Renovated front porch, Byfield MA

Front steps before and after repairs

To restore this front porch I replaced the deteriorated finger-jointed risers, post sleeves and skirts with PVC trim boards; replaced the rotting mahoganey decking with Fiberon Paramont decking; scraped, sanded, primed and painted all surfaces, replaced the post caps and extended the steps.

Custom office

For this custom office I constructed the shelves and desktop to match file cabinets that I purchased. The shelves and frames are pine, and the desktop is birch plywood.

Table skirts

My client had a tabletop, provided a set of turned legs, and I made the skirt. I set a stop on my radial arm saw and raised the blade to cut a kerf 1/4″ deep for the apron brackets.

Stairs for a deck

For this 18th Century house in Ipswich I built a set of stairs from the deck to the rear patio. Design and construction meet or exceed the International Building Code and the DCA-6 Prescriptive Deck Construction Guidelines.

Garden trellis

I laid out the frames on my bench and installed the lattice and trim with trim-head stainless screws. All surfaces received a coat of oil base exterior primer and two coats of white exterior acrylic paint.The units are mounted to 1 1/4″ heavy duty angle iron, painted with white Rustoleum, and driven 3′ into the ground.

A deck lost, and rebuilt!

I replaced a 20-year-old deck that had collapsed under the weight of snow due to faulty construction. The frame had been nailed over the siding without flashing, causing damage to the house as well.

Replacing rotted woodwork with PVC trim and deckboards

The photos below are a job we did in Beverly in May 2014. The fir porch flooring and pine trim were quite rotted and would not hold paint. We replaced the tongue and groove floor with 5/4 PVC decking, and the pine trim was replaced by pvc trimboards. The new scotia moldng is also PVC. Hidden clips hold the slotted deck boards in place, and color-coded deck screws are used for the leading edges and “picture frame” edging.

A few decks

A large deck, 3 season porch, and new portico addition on this house in Topsfield; a deck in Richmond, MA shaped like a grand piano; a white cedar deck in Vermont’s Northwest Kingdom; a raised deck and walkway around an above-ground swimming pool in Williamstown.

The best storm door

The 4000 series storm doors have mechanical locking tabs hidden in the door frame that are operated by the handle. Simply push the safety button up, allowing the handle to be raised to a vertical position. This disengages the tabs, and the glass or screen panel comes out by simply leaning it toward you. Put the other panel in place, and turn the handle back down to its normal position. You’re done– it takes less than a minute.

Dust collection in a home shop

Dust collection is important for shop cleanliness as well as protecting our health. While no system is 100% perfect, the assortment of methods shown below that I use in my shop does capture 99% of the dust. A Delta two bag dust collector handles the larger ports, while I use shop vacs for tools with smaller orifices.

The best paint brushes can last forever

This is a Purdy paint brush I’ve been using for ten years. The 2 1/2″ angled design is perfect for painting straight sharp lines as well as for general usage on medium size surfaces. Purdy is the choice of all professional painters for the quality of their paint brushes — the bristles do not fray, bend, or fall out and the brush keeps its shape. I prefer their nylon bristle brushes which can be used with any paints.

EPA lead paint law

Effective April 22, 2010, remodeling contractors working on residential homes, home day care centers or any other “child-occupied facility” built before 1978 must be certified to perform any work affecting more than 6 square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior surface. Failure to comply can generate very serious penalties for contractors and painters.

Removing walls

Until the late 20th Century homes were usually built with small rooms connected by hallways. People now want more open space, and the entire first floors of homes are often built without doorways between downstairs areas.

Interior carpentry

Hand-built spiral staircase and rustic rough cut railing in a West Stockbridge guest house. The stairwell was first framed in a circle on top of nailer plates cut from plywood. 1/4″ AC plywood was used to line the inside of the stairwell. A 4×4 Douglas fir post secures the steps at the center.

Installing Ipe decks

I used Tiger Claw Hidden Deck Fasteners TC-4 Exotic Hardwoods. With the supplied application tool, you pound the sharp teeth of the fasteners into the side of the deck board, then screws the fastener into the joist.

Preventing ice dams

In New England when the attic temperature rises above 32 degrees the snow in contact with the shingles begins to melt and trickle down the roof, only to freeze when they reach the colder eaves, and the ice buildup can become thick within a day.

Floating locust patio

I picked up some freshly cut locust boards and ran them through my planer, still green and wet, and screwed them to the treated frame, using bar clamps to take out curves. When dry, locust is so hard that it is difficult to work with; my hope was that the boards would stay straight if secured to the frame, and it was an experiment that proved successful.

New Deck Railings

I built new top and bottom railings in my shop and then installed ¾” x 30″ round black balusters attached to internal hidden baluster connectors in the railings, spaced 4 ¾” on center. After all the units were complete, I installed them at the client’s location.