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Building Skills: Carpentry Basics

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Whether you’re the new kid on the job site or an old hand, it’s never a bad idea to bone up on basic building skills. Working with wood is a great place to start, so we’ve assembled a handy collection of articles covering the right way to cut plywood, pull stubborn nails, lay out a rafter, hone a chisel and sharpen your handsaw skills.

begin slideshow
  • Cut plywood to size
    Cut plywood to size

    Every trade has its own secrets for cutting big plywood panels down to size, but we’ll show you how to get precise cuts with nothing more than a stable platform, a circular saw and a good straightedge. Read more...


    Pull stubborn nails

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    Pull stubborn nails next

  • Pull stubborn nails
    Pull stubborn nails

    If you spend any time on a jobsite, you’re going to have to pull a few nails. How much time you spend on this tedious task depends on how many tricks you know. Read more...


    Lay out a common rafter

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    Lay out a common rafter next

  • Lay out a common rafter
    Lay out a common rafter

    Learn how to lay out a common rafter, and you’ll have mastered the basic building block of roof framing. Read more...


    Sharpen a chisel

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    Sharpen a chisel next

  • Sharpen a chisel
    Sharpen a chisel

    Sharp tools make carpentry easier and safer, and they produce better results. Here’s how to give your chisels a professional-quality edge using diamond stones and a combination-grit water stone. Read more...


    Make quick cuts with a handsaw

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    Make quick cuts with a handsaw next

  • Make quick cuts with a handsaw
    Make quick cuts with a handsaw

    When you have only a few boards to cut, reaching for a handsaw can be faster than taking the time to run an extension cord and set up a power saw—but only if you know how to use it. Read more...


    Backyard Sheds

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    Backyard Sheds next