July 16, 2007

Fine Homebuilding No. 189 - Review

fh_189.jpgThe new Fine Homebuilding just arrived and, after a read-through, we can happily report that it’s a solid, above-average effort from our friends at Taunton. As usual, there are a few articles geared more for idea-generation, as opposed to actual execution. This time around they’re good ones and display a lot of options for consideration. The cover story, “Signature Details for Kitchen Cabinets,” is a fine example, giving eight different ideas and scenarios for sprucing up the kitchen.

The more practical articles, “Insulating a Rim Joist,” “Trimming a Basement Window,” and one on the use of a basement curtain drain,” are all well-written, and easy to understand. Also, there is a good one on how to install a garbage disposal.

Read on to see what tools are covered in this issue of Fine Homebuilding.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 26, 2007

Popular Woodworking – August 2007 – Review

pop_woodworking_aug07.jpgThis month’s Popular Woodworking just showed up and it’s another winner. Lots of cool articles, tips, tricks, and projects for all skill level woodworkers. This issue even has the first installment of a new column, “Jig Journal,” which, according to Christopher Schwartz, Editor of the magazine, is “not your typical woodworking jig column with Rube Goldberg gizmos. These are jigs designed to be used everyday.”

For projects, this issue features a canted wall box (for beginners), a nice tusk-tenon book rack (for intermediates), a great Shaker Clock (for the advanced among you), and a foot-powered lathe (for the insane inventor-types out there). There is also a good article on dust collection, one on plane wicks, and a very cool piece on The College of the Redwoods, the woodworking school founded by James Krenov.

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June 25, 2007

This Old House – July/August 2007 – Annual Kitchen and Bath Special

This issue of This Old House is another good one, filled with solid articles on kitchens and baths as well as a handful of other relevant topics. The only drawback is that there is very little discussion of tools of any sort.

The centerpiece of the kitchens portion of the magazine is an analysis of three renovations, each done on a different budget. The article has nice cost breakdowns and some good advice (steer clear of trends). There is also a piece on what can go wrong during a kitchen remodel and how not to let those problems happen to you.

As for the baths part of the magazine, there is an article on concrete countertops, one on how to tile a vintage bath, and a particularly cool one on outdoor showers.

Other topics covered in this issue include ceiling fans, irrigation gear, and wireless monitoring systems.

Keep reading to see what tools were covered in this issue.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 28, 2007

This Old House - June 2007 - Review

tohjune2007.jpgAfter last month’s stinker, This Old House is back with a great issue, focused mostly on outdoor projects and gardening. Although it showed up in the mailbox looking like it had been sent through a meat grinder, we were able to read through the entire issue except for the last few pages.

There are great articles on container gardening, dormers, and building fountains, but without question our favorite article is the one dedicated to lawn sports. The story gives easy step-by-step instructions on building courts for horeshoes, bocce, and croquet. We have experience in the area, and even though we’re not convinced their instructions are the best, it’s a good place to start and will at least dispel the thought that making room for these games is a difficult thing to do.

The non-outdoors articles include a very nice piece on the restoration of an old farmhouse, an introduction to Japanese-style handsaws, and an essential article on how to choose wood at the lumber yard.

Keep reading to see what tools were mentioned in this issue.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 20, 2007

Fine Homebuilding No. 188 - Review

FH_188.jpgTaunton delivers another good issue of Fine Homebuilding this month. There’s a vague spring/summer feel to things with articles on customizing decks, creating stone steps, and a low risk way to reroof. There are also solid articles on SIPs (structural insulated panels), framing for a garage door, and building a paneled passageway.

In addition to all this good stuff, what we liked best about this issue is the article on undersink plumbing. It’s likely that your current plumbing is ill-conceived and prone to problems. This article isolates the issues at hand and gives a clear way to redo things to head off the multitude of problems that are just waiting to occur.

Keep reading to find out what tools were covered in this issue.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Woodsmith Vol 29 / No. 171 - Review

woodsmith29_171.jpgWoodsmith, our favorite woodworking magazine, showed up the other day and even though this issue isn’t an out of the park home run, it still sits far above the competitors. This time around, they’ve got some great stuff on stropping, cutting gauges, and the Incra Router Table Jig. For projects, there’s a sliding top table, an oak chaise lounge, and a carved book rack. The three projects are all very doable with some nice challenging aspects to each.

Also in the issue is a cool article on hand scrapers, a tool we don’t see enough people using, and one describing 7 tips and tricks for using oil stains. Screwing up the finishing process, after going through all the work of making something, is insanely frustrating and this article has a lot of good information on how to avoid those blunders.

As always, we recommend buying this issue and subscribing to the magazine.

Subscribe to Woodsmith here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 6, 2007

This Old House - May 2007 - Review

tohmay2007.jpgWe apologize for being late in reviewing May's This Old House. Our excuse is that it’s, well, an altogether forgettable issue. It’s been on the coffee table for a while now, and after the first flip through, we’ve had very little interest in picking it up again.

There’s a pretty solid article about organic lawn care and a nice “How it Works” on solar hot water systems, but aside from those, the issue is pretty sub-standard fare. There’s a piece on different deck styles (each with a superhero-gone-wrong name; The Multi-Tasker, The Great Equalizer, and The Privacy Preserver), one on adding a cobblestone apron at the end of a driveway (Zzzzzz), and four pages dedicated to an unbearable “he said/she said” article about the renovation process.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 24, 2007

Fine Homebuilding No. 187 – Annual Houses Issue - Review

Fine Homebuilding’s Annual Houses issue showed up in the mailbox the other day and, as always, it’s a pretty fun read. Each year, this issue showcases a number of houses of various styles and somehow makes you believe that, with just a few changes, your house will take on the appearance of one of these masterpieces.

Among the profiled houses are a 540 sq. ft. cottage, a hurricane resistant beach house, and a hilltop contemporary with a lap pool that doubles as an emergency water supply. There is also an article that shows how both the single-level and multi-level retirement home can be successful.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 12, 2007

This Old House - April 2007 - Review

toh_april2007.jpgThis Old House Magazine is a consistent purchase. It’s like Maxim or Wired (minus the naked girls and keyboards) in that you can go cover to cover in one sitting, but you can always go back through and find something you missed, some little sidebar or review that’s tucked in the corner of a page. This issue falls in with that general idea and is crammed with information.

With Spring coming, most of the larger articles in this issue deal with the outside elements of the house. One lists out seven ways to upgrade the overall look of your house (use pavers and plants, upgrade your garage doors, etc), while another deals with how to clean a winter’s worth of grime off of your deck. Both articles are useful and worth reading.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 16, 2007

Fine Homebuilding No. 186, May 2007 - Review

FH_186.jpg
We really like getting Fine Homebuilding. The magazine is always at the cutting edge of new products and techniques, and the information is always presented in a clear and concise manner. It’s rare that they have a dud of an issue. This month’s offering, we’re happy to say, falls in the ‘non-dud’ category. In fact, it’s one of the better issues we’ve seen in a while.

The cover story is an instructional on building doghouse dormers. The article is overflowing with great pictures and the text is separated into an easy to understand step-by-step format. The drawings for this article are fantastic as well. To us, the most interesting part of the article to us is a tutorial on how to find all of the appropriate measurements using a construction calculator. We’ve used those calculators in the past and not only are they confusing and intimidating, but their manuals are usually pretty lame so this bit of coaching is particularly helpful.

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