Tuesday, February 24, 2015

There's Not an "APP" for Craftmanship

With technology invading every part of our lives, including our place of work, we become more dependent on technology and technology is heading towards mobile accessibility.  In the construction field we see connectivity through technology, apps, and software as a real plus.   We are able to e-mail from job sites pictures, change orders, product descriptions, schedules, and day to day communications.  There are so many useful Apps now available for contractors like Evernote, Construction Master Pro, Buildertrend, ihandy Carpenter, and many more task specific apps. All of these apps work well with our cell phones that no one is without anymore.  So our job sites are now linked to all of this information.  All these apps help us on site but do not replace the Carpenter, Electrician, roofer, supervisor, or the plumber.  Building is still, simply put, a trade skill irreplaceable by technology and craftmanship is the cornerstone to our industry.  Too many contractors devalue craftmanship for production while adding computer systems and technology to help with production. Think of it this way, every project you construct has the need for a "Craftsmanship" App.  If this app was the emphasis for Contractors I believe we would produce a far better product for our customers and I could argue increase your productivity and sales.  Recently a study found that construction workers were amoung the "Happiest" at there jobs.  I believe this to be true for many reasons, but mainly how rewarding it is to work hard with your own two hands and make something everyday.  So  spend time training your employees to become Craftsman and the rest of the Apps you use will become more helpful in the hands of a skilled profesional.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trex deck lights Shine!

Earlier this year Trex announced its new deck light system design called Lighthub, which allows the lights to be plugged in from a male end to a female end instead of wiring together.  This system makes adding lights later and installation worry free as well as a timesaver.  Trex instructions and literature for installation online was very helpful.  Along with ease of installation comes 40,000 hours per LED light.  These LED lights can easily now add atmosphere and safety to your deck with what I call "plug-and-play" installation.  Each light and component is weatherproof and salt-air resistant.  Trex also offers a five year warranty on all their lights and a three-year warranty on the transformer and timer.  As  a non-electrician I sure enjoyed installing these lights in my latest deck project. I am sure the homeowner will enjoy the ambience and safety the lights provide for years to come.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Trex shines (railing)

I have recently been working on a new deck project in which I am using Trex products.  The products have exceeded my expectations in both quality and ease of installation.  I am going to specifically write about the rail system today. I started with the online catalog of parts and pieces, and did my takeoff from there. Once the product was ordered and delivered on site, the process has already begun because all the boxes are labeled "step 3 of 5" for example. So organization of the product on site was easy.  From there I followed the trex express installation guide, which included a template for mounting the post brackets to the post, see picture to the right.  This is great for a couple of reasons. One the template requires no measuring as other brands and systems do. Secondly the template also acts as a third hand holding the brackets in place till you can pre drill and fasten them with screws, very cool!  The rest of the installation is truly as simple as following the steps marked on the boxes.  Trex also includes a few extra fasteners per bag of hardware so if you drop or lose one you don't have to immediately crawl below the deck to retrieve it.  The rails themselves are solid, strong and have a smooth finish.  Way to go Trex for designing a better way of doing things!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Transitional Fireplace Mantle

Formal Living Room side
Living Room side under construction
These are the concept drawings for a "built-in cabinet/bookshelf/mantle".  The Built-in separates one large space into the Formal Living room and the Great Room.  The room is 37' x 32" and accommodates this large Fireplace beautifully.  On the formal side the fireplace has a White Carrera tile surround and hearth inside a 6' high mantle.  The legs of the mantle boast shadow boxes with inset moldings.  The area above the mantle has been sized for a specific piece of art.  To the left and the right of the fireplace are back to back cabinets and cantilevered "wrap around" shelves above them.  The shelves make for a smooth transition from room to room as you walk around the fireplace making the millwork seem unending.  

 The great room side moldings are less traditional and offer the home a less traditional feel.  The fireplace will be surrounded with a real stone from floor to ceiling and wraping around the top of the highest header to integrate the two sides even more.  The header also will have lighting to help create a dramatic effect on the stone and ceiling.  Above the Mantle the TV will be mounted in front of the rock.
Living room (with Paint)

As this project Finishes over the next month I will post more pictures so you can follow the process, Enjoy.
Great Room side (with paint)
Stonework beginning

Great Room side

Exciting new ceiling

If you want to add detail and drama to a room adding boxed beams with crown molding will do the trick.  This kitchen had high ceilings but needed some added detail.  I split the room into thirds taking a cue from the square shape of the room. After installing the supports to the floor joists above I wrapped them with 1x mdf and routed the bottom.  I then installed crown molding inside the squares made by the false beams.  All it needs is paint and it will be complete. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mission style oak tray

 A relatively simple design for a serving tray with soft touches 
throughout the piece.  I used quartersawn oak planed to 1/2" for the sides, 
and 2" x 2" for the corners.  I made my own Tongue and Groove base
with Red Oak planed to 5/8" with a Chamfered edge to give
 the base another demension.