008. In keeping with the trend toward more compact framing guns, the SN902XP is Senco's smallest, lightest framer yet. DeWalt's D51850, by contrast, is larger and heavier than any of the company's previous models.

     

Toolbits

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    Kipper Crete KPR-11.5-FLB Power Trowel

    Power trowels are great time-savers, but some tasks — like finishing slab edges and around penetrations — have always required a hand trowel.

     
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    Milwaukee M12 Copper Tubing Cutter

    Milwaukee's M12 Copper Tubing Cutter adjusts automatically to cut 3/8- to 1-inch-diameter K-, L-, and M-type copper.

     
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    Ridgid Quick-Acting Vises

    Ridgid's new Quick-Acting Vises have a trigger that frees the jaws from the adjustment screw, allowing you to open or close them quickly to suit the task at hand.

     
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    Makita Two-Piece 10.8-Volt LCT203W Combo Kit

    If you haven't yet bought one of the new ultra-compact driver-drills or impact drivers, you can get both in Makita's two-piece 10.8-volt LCT203W combo kit.

     
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    Stanly Virax Pressing Tools

    Press-on plumbing fittings install fast, don't require a dry pipe, and make torches unnecessary.

     
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    Rockler Dust Right Vacuum Nozzles

    Four-inch Dust Right vacuum nozzles connect to your dust-collection system, allowing you to spruce up your shop or job site without a broom.

     
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    Artillery Tools Pry Bar System

    Think of the Artillery Pry Bar System as a complete demolition arsenal: blades, fulcrums, and levers of various sizes — everything you need to make a customized pry bar to suit virtually any demo job.

     
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    Metabo KHE 56 SDS-Max Rotary Hammer

    The Metabo KHE 56 SDS-Max Rotary Hammer has vibration-dampening side and rear handles, a 14-amp motor, adjustable impact energy, electronic speed control, and a protective clutch.

     

Backfill

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    No Lot Too Small

    Plenty of business cards say “no job too small.” Builder Dan Upton and architect Jeff Shelton could reasonably have “no lot too small” printed on theirs. Not that either of them specializes in small projects — but they did complete a house on a 20-foot-by-20-foot lot in Santa Barbara, Calif.

     

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