Building Confidence

Volume 12 Issue 9
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

This month Dan and I are introducing a new feature - Free Plan of the Month.

Each month our readers will have free and full access to a different set of plans on our website. Access will be limited to about a month while that Newsletter is active until the next newsletter is sent out.

Our Members (paid subscribers to our website) can view ALL of our Plans, ALL of our Articles, Tables, Jigs and Calculators at any time. Our Members not only have access to our entire site, but can also email me directly with any questions on their projects (a service available only to our paid Members).

The Free Plan section of our Newsletter is the last section just above my signature.

Tip of the Month

For cutting stucco, plaster or masonry with a circular saw, use a carborundum blade. For cutting steel or metals use an aluminum oxide blade. Ref: Seasonal 2: Winter Proof Your Home.

And a Bonus Tip:

When installing windows, nail the flange with galvanized roofing nails, but don't put any nails in the top flange. Ref: Building Confidence Newsletter July 2006.

Ask Dave!

How do you check the accuracy of a framing square, i.e. whether the square is truly 90 degrees. Ray

Hi Ray,

Get a straight board and place the square in the middle of the board, scribe a line square with the edge of the board. Flip the square over on the same edge of the board and check the line to see if it is square.

Drawing showing how to use a framing or steel square.


Thanks Dave. I'm new to your website and I'm liking it.

Thanks, Ray and welcome.

Don't hesitate to ask me a question, that's what I'm here for. If I don't know the answer I'll let you know.


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

How to Build a House 5: How to Install Vinyl Siding

How to Build a House: Tar Paper First

After the roofing is installed on your house we try to get to the exterior finishing as soon as possible to protect our house from the elements. According to the building code, no matter what exterior finish we put on our house, we need tar paper on top of the sheathing. Tar paper is rated for the number of minutes it keeps moisture from passing through it. The common ratings are 30 and 60 minutes.

Start on the lowest wall of the house. Usually, the top of the concrete foundation wall of a house is level. Determine the level line on the bottom of the wall by overlapping the concrete foundation, with the wall, about ¼" to ½" or forming a drip off the sheathing, the same amount. Measure up to the eaves of the house in a few places to make sure that the bottom of the concrete wall is parallel to the soffit line. Measure up from this mark the width of the tar paper roll and snap a chalk line. Fasten the tar paper to the wall of the house, with staples, with its top on this line, starting at the corner. Overlap the corner at least 4". A hammer stapler works well, with fastening tar paper on. Most tar paper has parallel lines already marked on it. The tar paper should be overlapped a minimum of 4" along its bottom and around the corner. Notice how the top row of tar paper overlaps the one under it so that any water running down the wall of the house will run over each sheet of tar paper right to the bottom. Before stapling on the second sheet of tar paper and covering up the sheathing, it is a good idea to mark the center of the studs on the tar paper so you know exactly where to nail the siding. You can tell where the stud is by the nails in the sheathing. A row of nails every 16" is good. Mark the studs of the house on the top of each sheet like this. A lumber crayon works well. Make sure to mark down from the top about 6" so the sheet above it doesn't cover up your marks. You will find this handy when installing the vinyl siding, the J-molding and the trim. Tar paper the sheathing, following it around the house.

How to Build a House: Installing Vinyl Siding

With vinyl siding you will use a lot of J-molding. We use it around all the doors and windows of the house, inside corners, a bottom row of vinyl siding that has the bottom cut off, vertical risers in the foundation wall, as well as under the soffit and along the eaves of the gable end wall.

An alternate way of installing vinyl siding is to... Read more at How to Build a House 5: How to Install Vinyl Siding.

Almost the End

Hope you enjoy the Newsletter 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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