Building Confidence

Volume 12 Issue 3
ISSN 1923-7162

Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at

What's New

A Contest that Everyone Can Win! Tell your family and friends about our site and you can win FREE ACCESS of all the articles and plans on our site, AND email answers to questions about your projects.

Dan, my brother and webmaster, tells me that no one referred anyone to our site!

I find that rather hard to believe! If you referred someone, please let Dan know! [click here]

Tip of the Month

When retro fitting a plumbing fixture that requires its own vent, use a mechanical vent. Ref: Tables 6: Nail Table.

And a Bonus Tip:

Pex piping is a good alternative to expensive copper pipe in a home renovation. Adapters from copper pipe to Pex are available. A crimping tool is required which can be purchased or rented. Ref: Useful Stuff 4: Home Improvement Tips.

Ask Dave!

Dave, Did not realize my membership had that taken care of and am back on board. I would like to build some simple shelving in my garage to house items I use for work. This involves storing sample valves, some of which are pretty heavy in themselves (3" iron gate valve) or can get heavy in the aggregate when several smaller valves are on the same shelf. Truth is I wouldn't know how to build shelves to house basketballs and tennis shoes so don't give me credit for knowing the basics. I have visions of drilling holes in the concrete floor and walls and anchoring with Hilti gizmo's but how to execute even that is pretty vague. Thanks, Trace

Hi Trace, welcome back and thanks.

Here is a drawing for some heavy stock bins that I built a while back for a Transmission shop:

Diagram of heavy stock bins and shelving.

If you can fasten these to the wall there's no need to fasten them to the floor. These are self supporting, just need to fasten to the wall near the top of the post. The shelves are framed in 2x4's and 3/4" plywood for the shelves themselves. I made them 24" wide shelves X 8' long. Screw the posts to the ledgers and screw blocking between the ledgers and the floor onto the back sides of the posts, once the plywood is on, to better support the ledgers, as shown.

Hope this helps,


Hi Dave, Do you have an article on how to properly use stair gauges on a framing square?

Yes, see:

Dave, I need to build an office space inside a metal barn. Just 4 walls and a door. However, sometimes when it rains, water pools on the floor of the barn. How should I construct the floor to protect from the water? It's ok to build the floor up but I'm not sure what materials to use. Can I just put treated 2x4 lumber on the floor and put the flooring on top of that? Thanks, Martin

Hi Martin,

The first thing I would do is to try and determine where the water is getting in and correct it. Check the walls and ceiling for water stains, or is it coming under the walls.

What material is the existing floor?


(I never heard back from Martin, so I'm thinking he solved the water problem.)

Hi Dave, Do you have a stair calculator for deck steps? I want the riser open. Or how do I eliminate the riser board? Thank you, Marshal

Hi Marshal,

Yes, use the same stair calculator which calculates the stringer layout. If you don't want the riser, just omit it, no problem, but you still need the rise and run for laying out the stringer.

I agree that you don't want a riser board on deck stairs.

Hope this helps,


If you eliminate the riser board won't that effect the run calculation?

No, not at all. The riser and run has to be calculated on the stringer. The stringer is exactly the same for open or closed stairs. For open stairs, just leave the riser board off and nail on the treads.


Hello, I wondered if you had a set of plans for the Shop Work Bench using the full 4' width instead of just 32". The picture looked like 4' before I bought the plans then I realized that it was only 32". I suppose I can try and figure out how to modify it... but I am not an expert with these types of things so I like to follow plan. Thank you!

Instead of the 29" wide bent, make it 3" less than 4' or, 45" to fit a 4' sheet of plywood.


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Jigs 7: Woodworking Compass

In my woodworking career there have been numerous times I needed to scribe an arc or a complete circle, usually full size. For example, scribing the trim for a 6' wide circle head window with a 3' radius or making a template for rounding off the corners of a curved archway.

A handy idea to use for a large woodworking compass in the field, is to make a compass from a length of 1x2 or a similar size ripping. Yes, the yuppies use what they call trammel points, a point attached to a block and a pencil attached to a block with a specific sized stick of wood, or beam between them. The adjustment is made by sliding the ends along the beam to arrive at the correct radius. Well, although I have a pair of trammel points it's often faster to pick up one of the rugged and ever present sticks laying around a woodworking site. I measure the correct radius from the square end and drive a nail through it at this point. With my pencil always at the ready, I scribe the arc while the nail holds the center point fast into the piece of wood or plywood onto which I want the circle or arc drawn.

Here is a drawing of a simple woodworking compass... Read more at Jigs 7: Woodworking Compass

Almost the End

Thanks for your emails this month.

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(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

Your source for building tips, woodworking & furniture plans, house plans and building advice directly from Dave...

Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.


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