redwing44


Legendary author


redwing44

Subscribe to my RSS Feed

Contributions

Working with all kinds of people

Working with all kinds of people

What do we gain by looking beyond other workers' color, race, or gender?

Moving construction material on the job site and working with the Laborers Union.

Moving construction material on the job site and working with the Laborer's Union.

This a short history of how we moved building materials for many years on the job site years ago.

Framing Rough Openings for Prehung Doors

Framing Rough Openings for Prehung Doors

Shims are unecessary by employing these simple tips while setting trimmers.

How Little I know About Carpentry

How Little I know About Carpentry

One exciting aspect about carpentry is that there is always more to learn.

Good, Safe Carpentry Work Demands That We be Present

Good, Safe Carpentry Work Demands That We be Present

Are we able to do our carpentry work well without really being present? Carpentry, in my opinion, is Meditation.

My Story as Told by a Greenhouse

My Story as Told by a Greenhouse

This is the last in a series of posts that will be published soon as a book titled "One Carpenter's Life as Told by Houses." Check it out on www.amazon.com.

Working with Toxic Chemicals on the Job Site

Working with Toxic Chemicals on the Job Site

A timely blog on the hazards of using toxic chemicals in our work places and job sites.

One Carpenters Life as Told by Small Houses and Spaces

One Carpenter's Life as Told by Small Houses and Spaces

This is an excerpt from a book that will be published this fall: "One Carpenter's Life as Told by Houses."

My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

Habitat builds for people, not for profit.

Carpentry Ethics

Carpentry Ethics

Taking a beginning look at how ethics fits into carpentry.

My Story As Told Through Houses -- The Tract Home

My Story As Told Through Houses -- The Tract Home

These blogs around houses are excepts from a book that Taunton Press will publish this fall. Hope you read the book and let me know what you think of it. I do appreciate feedback. Thanks, Larry Haun

IN PRAISE OF LEED

IN PRAISE OF LEED

Is there anything good we can say about the LEED program?

My Story -- The Quonset Hut

My Story -- The Quonset Hut

Sometimes we get it right and build like nature does. The Quonset hut is a good example of this.

My Story Through Houses: The Manufactured House

My Story Through Houses: The Manufactured House

Manufactured houses can be delivered by a truck, arrive on it's own wheels, or set by a crane.

My Story Through  Houses: The Adobe

My Story Through Houses: The Adobe

Is building with the dirt we stand on not a green thing to do?

The Pre-cut House

The Pre-cut House

Before World War II, pre-cut houses were inexpensive and commonly built throughout our country.

My Story Through Houses: The Dugout

My Story Through Houses: The Dugout

The dugout may have been the best type of housing for western prairie dwellers living in sub-zero temperatures and howling winds.

My Story As Told By Houses -- Part 3: The Old Frame House

My Story As Told By Houses -- Part 3: The Old Frame House

Veteran carpenter Larry Haun continues his popular autobiographical series touching on the history -- and the possible future -- of houses in America, and the way we live in them.

My Story As Told By Houses -- Part 2: The Straw Bale

My Story As Told By Houses -- Part 2: The Straw Bale

Straw bale house construction is undergoing a revival in our country. There seem to be many reasons for this. First, the basic building material, dry straw left over from harvesting grains like wheat, rye, and rice is easily obtained at a reasonable cost from local sources in our farming states. Much of the work needed to build with straw bales can be done by semi-skilled workers. Community minded people, friends and neighbors, can come together for a “bale-raising” party.

My Story As Told By Houses-- Part 1, The Soddy

My Story As Told By Houses-- Part 1, The Soddy

“We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills and winding streams with tangled growth as wild. Only to the white man was nature a wilderness, and only to him was the...

Job-Site Talk

Job-Site Talk

What do carpenters talk about on the job site? You might be surprised. The stereotype image of a beer-guzzling, red neck, big-wheel pickup driving guy talking about cars, women, and sports is just...

PIECE WORKERS in the Construction Trades Part 2

PIECE WORKERS in the Construction Trades Part 2

This is a continuation of my first blog on piece workers who changed the way all of us build. When I first started writing for Fine Homebuilding magazine in 1988, I told them that I was not a...

  PIECE WORKERS in the Construction Trades

PIECE WORKERS in the Construction Trades

A Short History of carpentry in the latter 20th century



Recent comments


Re: How Little I know About Carpentry

davey lee, I was raised in Harrison, NE. It is in the NW part of the state near WY & SD. RThe pop. now around 200, elevation near 5000 ft, 500 miles from Omaha, and less than 100 to Gordon. The elevation in Omaha is around 8oo ft. if I recall correctly. As we neither had an auto or much $$$, most everywhere we went was a looong trip. You do realize that there can be lots of carpentry in concrete work. I have a friend in LA who often does intricate carpentry work building forms. I left that part of the world a day after graduation from high school---1949---before I froze to death.

Re: How Little I know About Carpentry

Mortar Works,

At one time I was fairly good at laying concrete blocks, but know little about restoring brick walls, pointing, and all that goes with this trade. Not much of this is done here on on the west coast---just stucco and wood siding. You might want to put your question out on Fine Homebuilding's Breaktime. Have you tried that? That is one of the places I go to when I need help. Thanks for your questions. Larry Haun

Re: Good, Safe Carpentry Work Demands That We be Present

Hi,
Maybe you can help me----What about cell phones and I-pods on ther job site? Are these a danger especially when they might cause you to be distracted when working with saws, around cranes, or any other type of mechanical tools?

thanks, Larry Haun

Re: Working with Toxic Chemicals on the Job Site

Hi,
Thanks for the comment, Renosteinke. I am only a story teller. Most all of what I write has been true for me. It is sort of like the old proverb: "There are three truths, My truth, your truth, and the truth." Hopefully, some people can take a bit away from my writings about my experiences. Yes, my body has checked out for high arsenic.
I always find it interesting about THE facts finding that today's facts are often tomorrow's fiction. Sort of like the earth is flat. Or as Mark Twain once said (I paraphrase): "The only truths in a newpaper are the advertisements."
So, please, keep feeding us the facts, really. They are welcome with me. I will keep telling stories. Larry Haun

Re: My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

SitUboo,
I appreciate your comment. I know that Habitat has looked into this but not sure if they have had success or not. Problem seems to be these thousands and thousands of houses are owned by banks and insurance companies. Any ideas as to what to do with that blockade? Larry Haun

Re: New Tool: Hardcore Framing Hammers

HI,
Did I miss a photo of the entire handle? I would like to see that. I like the connection between the hammer and the handle. I always wrap that point with shrink plastic and add a little heat. Makes a wooden handle almost unbreakable. Having swung a few hammers in my life, I guess "the proof is in the pudding." Your hammer looks great, but how does it feel---proper balance is not easy to come by. Good to see a new framer on the market. Larry Haun

Re: My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

Reno,
Or even 72 sturgeons as us NW people think. Thanks, Reno for your thoughtful posts. Larry Haun

Re: My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

Reno,
Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
Yes, These blogs are my opinions. And you know what? Often I am wrong.
A question for you if you don't mind....Is, to use an over used word, the life we have built for ourselves sustainable. Where do we go from here on this planet with dwindling resources?
I think maybe the biggest boon that Habitat offers us is that volunteers often learn some good building skills and working with others draws a community together.
Mainly I post these blogs for people like you---hoping to give others a chance to think and comment.

Re: My Story as Told by Habitat Houses

christopher99
Thanks for that helpful comment. I found it very informative. I have a blog on this subject that I will post in a few weeks. Toxins anywhere including the job site need to be taken seriously. I learned this the hard way.

Here in Coos Bay we do build a shed for Habitat owners---8x10 shed where they can store stuff.

Larry Haun

Re: Carpentry Ethics

Dreamcatcher and Whodog94,
As I mentioned somewhere, the questions I asked in the recent blog about carpenters upgrading skills and tools is the tip of the ethical iceberg. Ethical questions are everywhere. Each one of us has to take our own look-see.
I apprecdiated your comments Dreamcatcher. I am glad you are passionate about what you wrote. Passion helps us write and ask the right questions.
Whodog94---If you can find FHB issue # 53, April May---I wrote an article in that issue about Production line jamb setting and door hanging. There is a photo of Al Schaeffer at his door bench. There is also a paragraph where I write about his bench. Maybe that will be helpful to you.

Thanks to all for helping clarify this ethics issue. Larry Haun

Re: Carpentry Ethics

Re: Carpentry Ethics

Chapeli,
First of all, it means that each brother could hang 60 to 80 doors a day. What it meant for each door----scribing, fitting, cutting to length, drilling for lock and deadbolt when necessary, and hanging in the opening.
I knew Al Schaeffer the best. He was a master. What they did to speed production was develop tools to hold the door in place while being scribed, a door bench that allowed them easy access to power tools, marks on the bench so they didn't have to use a measuring tape to locate where to drill for lockset, and on.
If you are hanging doors, I would encourage you to check out the article I wrote in about 1989 on setting jambs and hanging doors and also one by Gary Katz on the same subject -- both are in FHB archives.
This is an ethical question----can we learn new ways to do our work that will allow us to hang a door faster----without reducing quality and costing our customers less money?
There are many other ethical questions.....that is just one.
Thanks for the question. Larry

Re: Carpentry Ethics

Dear Folks,
Thanks again for the thoughtful comments. Maybe I can add a bit to the ethics issue. There is seldom if ever any excuse for an unsquare rooms that I know of. Whether we work with production methods or methods from long ago---square is square. There are, by the way, people who learn production medthods and do lousy work. To me that is not ethical.
In ther 50s, I worked three years as a trim carpenter. I was started out hanging doors by the forman. I was expected, at that time, to hang at least eight doors a day. Several years later the three Schaffer brothers were hanging 60 to 80 doors a day (with a helper--- on the tracts and in larger commercial buildings) doing a much better job than I did with my hand tools. They had developed production methods for trim carpentry that I needed to learn. Gary Katz knew these brothers and learned from them. I think he even wrote an article in FHB showing a few of their methods. The brothers made good money for themselves and gave their customers quality work. Larry Haun

Re: Carpentry Ethics

Dreamcatcher,
Thanks for your considered comment. That is what I was hoping for---comments that open up this discussion on the "ethics of carpentry." Larry Haun

Re: IN PRAISE OF LEED

Thanks for the insighful comments. Appreciated the good words from WHODOG. Palaces to apartments from Wood & Iron also interesting. Larry Haun

Re: My Story Through Houses: The Adobe

Tomasll,
Thanks for the comment. You must live near Craig. I have backpacked in your state many times. eautiful country.
It seems obvious that a straw bale house takes less labor than an adobe. Making adobe and laying them up one piece at a time takes lots of labor. Tightly compressed straw bales , made by others, go up rather rapidly espessially when used as infill in a timber frame. Go on-line for adobe mix.
Go on-line also for Cob Cottage. This school is about 20 miles inland from where we live on the Oregon Coast. The master teachere there are Llanto and Linda Evans. They teach week-long classes all over---maybe even in Colo.I love hat you can do with cob. Beautiful buildings---but they take time to build. Larry Haun

Re: My Story Through Houses: The Adobe

Rob-D,
Wanted you to know that part of this book chapter on building with adode contains a number of pages on building with Cob.
About 20 miles from where I live is a school---teaching people how to build with cob. Cob Cottage is the school. Llanto and Linda Evans are two long-time good teachers.
Thanks for your comment. KLarry Haun

Re: The Pre-cut House

Bill 117,

Glad you spotted the satellite dish. I had other photos to choose from, but liked the way this house had been maintained so well. Larry Haun

Re: My Story As Told By Houses-- Part 1, The Soddy

Dear Matt,
Thanks for your kind words. Wish I could study with you and learn more about building with timber.
As a writer----about all I have to offer to the writing world is courage. By that I mean---courage to write as best I can and to put it out there for anyone to see.
As a student in our isolated rural high school, I went through those 4 years and never once was asked to write an entire paragraph. I have never taken a writing course in any Univ. or even advanced English courses.
I have learned to write because I had the courage to write. I try to write simply and from the heart. Over the years, many editors at Fine Homebuilding magazine and books have helped me to improve my writing skills. Much credit goes to them.
So---please write. If I can do it, you can also.
Larry Haun

Re: Framing Tips - How to Straighten a Wall

Scott,
BTW---any ideas on how to straighten an old framer's back.
Best to you. Larry Haun

Re: Framing Tips - How to Straighten a Wall

Hi Scott,
Good job on the wall straightening. I love your rigging axe. I used one for many years.

Re: My Story As Told By Houses-- Part 1, The Soddy

Bob Y,
Thanks for the kind words. Coming from you, I take it as a real complement. Larry Haun

Re: BUILDING SKILLS: Wall Framing Layout

Hi John & Justin,
My message on the layout stick was sent before I finished.

Anyway, I know that construction information sometimes moves slowly across our wide country, but as I say, the layout stick has been around for 60 years. It is a production tool.

Take care, Larry Haun

Re: BUILDING SKILLS: Wall Framing Layout

Hi John and Justin,

Wall layout with a measuring tape? Now I do realize you know what a layout stick looks like. Is there some reason you didn't use it rather than a tape and a speed square.
The layout stick has been in existence for 60 years. We would have not have used it when framing if it was not faster than using a tape. I write about it in all three of the books I wrote. I even wrote about how to use it on exterior walls to offset the layout 3/4 in.

Re: Wood Sickness

Hi,
I was born in 1931 in a small town, pop. 85, in NW Nebraska. In 1938 carpenters remodeled the old high school. Stuck deep in my smell memory is the sweet sniff of pine that was released by a jointer plane sending up curls from the edge of a 2x4. Larry Haun

Re: 8 Ways to Make Vinyl Siding Look its Best

Hi All,
I have been avoiding posting anything about "why I hate vinyl siding." Maybe one day I can post a blog.
Let me just say that I am sorry I had to write so much about vinyl siding in the last book I wrote--The Habitat for Humanity---How to build a house book. At that time I was told that installation practices for this siding had to be included in the book because vinyl companies were donating free siding for every Habitat house being built in the USA!

We can do better folks. Thanks, Larry Haun

Re: 8 Ways to Make Vinyl Siding Look its Best

Hi all,

Re: Stack Cutting Lumber

Dear Chuck,
With total regards to Jud Peake and Chuck Miller........
We never used this method for cutting multiples out on the job site. The reason is that it isn't very accurate. It does work fairly well if your circular saw is cutting totally square. Most saws on a framing job get banged around and are at least slightly out of square. So as you cut down through the stack, each piece gets slightly shorter or longer depending on the tilt of the saw blade.
So if you want to cut lots of multiples and don't have a chop saw, take a look at an article on this subject that I wrote in FHB # 88, p. 58-61 back in 1994. Or for a shorter version, you can look in the book: "The Very Efficient Carpenter" on p. 86.
Using this setup, you can accurately cut hundreds of multiples like top and bottom cripples with a circular saw in a short period of time.
Take care all you framers. Larry Haun


Re: Stack Cutting Lumber

Dear chuck,

Re: Is the LEED program a fraud?

Thanks for the Leed blog, Kevin.
A friend from Santa Fe told me a year or so ago that building green was much more than following a list. In the first place, a long list is not a huge motivator for most of us, certainly not for me. What we need, so he said, is a change in the way we think about our world.
We need to begin to see that the earth does not belong to us, but that we belong to the world. I have a hard time thinking of one single item in the building industry that is sustainable. Sustainability means, for me, that we give back to our earth at least as much as we take from it.
These days I build Habitat for Humanity houses. Some of what we do with those houses is not sustainable, but it is a beginning approach that everyone can understand and get behind. STEP ONE in building a house that has some sustainability is to BUILD SMALL. There is a house being built not far from me that looks like a high school.
I for one, can't afford all the "green bling" the Leed list says I need for a certified green home. But there are lots of fairly simple things I can do or have done to our small home to cut down on energy waste: better windows, weather proofing, solar heated water, more insulation, collect water, air dry clothes, and use local materials.
Maybe we could listen to our Native American brothers and sisters who encourage us to not build anything without thinking about how it will impact the next 7 generations---our children and their children.
Thanks for allowing me to say a few words. Larry Haun