Improved department means a road trip! - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Improved department means a road trip!

comments (0) June 13th, 2011 in Blogs
ChuckB Charles Bickford, senior editor

One of the changes afoot here at the magazine is that Master Carpenter, the department usually found near the back of the magazine, is moving up to live with the big articles. Starting sometime next spring, MC will become a permanent fixture in the feature section. It’s great news for the department, which has always struggled (successfully) to illustrate complicated topics with two pages and a handful of photos.  In its new form, it will grow as big as it needs to shed light on the latest project and its author. Best of all, each MC will have a companion web video on this site, so we can really get deep into techniques, tools and even personalities.
To harvest some content for this new endeavor, we went up to Massachusetts last week to shoot photos and a video on tips for timber frame joinery. The author was Will Beemer, who has taught carpentry and timber framing at the Heartwood School ( in Washington, MA for the last 30 years or so. He’s also just retired as director for the Timber Framer’s Guild (, and has previously written for FHB. If you want to know about timberframing, Will’s the guy you want to talk to. In the upcoming article, he’ll show some techniques for keeping joints tight and looking good, even after the wood has dried.
The editorial “we” consisted of freelance videographer John Ross, our newly minted executive editor Dan Morrison, and myself, the producer/editor and photographer. Because we were shooting in two formats, we made Will do everything twice, and sometimes three or four times. He cut a mortise and tenon in a pair of 8-in. sq. pine timbers, used a bunch of power tools-on-steroids the first go round, then did the exact same thing with hand tools. The funny thing is that each took nearly the same amount of time, and the results were, to my eye, flawless.
Stay tuned for more updates. If you have a project that you think would be good fodder for Master Carpenter, send me an email or give me a call. We’d love to hear from carpenters out there who want to share their expertise with the rest of the homebuilding community.

posted in: Blogs, framing, measuring and marking tools

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