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Volume 1 Issue 3“Building Confidence”June 2003



Dan and I would like to welcome our new members who have joined us since May and for those who have hung in there with us so far, thank you for your support. As we grow in membership, we get new ideas for articles and plans, improvements to our existing plans and the financial resources to be able to provide you with a site to help you build that project or renovate your home.


We are still in change mode, Dan revamped the look of our Index Page a bit, trying to make it load faster for our members still on a modem. Technical problems were solved last month by Dan with the help of a couple of members who had new versions of browsers by companies that had the nerve to not inform Dan of their new changes. He had to scramble to re-write new codes or whatever he does with that computer of his. He rewarded those two members with paid up membership for the year. Thanks for the help, Jeff and Walter & Jenny.

As promised in the last issue, we have the Conversion Calculator ( built and installed. A member suggested adding board feet conversions, so Dan did. Any of you that buy large amounts of dimension lumber from a building supply, contractors or home builders especially, will find this converter useful for cost comparisons between outlets who list in board feet and those who list in lineal feet. Thanks, Dan.

We also have a Conversion Table ( to convert from Metric to English. We have 3 countries associated with our website now, Australia, Canada, and USA. Our members should find this table helpful.

Check out the new Rafter Table ( This table is for those of you wanting the lengths of common rafters, mainly, and the corresponding angle of different pitches. To find the length of a common rafter, match the number in the column with your pitch and multiply it by the total run. I found it very useful the other day when cutting a 1x4 trim on a barge board for a gable roof. I set the 26 1/2 degrees on my adjustable cutoff saw (miter saw) and the cut for a pitch of 6/12 came out perfectly. A handy table to print out and keep in the toolbox or glove compartment of the work truck.

We were sorry to see our sister site, Leaping Lizards Arts and Crafts, leave us this past month. We now have 172 pages on our site without "the Lizard" and a decision had to be made to make other arrangements for 'Stella'. We wish her all the best and will inform you as soon as we learn of her new URL.

Coming Soon

I've written an article on Installing a Skylight in an Existing Roof (, thanks to a question from Don.

I've done up a table called Nailing Schedule ( This table lists the number of nails required by the code to fasten supports to other members, such as: floor joist to top plates; nailing around the edges and on a sheet of plywood or OSB - this type of thing.

I've done some plans on a Gable Roof Shed (, a Corner Cabinet ( and a Mission Style Entertainment center ( These were custom plans that will be added for those interested. The Corner Cabinet plan, although custom, includes step by step instructions on how to make and scribe a base for a cabinet as well as installation procedures. These can be applied to any standard cabinet installation. These will be available free to our members.

To clarify, Dan and I consider members as paid up members. Dan is working on programing a choice for those still accessing our site on a trial basis. They won't be able to download free plans until they become a member. For those who are happy with what they see and want to have full access to our site, including free plans, they will now have the option of signing up as a paid member immediately and waiver their one week free trial period. Their options will still include $3.95 for 3 months or $11.95 for the year. Members still can cancel their memberships very easily through PayPal, where they joined. Nobody is held hostage here, if you have what you want and prefer to move on, fair enough. If you choose to stay on, take full advantage of our services and support us in what we are trying to provide, thank you for that.

Ask Away!

I've had some interesting questions this past month, including one of which I could not answer. I suggested to the writer to possibly install a sump pump. Here is the question:

Okay, Dave, I've joined your website because I really want to learn how to fix up my house. The children and I have to do it on our own; we can't get or afford any help. 1) What are "French drains?" The house is in a low spot & I'm told we need these, as the trench in the cellar often gets water. Thanks for your help; the website is wonderful. Barbara ...

Barbara wasn't impressed, and promptly cancelled her membership. Wow! No second chances in this business. Maybe some of you can explain to me what a french drain is. Have mercy on me, I'm a carpenter not a plumber.

Another good question was from Bill, who I've heard from before, asking about a ceiling fan installation. I explained this in detail on our Answers to Questions on Remodeling section, but would like to touch on one point here. When installing a large ceiling fan, Bill's was 54", make sure the box is secure enough to support it while spinning around at 90 miles an hour. If need be, remove the old plastic box, as in Bill's case, and install a new steel box, mounted securely to the floor or ceiling joist. I mentioned to Bill that building supply outlets sell different rosettes to place between a ceiling box and the ceiling fan or light fixture. A great cover-up for a messy hole around a ceiling box, especially if you need room to secure it adequately for a fan. Thanks, Bill.

Still with the ceiling: Mike questions me on touching up a textured ceiling he had to repair. He wants to match his repair up with the existing finish. Check out my answer under Question on Remodeling (, too.

David asked me a good question on stair treads for his deck. Seems he made a set of stairs following my instructions. To his dismay he found out that his choice of a 2x12 is not the best choice for treads, in case they cup and split down the road. He was wondering whether he should remove them now and rip them down the middle, as was suggested by a carpenter friend. I suggested that why not leave them until the time if and when they warp and split.

I suggest that treads be made out of two 2x6s with a gap in between. A wood worker must always be aware of expansion and contraction with our medium, inside or outside.

Survey Says

Dan, in his wisdom, created a survey for new members signing up, to express their views for content on our site.

Here are the results:

The big winner is writing more How to Articles with 25% of the votes. Next came Patio Deck Plans with 18%; Shed, Picnic Table and Outdoor Furniture Plans tied for 15% each and Planter Plans was the looser at 12%.

A suggested article was on building a cabinet style workbench with drawers. Thanks for your input. Expect to see an article on the workbench in the near future. Any other comments on choice of articles or plans from those signed up before the survey came out?

In closing, let me express again Dan and my appreciation for your continued support and hopefully, together, we can help build confidence out there.

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"Just wanted to drop a quick line saying "Thank you" for your website! My wife and I just bought a fixer-upper and the resources we have found in your site have been invaluable. We appreciate the service that you are offering. We have used information from your site to do many things. Next on our plate is a stairway. And thanks to you, we're not going to have to pay $4000 to have it done. Keep up the great work, and keep'em coming!" NL

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