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A Geometric Study in Quartersawn
Rowan Oak A visit to William Faulkner's home in Oxford, Mississippi
Improve Moldings And Increase Referrals
Turning Stair Balusters Design, Tools, & Lathe Work
My New Shop A Radiant Slab
Madison Area Technical College A premier cabinet-making and millwork program
Installing a Pair of Doors A simple step-by-step process
Lonestar Restoration Be careful what you wish for!

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My Living Room Wall: Part 1

I’m fortunate not to be a packrat. I know many people who are. My father would never throw away anything! Which is probably one reason I’m so averse to saving stuff. I’ve even thrown away a few things I had to buy again! But there is one thing I’ve always had a problem with—books. My entire life, I’ve collected books. In fact, I still have most of my favorite first reads from when I was a kid. Read the full article…


Lonestar Restoration

Be careful what you wish for!

I’m sure you’ve all watched shows on HGTV or DIY and, like me, you’ve probably wondered if the hosts know anything about building, if they know anything about flipping a house quick and cheap. Now here I am about to have my own show; it’s my turn, and suddenly I understand the challenges of TV land. Read the full article…


Madison Area Technical College

A premier cabinet-making and millwork program

Patrick Molzahn, the program director of the Cabinet Making and Millwork Program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Wisconsin, is no stranger to hard work. Hired in 1998, and taking on the lead teaching position by 2000, Molzahn recognized one of those magical moments in life few people are prepared for and fewer are offered—a moment where Patrick could effect a tremendous creative change in an education program, in the students who attend the program, and in his own life, too. Due to his passion and determination, and his interest in “lean” practices, Molzahn turned a bare-bones, one-year program into a much sought-after educational opportunity for students interested in fine woodworking, as a career and a craft. Read the full article…


Turning Stair Balusters

Design, Tools, & Lathe Work

My wife, Helen, is a grammar school teacher—third and fourth grades. For over twenty years, every weekday evening, as soon as dinner is finished, Helen carries a pile of papers to the dinner table and sets about grading each one, with diligence and care, because in the end—regardless of the ruling political party or that year’s favorite flavor of curriculum—Helen’s responsibility is to the children, her students.

Carpenters have a similar responsibility—though assuredly not one with such monumental impact. Read the full article…


Improve Moldings and Increase Referrals

Back in the mid-1980s, my brother and I were growing tired of installing 1 1/2-in. clamshell casing, and 2 1/2-in. streamline baseboard. As finish contractors, that’s all we did on every job, day after day (after we had installed the doors and windows). By then we’d nailed off miles of small trim in thousands of apartments and hundreds of single-family homes. The market was starting to soften up about that time, and one of the contractors we worked for needed an edge against other spec builders in the same subdivision. We suggested upgrading the moldings in one of his homes. Not the whole house, mind you, only the first floor. We told him we’d do it for our cost, just to prove a point. Read the full article…


Curved Stairs: No Mystery, Just Simple Math

Part One: Framing

I can still remember the first time I worked on a job with a curved stairway. By the time I got there it was sheet rocked with temporary treads. Up to that point I had built several straight stairs and even one or two that hit a landing and changed directions, but this curved thing was a complete mystery. The guys who had worked there the whole time shared just enough to really get me interested but they weren’t giving up many of their secrets. I made up my mind that if they could do it so could I. Read the full article…


Challenging Eave Returns

Hard lessons from a tough winter

It was the dead of winter in 2014, and the roller coaster that I own (better known as Megna Building & Remodeling, a residential remodeling company in NJ) had dipped down into a slow, flat spot on the tracks of my business. Feet of snow covered the land where excavators awaited the thaw so that work could begin and money could flow. But let’s rewind a few months to where this story begins. Read the full article…


My Shop Entry Door

I wanted a BIG entry door for my new shop—at least 4/0 x 8/0—so I wouldn’t have to fight carrying materials into the shop. Sure, I installed a 12-ft. wide custom roll-up right next to the entry door, but I open that ‘garage door’ rarely, especially in January, February, August, and September, and barring a big order of sheet goods, I open the roll-up door just to take finished projects out of the shop. But the main door I’d be opening every day, all day long, and I knew I would never find the door of my dreams on a shelf at a store. So I built the door and the jamb myself, as one big pre-hung unit.

Read the full article…



“As I live my life, I will view every challenge as an opportunity to: Set goals, Build character, Gain knowledge, Maintain balance, Demonstrate perseverance, Broaden my perspective, and Invest in my community. Through this process, I am being transformed into a Self sufficient, contributing member of society! When I say “Youth”, you say “Build”, YOUTH BUILD! YOUTH BUILD! YOUTH BUILD!”

-YouthBuild Pledge

Read the full article…

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