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  • Finish Carpentry

With the emergence of new tools and materials over the last few years, the role of a finish carpenter has evolved. Of course, the basic skills are still required. But more sophisticated tools demand new skills and techniques.

Finish Carpentry covers it all -- from the basic fundamentals to the most recent innovations that are re-shaping the craft. Firmly rooted in the current realities of the building industry, this book shows you how to do fine custom work -- with a keen eye toward speed, precision and efficiency.

In each comprehensive chapter, you'll find valuable tips, techniques and advice that include everything from getting started and choosing tools, to running baseboard, trimming out windows and doors, to creating wainscoting and crown molding. And by providing some practical tips on fitting new materials into old houses, the authors help you bridge the gap between yesterday and today.With this valuable reference volume by your side, you can use every new tool at your disposal to create the artful touches any 19th century craftsman would be proud of.

Additional Information
About No
Issue Number No
Cover 138
Publication Year 2008
Photos 522 photographs and
Drawings 53 drawings
Other Formats 77732
Isbn 978-1-56158-818-3
Author Clayton DeKorne
Ted Cushman
Dimensions No
Pages 256
Format Paperback
Toc Introduction

Getting Started
Setting Up On-Site
The Staging Area
Tooling Up
Power and Hand Tools

Running Baseboard
Baseboard Toolkit
One-Piece vs. Three-Piece Baseboard
Basic Cuts
Prepping for Baseboard
Baseboard Layout
Baseboard Joinery
Fastening Baseboard

Trimming Out Windows
Window Trim Toolkit
Prepping the Window
Installing the Stool
Installing Jamb Extensions
Installing Window Casings
Installing the Apron

Hanging and Trimming Doors
Ordering Doors
Door Hanger's Toolkit
Installing a Prehung Door
Hanging New Doors in Existing Jambs
Drilling and Boring for Locksets
Casing a Door

Crown Molding
Spring Angle
Crown Toolkit
Prepping Crown Jobs
Corner Joints
Scarf Joints
Built-Up Crown
Cathedral Ceilings
Fastening Crown

Wainscoting Opportunities
Wainscoting Design
Individual Board Wainscot
Beadboard Panels
Full Frame-and-Panel Wainscot

Appendix A: Selecting Trim Materials
Dimensional Stability
Wood Characteristics
Lumber Characteristics
Lumber Grades
Composite Materials

Appendix B: The Lost Art of Sharpening


Intro The trade of finish carpentry is in a state of rapid change, a change that might be as profound as the changes that took place a hundred years ago at the dawn of the 20th century.

According to Mark Erlich of the Carpenter's History Project, carpenters in the early 1900s were beginning to realize that the idea of a 'master builder' was becoming obsolete. In his book, With Our Hands: The Story of Carpenters in Massachusetts, Erlich tells about Connecticut carpenter J. W. Brown, who, upon looking over 50 years of transformations brought on by the industrial revolution, concluded that the 'carpenter' of the mid-19th century-an artisan who trained for a lifetime-had, at the start of the 20th century, become simply a 'tradesman' who would always be uncertain if he would ever be in a position to hire his own apprentices.

The journeyman carpenter of 1900 had to adapt to a completely new vision of his occupation, formed on the one hand by 'lumpers'-piece workers who focused on specialized parts of a whole house-and on the other hand by a new breed of all-purpose carpenter in rural America who taught himself to design and build houses from pattern books, local tradition, and natural ingenuity. Aspiring master builders had to embrace new identities as contractors who managed at least four distinct carpentry trades: framing, finishing, stair building, and sash-blind-door making. This fracturing of the trade, a symptom of growing from 'guild' to 'industry,' set the pattern for modern homebuilding.

Now, a century later, the finish carpenter is typically a specialty tradesman-subcontractor or employee-who walks on to the job facing a narrow window of time in which to knock out his work and move on. Carpenters do far more assembly, and far less custom handcrafting, than tradition would suggest. Today's carpenter doesn't have excess time to perfect his technique at tuning a joint. Time and money set his pace; if you want to stay in business, you're bound by a schedule and a budget.

But even within that narrow window, you have the opportunity to do good work. Indeed, it's the ability to achieve quality within the bounds of time and money that defines excellence in the carpenter's trade. That's where we hope this book will come into play, presenting the basic skill sets required to practice the trade, showing a few short cuts, and describing some of the practical realities of fitting new materials into old houses.

Carpentry is still a tradition, and the carpenter working in 1900 would recognize the trim elements, the joints, and even some of the methods we present here. But this is not your grandfather's carpentry book. In fact, carpenters even 30 years ago didn't have the powerful tools or machinery on-site that we have at our disposal today. Cordless tools, plate joiners, portable power planers, and pneumatic nailers were at best prototypes-dinosaurs compared to today's nimble versions.

In the new century, advances in equipment are revolutionizing trim carpentry along with the rest of the building industry, and new tools vastly improve the precision with which you can join, shape, and fasten materials. While many of the ideas we present have been with the trade from the beginning, we have also tried to capture some of the most exciting recent advances.

Far from destroying the finish carpentry trade, new tools and materials offer the modern tradesman new opportunities to do fine custom work. For example, computer-controlled CNC routers, and engineered wood products like MDF and finger-jointed rail stock allow today's carpenters to offer affordable custom wainscoting that is actually more resilient to dimensional change than the panel stock cut from old-growth timbers.

Working alone, and without a machine shop of his own, a modern finish carpenter can give a whole house a trim package as personal and as artful as any 19th-century craftsman. Your handiwork can still be the final touch that makes a building produced with machines feel like a home built for people.
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Finish Carpentry

  • by Clayton DeKorne
    Ted Cushman
  • Paperback
  • Product Code: TP-FHB72070868
Availability: Out Of Stock
Today's Price: $12.48
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