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Features

Letters

  • Letters

    Coordination between subs; barrier-free showers vs. code; don’t ventilate crawlspace with moist outdoor air; code article misses the boat; more

     

In the News

  • In the News

    Boulder, Colo., builders get a tax reprieve; jury rejects first FEMA trailer lawsuit; an update on the New London, Conn., eminent domain case; more

     

Q&A

  • Best Pipe for Gas Lines?

    Q: In my area, only black iron pipe is allowed for gas lines. Is there a problem with galvanized pipe?

     
  • Pancake Boxes and Ceiling Fixtures

    Q: To retrofit light fixtures for old plaster ceilings that will be covered with new drywall, I plan to screw 1/2-inch-deep metal pancake boxes into the lathe of the existing ceilings and hang the new drywall around the boxes. But my electrician wants to cut into the ceiling and install deeper...

     
  • Cupped Hardwood Flooring

    Q: Can moisture condense on the back of a prefinished hardwood floor above an uninsulated crawlspace and cause cupping? The flooring was installed over 15-pound asphalt felt and an OSB subfloor; poly covers the ground underneath the dry and ventilated crawlspace of the 2-year-old home.

     

On the Job

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    Custom Access Ramps

    Most of the houses I work on here in Southern California have few if any accessible design features. For a homeowner who uses a wheelchair, even a single step at the entry is a serious impediment. Over the last several years, I’ve put my welding skills to good use building access ramps out of...

     

Business

  • Is the Lead Carpenter System for You?

    In this article, I’ll address the most common questions I’ve been asked by company owners who are implementing their own lead carpenter system.

     

Products

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    Products

    Duct and pipe wrap; under-slab gas-blocking membrane; sealant for metal roofs; prepackaged rain screen; see-through window screens; more

     

Toolbox

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    New 18-Volt Impact Drivers

    About a year ago I tested nine 18-volt impact drivers. Since then, a few new models — Bosch's 25618-02, Makita's BTD 144, and Milwaukee's 2650-20 — have come on the market.

     

Toolbits

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    Klein Tools Bent Nose Romex Cable Strippers

    Klein's Bent Nose Romex Cable Strippers have a 90-degree angled nose designed to get them into tight spots.

     
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    Ideal Industries Sir Nickless Cable Cutter

    One challenge with armored cable is that it can be hard to cut the armor without nicking the wires inside, which is why cable manufacturers recommend using a rotary cutter designed specifically for this cable type.

     
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    Tru-Pro Products Aluminum Drywall Stilts

    Ever notice that a drywall guy stomping around on stilts looks a lot like Herman Munster?

     
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    Milwaukee Clamp Meter

    Clamp meters let electricians measure current in a live wire without stripping the insulation or touching the conductor, but the calculator-like display can be hard to read in dark basements or outside in the sun.

     
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    WD-40 Co. Trigger Pro Dispenser

    The one bad thing about WD-40 is that when you lose that little red straw, you have no way of controlling the spray.

     
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    Vaughan Tools 15-Inch HookBar

    The typical flat utility bar has a 90-degree rocker head that curves in the opposite direction from the flat end — which restricts the bar's range of motion.

     
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    Diamond Wall Football Pole Sander

    The new Football Pole Sander is a simple tool with some significant advantages.

     

Backfill

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    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.