ChuckB

Charles Bickford, Ivoryton, CT, US
senior editor


ChuckB

Gender: Male

Subscribe to my RSS Feed

Contributions

Colonial-era rainscreen?

Colonial-era rainscreen?

During a rot repair job, I found an early attempt at a rainscreen wall.

Ten Great Home Improvement Resources

Ten Great Home Improvement Resources

Sources for home improvement materials and information

Whats the biggest private house in the world?

What's the biggest private house in the world?

We're talking about the houses that have acres of roof, whose kitchens and master suites have separate zip codes.

Tour a World-Class Veneer Shop

Tour a World-Class Veneer Shop

Cabinetmaker Nancy Hiller visits architectural-plywood producer Heitink to source cherry-veneer panels to build the Project House floating vanity

Another Take on Reproducing Historic Moldings

Another Take on Reproducing Historic Moldings

FHB author Bill Rainford (#237, Master Carpenter - Reproducing Traditional Moldings) wrote a blog his work with Historic Boston, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to preserving buildings in the Boston area.

Master Carpenter Videos: Showcasing Todays Most-Talented Craftspeople

Master Carpenter Videos: Showcasing Today's Most-Talented Craftspeople

In the following video series and accompanying feature articles, each talented craftsperson demonstrates how to build one of their signature projects and shares the tricks they've learned from their many years in their trade.

Framing a deck with a radius

Framing a deck with a radius

Curved deck designs are becoming popular. Composite decking and PVC can be bent to fit the curves, but how do you make pressure-treated framing conform to a radius? Good layout and saw kerfs.

Digging post holes is the hardest part of building a deck

Digging post holes is the hardest part of building a deck

When it's hot and the ground doesn't cooperate, even machine dug holes are hard work.

The Super-Plywood Structure

The Super-Plywood Structure

NYTimes article discusses a new type of plywood that takes the place of steel and concrete.

Sustainable Temporary Stairs

Sustainable Temporary Stairs

New product - temporary stair-system can be re-used over and over. It's safe, elegant and fool-proof.

Timber Framing Fundamentals - A book review

Timber Framing Fundamentals - A book review

A new collection of articles from the Timber Framers' Guild discusses subjects ranging from layout and engineering to joinery, raising and the enclosure of traditional timber frame houses.

Heres how to do a pour-in-place concrete countertop

Here's how to do a pour-in-place concrete countertop

A great video from concrete pro Buddy Rhodes shows a better way to form and pour a counter top in place.

Great houses in Minneapolis

Great houses in Minneapolis

A preview of two houses that will appear in FHB - one new (modern, modular) and one remodel (a stunning improvement of a suburban split level)

Improved department means a road trip!

Improved department means a road trip!

FHB's Master Carpenter department will soon move to the center of the magazine, and will be accompanied by a companion web video. Editors visit timberframer Will Beemer.

The Artfully Concealed Closet

The Artfully Concealed Closet

A bookcase swings open to reveal a hidden closet.

A new Dutch door

A new Dutch door

An architect designs a new type of Dutch door.

Carving a stair railing transition

Carving a stair railing transition

Here's a way to make a rail fitting that's customized to your particular staircase.

They knew how to build back in the old days

They knew how to build back in the old days

A personal re-discovery of a funny story about building a house

Postcard from Providence

Postcard from Providence

Notes from the 2010 JLC Live show in Providence, Rhode Island

Restorer to the rescue

Restorer to the rescue

Cabinetmaker's renovation brings a kitchen back better than it ever was.

Opinion: Questions for the Man with the Big House

Opinion: Questions for the Man with the Big House

Commentary on a recent news item - local man builds 50,000 sq. ft. house.

A Countdown to the Big Buildoff

A Countdown to the Big Buildoff

Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding are gearing up for a head-to-head Buildoff. Join us Feb. 17 live on the Web from the set.

Port-au-Prince 2.0

Port-au-Prince 2.0

A building code for the third world?

IBS 2010: The Model Home Gets a Reality Check

IBS 2010: The Model Home Gets a Reality Check

A case study in irony: Construction stops on 6,000-square-foot showcase home dubbed 'The New American Home' after falling victim to the credit crunch

Prediction 2010: New Home Construction Shifts from Job Site to Factory

Prediction 2010: New Home Construction Shifts from Job Site to Factory

The modern job-site will become a place of assembly and installation as more house components and systems are prefabricated off site.

Online Classifieds for Contractors

Online Classifieds for Contractors

New online classifieds target the building industry.

Who Do You Blame for Your Energy Lemon?

Who Do You Blame for Your Energy Lemon?

So I was talking to Tucker Windover, a carpenter who writes for this magazine, and he said that every new house should have a sticker on the front door, just like the ones they put on appliances...

 Worm-drives vs. sidewinders? A conversation with Larry Haun.

Worm-drives vs. sidewinders? A conversation with Larry Haun.

Longtime Fine Homebuilding contributor Larry Haun and senior editor Chuck Bickford discuss the pros and cons of worm drive and sidewinder saws.

For the English majors among us

For the English majors among us

Carpentry itself can be a type of poetry in the hands of certain carpenters, so it’s a tough job to try and describe something that does a pretty good job all on its own. . .

More Lew French

More Lew French

Amazing Stonework



Recent comments


Re: Colonial-era rainscreen?

Like other times during remodels when you come across someone else's work, it makes you curious about the carpenter and what they were thinking (or not). And in this case, whether the Masonite was his idea or something he learned about somewhere else.

Good luck with your in-laws' house. I'm not sure about this, but you might be able to get away with taping the seams on the rigid insulation for the moisture barrier. I'd check with the insulation and or window manufacturers.

Re: Fine Homebuilding Magazine Departments

If you go to our sister-site, GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, you should be able to get a good handle on the details of a well-insulated slab. (I think the key is to insulate the perimeter and below, but don't take my word on it. Check here as well: (http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/31642/how-to-insulate-a-slab-foundation)

as written by a fellow Texan.

Good luck.

Chuck

Re: Master Carpenter Videos: Showcasing Today's Most-Talented Craftspeople

Thanks, BSB, for the kind words. there are more always coming. And to your point, Jeffrey, we're running a little behind schedule. Mike Norton's framing article/video will be posted soon.

Chuck

Re: This House Is Assembled With a Screw Driver

Very cool looking house, and intriguing. I'd be curious to see how much modification (slab, wind-load, etc.) it would take to make the structure code-compliant in the States.

Re: The Risks of Building Green

I guess the liability/insurance aspect of building is inescapable, and I appreciate Devine's close proximity to the issues, but I also wish that he wasn't an insurance salesman, at least in terms of the article's objectiveness.

CB

Re: 3-D Camera Expands Your View

Good idea. We've never had great luck with software articles, per se, because the long lead time and the fact that nothing in the tech world stays the same for very long, which diminishes the article's value to the audience. But something on hardware and its best uses might be useful.

Chuck

Re: 3-D Camera Expands Your View

Thanks Scott. We'll put this camera on the magazine's wish-list. Sounds like a great tool, I'll be curious to see if it catches on...

Re: DIY Deck Railings Upgrade

Just a guess, but I think the railing "balusters" in this photo are tempered glass. I also think this photo is a manufacturer's shot, and not the actual railing that's being discussed. You might try to contact joerussell by email.

Chuck

Re: IBS 2014: Zip System's New Radiant-Barrier Option

Martin Holliday from Green Building Advisor has a pretty good blog on the subject, which you can read here:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/radiant-barriers-solution-search-problem

Re: IBS 2014: InvisiDoor Hidden-bookcase-door Hardware

Cool idea. I'd be curious to know if the door assembly needed any kind of cross-bracing to keep it from racking over time. It looks like the demo has a 3/4-in. back, but I could see the front of the frame twisting, especially if it was carrying weight.

CB

Re: Revolutionary New HVAC Equipment - A Split Dehumidifier!

Hey Matt - I love hearing someone talk about hot weather! And thanks for the review - does any other manufacturer make a similar model, or is Ultra-Aire the only one?

Chuck Bickford, FHB

Re: Timber Framing Fundamentals - A book review

Diygirlygirl, there's an article called "Build a Timber Frame Shed" by Will Beemer in FHB, issue 166 (Nov. 2004), pp. 94-99.

Re: Larry Haun (1931-2011)

A few years ago, I worked with Larry on an article called "Danger Can Be a State of Mind", where he drew a direct correlation between job site accidents and being distracted by stress or fatigue. Although technically it was a piece on safety, it wasn't our usual fare - good advice on the value of being self-aware. (Carpenters typically aren't thought of as paragons of emotional and/or spiritual clarity.) But that was in part what was great about Larry: here he was, a reincarnation of Shiva the Carpenter, simultaneously sinking 16d nails with a single lick of his hammer while gang-cutting wall studs with his other, still remaining focused and in the moment and thoughtful enough to counsel us. He'll be an inspiration for years to come.

Re: Almost out of the Ground

Look, if your yard was sand for 20 ft. down, and you could dig anywhere without hitting a rock, you'd probably save that money too. (Remember, this is New England, the birthplace of rocks.)

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

I don't think the good old days had any lock on quality tools. I'm sure there were as many cheap throw-aways then as there are now, proportionally, it's just that the good tools survived longer. And despite the abundance of plastic these days, the current batch of tools are, for the most part, better engineered for weight, safety, and ergonomics. Yes, those old shiny PC routers would still work after getting hit by a truck, but the power cords weren't grounded (the chassis weren't shielded either, I don't think), and you had to use two wrenches to change a bit. And if my two Stanley (yes, that Stanley) routers are any indication, the brushes and armature bearings weren't that great either. Caveat emptor is always a good rule to carry into the tool store.

Re: A new Dutch door

Hi - Chris reports that the shop that made it, Brookside Woodworking in North Branford, CT., used a polyurethane glue. At first, the glue seemed to work, but ultimately failed, and they resorted to screws and bungs. (Brookside has since gone out of business.) Ipe is not particularly glue-friendly, although I'll bet that good two-part epoxy would have done the trick.

Re: Podcast: Our Ode to Careless Construction

During our discussion the other day, we mentioned an instance of misplaced vapor-barrier (polyethylene) on the underside of the roof sheathing.

The latest issue's feature "The Passive House - Green Without Gizmos", does have a cutaway drawing that shows housewrap taped to the underside of the roof sheathing. However, the wrap goes up behind the applied soffit and only covers the underside of the roof overhang, not the conditioned space. I think it's an example of what Jeff Kolle refers to as "carefully detailed housewrap".

Hope this helps...

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Table Saw Law Suit

It seems as though the tool companies see the liability suits as the lesser of two evils. Re-designing, re-tooling, and the sawstop license all add a lot of expenses to overhead that probably far exceed the money paid out to the Land of the Nine-fingered. I knew a self-employed carpenter who ran his hand through a Makita portable one day. In addition to his medical bills (no health insurance, natch), he lost about a month of work, and with the help of a lawyer, went after Makita. He argued that the saw design was flawed because he was able to remove the blade guard, thereby injuring himself. He won the case. That's really screwed up.

Re: Opinion: Questions for the Man with the Big House

Thanks for clarifying the information, Mr. Chase. My apologies to you and Mr. Greenberg. In fact, I’m not in the habit of judging a house from one photo, but in this instance I did because it was the only shot in the Courant’s article. Before I read the article, I didn’t know your house existed. And no, this wasn’t an attempt at a balanced look at your house; it was an attempt at humor. (Okay, comedy may not be my strongest suit.) You have to admit that if you build a house like yours, you have to expect a few off-color comments from the peanut gallery.
I think it’s great that you were able to employ the latest in energy-efficient technology. It’s pretty much what I would hope from someone who builds on this scale. It indicates a certain responsibility to lead by example. It’s the same principle that drives Fine Homebuilding to showcase projects and builders who lead the way in smart economic and energy-efficient choices. As popular as it may seem to some, the concept of good building practice (referred to as “green” in some circles) still has a long path to the kind of mass acceptance that will ultimately benefit us all. Even in the face of an impending energy crisis, homes are still being built as if it were still 1960. It’s a waste of materials, oil and money.

I do have one more question for you – why such a big house?

Re: Simple question: Is Festool worth the money?

I don't own anything Festy, but I've used a few of them and enjoyed it. The tools are well-designed and built, and seem like they'll last a long time. (Unlike some tools made by other manufacturers I could name.) However, some Festo tools are within a price range of competing tools - the jigsaw, for instance, sells for roughly $75 more than it's closest rival - and in that light, really shine. The more expensive models cost so much more than the competition that it really takes a die-hard fan or someone with good cash flow to justify the expense. Most of us would love to drive a Turbo Carrera, but have to settle for a Honda.

Re: Code-change alert: Fire sprinklers in all new homes

I don't see what the issue is with the cost. If it was a retrofit situation, okay; you're laying out money that you probably don't have. But in new construction, it's all rolled into the overall cost, and on a house that's going for $200/sq. ft., an additional $2/sq.ft. might conflict with that big flatscreen that was going in the family room. Maybe. People just don't like change.

Re: Build a Shed: LIVE!

Hi boys - This is really thrilling, but I think it would be more thrilling if you moved the camera closer to the action so those of us at home could see what's going on. And John Ross, those are killer bird calls you're doing....

Re: Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

Interesting stuff. What about cost? And what's the savings in space (i.e. 6-in. steel vs. 10-in. LVL)? Can they be welded to heavier steel beams?

Re: Crown Molding: Mitering vs. Coping. Which Do You Do?

When it comes to most interior trim, coping is the way to go. Yes, it's a little fussy - I sometimes find myself back-cutting the cope with a utility knife - but it always works. If an inside corner is out of square, you have to under or over cut a miter, and it still may open up over time. Or the backing isn't as solid as it should be and the miter opens up when you nail it. Besides, what else would you do with your coping saw?

Re: Craziest Shingle Tear-Off Method Ever?

If the guy is as delicate in every pass, and if he doesn't clip the vent stack, and if that yellow jacket doesn't land on his control hand, it would work. But it's still scary. I'd rather have the guy shoveling the snow off my driveway, personally....but he does plow a nice path in that cedar.

Re: Update: What Should We Call Our House Blog?

I like "Hammerhead" - it's a good descriptive noun (uh-oh, my major's showing)and it's better than "Knucklehead" or something less savory. I also like it because I thought of it.