Gordon Harris carpentry

Fine carpentry and home repairs on the Massachusetts North Shore

New deck with Fiberon Paramount PVC decking

In October, 2016 I built this deck for a couple in Ipswich. They had a sliding door installed the previous year in the family room, but it took a while for them … Continue reading

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New closet and bookshelves for an historic house

I recently constructed bookshelves and a new closet for two upstairs rooms in the historic Foster Grant house in Ipswich.

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A new side entrance

My current project is a home that once had a “mother-in-law” apartment in the upstairs rear wing, with a funky set of exterior stairs in the tight space between the house and the … Continue reading

July 22, 2016 · Leave a comment

Stairs for a deck

The owner of this house in Ipswich asked me to design and build a set of stairs from the deck to the rear patio.

June 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Garden trellis

I made these trellises last winter, but we waited until spring to install them.

May 23, 2016 · Leave a comment

A more beautiful fireplace

This mid-century home has a small modernist” fireplace with a brick surround, floor to ceiling, and the client contacted me about adding a traditional fireplace surround and mantle. Her mason replaced the small brick hearth with dark … Continue reading

December 21, 2015 · 1 Comment

A deck lost, and rebuilt!

This 20-year-old deck looked good and was still providing service until it collapsed last winter under the weight of more than 50 lbs/sf of snow. It was a total loss. The pressure-treated wood … Continue reading

May 31, 2015 · Leave a comment

A room with a view

This week the homeowner and I opened up the wall between the living room and the play room, bringing light into that whole side of the house. We first considered … Continue reading

February 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

A lovely little mudroom

In the fall of 2014 I was asked to find a way for a client to incorporate a mudroom into their home. There had once been a large side porch … Continue reading

December 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Finishing a basement

In 2009 I converted the unfinished basement of this Waltham, Massachusetts cape, effectively doubling the living area of the home and making the upstairs more livable as well Pictured here … Continue reading

August 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

May 16, 2014 · 1 Comment

A few decks

In 2006 I built a large deck, 3 season porch, and new portico addition on this house in Topsfield, MA. The framing is pressure-treated wood, but we used CorrectDeck composite decking … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

Restoring an old house

For several years, I’ve been working on an old house in a town not too far away. The building is believed to have been built as a one room blacksmith’s … Continue reading

November 16, 2013 · Leave a comment

Repairing rotted sills with plastic body filler

Water damage to the sills and “brick mold casings. The first sign of water damage to your windows will often be on the sill. Typically this is caused by water … Continue reading

July 25, 2013 · Leave a comment

The best storm door

Andersen 4000 fullview storm door I replaced a dozen storm doors this year, and the best by far is the Andersen 4000 Fullview series, priced at $279 – $319.00 at … Continue reading

May 29, 2013 · 34 Comments

Andersen Silverline windows

An economical choice for replacing your older drafty wooden windows are Silverline premium quality vinyl replacement windows, available in a range of styles and finishes. Silverline windows are owned by Andersen. These airtight … Continue reading

February 21, 2013 · Leave a comment

"Help, my new house is rotting away!"

I receive this cry for help quite often. Living here in Ipswich near the shore, I spend a considerable amount of time repairing rotted exteriors. I’m not talking about the … Continue reading

May 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Oscillating Tool: How did I manage without this ?

A friend told me about an oscillating blade tool he used to undercut his living room baseboard so that he could slide new flooring boards underneath rather than pull the … Continue reading

March 16, 2012 · Leave a comment

Using Jointer Pal for jointer knife alignment

A couple of years ago I bought a new Rigid 6″ jointer. It has a lot of nice features including fast speed, dust collection, heavy duty adjustments, etc., but I … Continue reading

March 16, 2012 · Leave a comment

Cabinets and shelves

The unusual arrangement shown on the right was built in 2006 for the clients so that they could continue to use their home entertainment center as they always had, spread … Continue reading

February 21, 2012 · Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

November 22, 2011 · Leave a comment

The best paint brushes can last forever

On the right is pictured 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 … Continue reading

November 5, 2011 · Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

July 23, 2011 · Leave a comment

Determining the "hand" of a door

Determining whether a door is a “right hand” or “left hand” door mystified me until I discovered that it has historically meant the hand that would pull the door knob … Continue reading

April 23, 2011 · Leave a comment

Shelves with no visible support

This is my own concept, shelves with no visible means of support, which I’ve utilized on both masonry and sheetrock walls. I carefully drill holes for very long 1/2″ hex … Continue reading

March 26, 2011 · Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

March 24, 2011 · Leave a comment

Andersen Woodwright Architectural windows

This week I’m installing Andersen architectural windows in a house from the 1800’s (as many homes are here on the Massachusetts North Shore. Years ago the owner replaced a few … Continue reading

March 24, 2011 · Leave a comment

Remodeling with Andersen exterior trim kits

I consider Andersen windows to be the best, especially the Woodwright and A (Architectural) series windows, but one problem with all Andersen windows in the past has been the 3/4″ “Trimline” … Continue reading

March 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

Interior carpentry

Photos of some of my interior carpentry jobs from several years ago: Hand-built spiral staircase and rustic rough cut railing in guest house, West Stockbridge, MA. The stairwell was first … Continue reading

February 19, 2011 · Leave a comment

sketching with Photoshop

I’ve used Photoshop for years and am still learning new tricks, which comes with being a do-it-yourself person. Today I wanted to sketch a proposal for a lower cabinet and … Continue reading

January 25, 2011 · Leave a comment

Installing Ipe decks

This deck beside the Ipswich River was built with pressure treated yellow pine framing and fir decking many ago. The framing is still in excellent condition. The owners wanted to … Continue reading

January 16, 2011 · Leave a comment

Massachusetts "Stretch" energy code

As of January 1, 2011, 58 Massachusetts communities have adopted the “Stretch Energy Code in which weatherization, insulation, heating, cooling, and mechanical air exchange requirements are more stringent than the … Continue reading

January 16, 2011 · 1 Comment

C7 Bad Blade

Earlier this week  I needed a blade for my 5 3/8″ Ryobi battery-powered circular saw  and came across the “Bad Blade” on Amazon.com.  Advertised as “One Blade, Any Job”, this … Continue reading

January 7, 2011 · Leave a comment

Preventing ice dams

Today we had our first good 12″ snow storm of the season here in Ipswich, Mass. After spending a few hours clearing our long driveway and shoveling the walkway I … Continue reading

December 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

Finishing a fireplace surround

The mason who built this fireplace installed  a simple mantel, but the client felt that it looked unfinished. She asked me to install some “legs” on either side to make … Continue reading

December 19, 2010 · Leave a comment

Floating locust patio

Ann wanted a small patio at the bottom of the rear steps at her home.She had ruled out brick or stone and wanted wood. I designed a 8′ x12′ “floating” … Continue reading

December 19, 2010 · Leave a comment

New Deck Railings

My friends have a nice raised deck on the rear of their house but were never happy with the railings and balusters that the contractor installed. The top rail was … Continue reading

December 18, 2010 · Leave a comment

Stairway office

This client has an historic house in downtown Ipswich MA. Each week she works a few days at her office in Boston, but also works from home, and has used … Continue reading

December 18, 2010 · Leave a comment

Custom built-in entertainment unit

This client has a family room with two closets and a dead space between them. He was using that space for his older large television, but was not happy with … Continue reading

December 17, 2010 · Leave a comment

Installing insulated chimneys

Installing an insulated metal chimney in a flat or cathedral ceiling Note: Wood stove must be installed no closer to the wall than specified on the name plate, and in … Continue reading

December 17, 2010 · Leave a comment

Wheelchair ramps

ADA guidelines for Ramps in buildings and facilities  Slope and Rise. The least possible slope shall be used for any ramp. The maximum slope of a ramp in new construction … Continue reading

December 17, 2010 · Leave a comment
© Gordon Harris 2015