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Message from Dave and what our Members say

Thanks for your interest in our Website. Dan (my brother and webmaster) and I both hope you enjoy it and get something useful from it.

The purpose of our site is to share my experience in the building trades with you.

"Great info...really helped me doing my project. Best thing was the stair builder guide that I printed, spent considerable hours to figure slope I needed due to reduced headroom issues (home builder did not make the frigin hole long enough)...but your program worked like clock-work. Actually impresses everyone that I never built stairs before...but with 3 - 2 x10 stringers...on a 30" wide staircase. PL Premium and screws too (no nails)..I can probably drive my truck over it....many, many thanks!" DS

As a carpenter in heavy construction for 6 years, I learned a lot about concrete work mainly, not only the tricks of my trade but of the sub trades as well. Our motto here is Building Confidence and I hope we can do that for you.

"This site has saved my butt all summer and the answers to my questions have been a great help." HT

I left working camp jobs in Northern Canada for a 10 year stint as a Hardware store owner. I learned a lot of things that the home owner goes through in doing house maintenance and renovating their home. One customer came into our shop just after opening in the morning complaining about his bathroom faucet continually dripping. I said if you take it apart and bring the stem down here, I can replace the rubber washer for you - a 15 cent item. I explained to him how to remove the tap handle, step by step. He had never attempted anything like this before. About 4 hours later, in walked our customer with the stem in his hand and a big smile on his face. I took the rubber washer off the bottom and showed him how worn out it looked. I also noticed that the O-ring was getting flattened out on the outside, indicating that it should be replaced, as well. I made a total of 30 cents on that sale but a feeling of satisfaction that I had never felt before.

"I started to build a geodesic dome in 1998. Last year, I hired someone to put in the stairs to the second level. Lo and behold, I am unhappy with the semi-finished job and have been asking question and searching for a solution, which turns out to be YOUR SITE! I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am to have found your site today. Thank you, thank you, thank you." KT

I just taught a man with a higher education than myself, a successful man in the business world, to repair his own dripping tap. He actually thanked me very much, as if I just set his broken leg or something. He said, "You sure are knowledgeable". I laughed inside! What he was saying to me was that I taught him how to do it himself. It wasn't about saving the labor to do this job; it was about the satisfaction of accomplishing a task that he had never tried before, probably because nobody ever took the time to show him. It seemed every time that I showed a customer how to do a minor little repair or a technique like caulking their bathtub, I felt their appreciation, their respect, their loyalty to our store and saw them leave with a smile of confidence on their face. That is what our website is all about, getting you to have the confidence to do it yourself.

"I just completed building a beautiful set of outside patio stairs using your "How To Build Stairs" guide. Very nice! I've never done it before, and I am very proud of the way they turned out." DB

My wife and I sold the hardware store after 10 years and I went back into construction work as a building contractor. I had an automatic customer base from the hardware store and when my old customers asked what I intended to do, I had lots of work starting off with renos. Most people thought I would retire. I was only 45 years old at the time, hardly the time to retire. With the cash from the sale of the store, we paid off our mortgage and had enough in the bank to pay for our eldest daughter's wedding. So I needed to get back to work. We still had two daughters left at home!

"Many thanks for posting such clear, useful information (I read about How to Build Stairs). You are moving civilization forward - at least in my little family - by helping people NOT reinvent the wheel!" LS

Dan, one of my three younger brothers, is a computer programmer, so we decided to build a website together, where I could help people with their renos, maintenance or contracting projects and he would be the webmaster. We started our website in 1999 and have grown since then.

"No question. Just want to thank you for a great site. I use the stair calculator alot. I wish you'd post it as a stand alone program to take in the field with the laptop. ( no internet out there) The stair opening item is what I use the most. Again, thanks." DA [this is now downloadable]

I noticed a few years ago that we were getting English speaking members signing up in lots of different countries. I checked out the number of countries and came up with 26 countries that DaveOsborne.com has been associated with. I was totally amazed. Dan tells me we're at 54 different countries now.

"I just spent over an hour searching the Internet before I found your great page! You are the only one who actually cared enough to take the time to put together a complete guide on building stairs (complete with diagrams). Wonderful job!" Ernie

I love it when I get an email from a Canadian or American soldier who is stationed in Afghanistan or elsewhere. They write to me about their projects at home. I guess they have some time away from the war to think about things back home. I feel honored that I can spend some time with them and give them advice on their renos or projects to help them, not only when they get home, but there in that foreign place to get their mind off the war and into a place of hope and peace for the future.

"I just read your article on 'how to build stairs?' Now I have never built any, but just reading your article makes me WANT to! What I'm trying to say is the article was clear, simple to follow, bascially a 'pleasure' to read. Thankyou, it's so refreshing to see. You should write a book on construction 'how to'. I would certainly buy it! Thanks. PS. I am extremely critical of articles!!!! - so this truely is a compliment!" SS

I got an email from an American who was living in France. He really liked our Stair Calculator and asked if he could put it on his own website, there in France. We said, sure go ahead, just give us the credit on the page somewhere. We checked out his website and sure enough the Calculator was there, as well as our credit for it.

"Dave I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to send me a plan for building stairs and a platform. This was extremely helpful." RH

We haven't had all caviar and roses setting up our website, of course. When we started charging for subscriptions, after about 3 years putting up with the costs ourselves, I actually got hate email, saying the internet should be free. I don't get too many of them anymore. I think most people accept the internet as a good vehicle for commercial enterprises, it seems that is the way of the future. A website the size of Dan and mine requires a lot of personal time to keep it going. The cost of technical services is one thing, but the time to answer emails, write newsletters and update articles, not to mention the time Dan spends keeping the physical site active, killing bugs and all that good stuff, is excessive. But, we enjoy it and those we help encourage us financially.

"Thanks Dave - You're one of the good ones. Suddenly it's all clear - it's all about that first dimension and the drop to the top run. Wish I'd have known this Monday night when we spent about 3 hours screwing around with trying to adjust that 45 to fit right. Thanks again for the help and your immediate reply - I'm stoked that I can actually walk in there now and not be guessing." BK

Although Dan does work on other sites, I retired from construction contracting in 2004 to spend more time on our website. Dan and I share the nominal subscription rate equally which helps subsidize my government rocking chair money.

"Just wanted to send a thank you note for the plans you offered to build a woodworkers tool box. I am no Master Craftsman (I somethimes have trouble even spelling it), however the tool box that we built this morning came out quite respectable. I even think my dad would have been proud.....Now he was a carpenter! Now I can lug all the tools around as I prepare our home for the vinyl siding project." CR

You can see from our Newsletters every month that our members seem to get something out of their dues, as well. Our website reminds me of the hardware store where we always have that core of loyal customers. I find it interesting that we have a few members that have been with us right from the first year of charging a membership fee. Grant it, they only pay about $4 for the year, but they are still with us. Our policy is that members' dues or subscriptions will not increase no matter how long they stay will us, as long as they don't cancel. Some members complete their projects, cancel their subscription, then sign up, again, when they are working on something else. It is all good.

"I was the one that asked you about making the first step flush with the floor. I did it just how you told me and the stairs worked out excellent. I am quite pleased with the guidance you offered. Also you were right about having some bounce in the stringer, even with 3 stringers. Thank you for your support and getting back with me so quick. I will recommend you to all my friends and my 350 neighbors." DE

One time I was trying to help a guy with his drainage problem and he referred to a French drain. I didn't know what that was so I asked if anybody was familiar with that term in my next Newsletter. Well sure enough I got a few comments from our readers who told me that a French drain is merely a ditch with drain rock in it without the drainage pipe. We are never too old to learn.

"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

Speaking of our Newsletter, every month we publish a free newsletter, based mainly on the questions I received in that month from our paid members and my answers to them. Some answers require a drawing or picture to help explain myself. We don't charge for this newsletter and it doesn't come automatically to our members. We respect our members' privacy and don't send them our newsletter unless they choose to receive them. You don't have to be a paid member of our site to receive our newsletter every month and you have the choice to cancel it at any time.

"My wife and I recently bought an old house. I'm taking advantage of some spare time after having just retired from the U.S. Navy to fix it up. Since I have no knowledge of carpentry, I signed up for a class on the basics. I learned how to lay out and make stairs in class the other day but still had some questions. That's when I found your site. What a great discovery! Your site is well planned, the writing is informative, and the illustrations are clear. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge, they are a great resource." BA

We encourage our members to send us photos of their completed projects. I am amazed of the quality of work out there. We have some of the best ones uploaded to our site. One of my favorites is Ken's scaled down craps table, an amazing job. I helped ken with one of our plans to build a china hutch. When answering questions from our members I find it very helpful to get photos or drawings of their project. Email is a great medium for sending these. It works both ways.

"I had to take a minute and write to compliment on your site. The net is full of crap, sites that are not kept up, are simply links to sellers, and porn. I bought a house that I am renovating and today I built a needed stair case from scratch using the info on your page. I'd seen it done before and knew what to use but not exactly how to use it. Your site answered any and every question and then some. You must have put a lot of thought and effort into it or you have kept it up adding new info as questions came in. It even had how to install the banister. Congratulations on one of the better sites on the net." BD

Well, I hope I haven't kept you from washing the car or something. I just wanted to thank you for the interest in our website. If you have a project coming up or would like to check out our site, just to read my how-to articles, please go ahead. Dan will give you a link to our signup page where you will find the current cost of a subscription and how to go about getting one.

"Thank you! so much for responding. I have left messages at other web sites claiming to get back to its readers and it never happens. What a pleasant surprise! Your plans are they customizable for various sizes? Also can I purchase them directly from your web site? I will buy the plans, not that I think I need them, but because you do give of your time to total strangers and in this way I can help the site as well as the extra guidance your plans will bring my project. Again thank you so much for your response." HS

Dan and I are looking forward to having you come on board. Sign up today!

All the best,

Dave Osborne

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