Friday, January 29, 2010

Aesthetics behind the best Finishing touches

The other day I was visiting my friend’s new home. The home was well-planned and roomy but what caught my surprise was the unique styling of doors, windows, stairs and the baseboards. I was stunned by the skill of hand railings. It was then that I realized that the aspect that changes an ordinary home into an extraordinary magnificent modern home is the finishing, largely the Finish Carpentry associated. It is sometimes referred as Trim Carpentry too. True to its name, it’s indeed the last step of the carpentry. It involves sophisticated craftsmanship and eye for absolute detailing that enhances the quotient of perfection in carpentry.

Finish or Trim carpentry covers our interiors and the exteriors, especially all works that are part of every visible carpentry work. This includes artistic doors, wonderful windows and baseboards which cover the gap between the floor and the end of drywall which is known as millwork. The flamboyant newel posts and the stair cases and their handrails, our wonderful mantelpieces, our doors, our bookcases speak in volume of our artistic flavor. These are some of the things where quality of Finish Carpentry is visible.

Finish Carpentry involves crown molding which refers to the decorative strips of wood installed in the meeting point of wall and ceiling. Crown molding serves to conceal the gaps between wall and ceiling and certainly has a say on the look of the room. There are casings, which fills gap between a window or the door and wall. Wainscoting helps to take care of rising damp but is a lengthy and expensive process. This is usually done with tile and vinyl paneling. There are designers who prefer to use contrasting wallpaper or paint to create the effect of wainscoting. Finish Carpentry has specialists who have a broader understanding of how beautifully household things can be placed with the right material, color, size, shape and pattern. For example, a simple change in homes with wide casings, deep baseboards, crown molding can stun you with a luxurious look and feel.

Now that we are aware of the different activities of Finish Carpentry, let us also have a ring side view of the Carpentry tools that are used. The tape measure is an important aid. The level, pencil, the miter box and Spackle are important and so is the saw, which is used for molding materials. Sanding is an important activity, so sandpaper is used. Nail set, finishing nails add strength. Caulk and Caulking gun is useful and so are Paints.

If you are ambitious and a D-I-Y enthusiast, you can attempt some Finish Carpentry but as an advice start on a simple task, say trying on baseboard molding for a small room for practice. If you intend to remodel your house with the help of a specialist, discussing the appropriate styles of moldings and their size helps. Bringing in chair railing molding, fitting a newel post, a banister and spindles certainly refurbishes any home. Finish Carpentry can make your style statement loud and clear. Go for it, make a mark!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting Started in DIY Custom Trim Work

Custom trim work is something that some carpenters specialize in these days. As there are many different jobs that a carpenter could do, they often choose the ones that they enjoy the most or the ones that they excel at and specialize in them.

Sometimes, that means it is necessary to hire several carpenters, unless you ask the right questions during the interview. For big jobs, hiring a contractor that has access to carpenters with all kinds of specialties is usually the best idea.

If you want, you can hire a contractor or carpenter to do the big parts of the job and then finish it up yourself. Finish-carpentry is not that difficult, as long as you have the right tools.

The necessary tools include a hammer or a nail gun. A hand saw, a circular saw and a cutting table, workbench or sawhorses will be necessary. They vary in price and style. Choose according to your budget and the amount of space that you have for storage.
Workbenches and tables will require a garage or workroom. Saw horses and hand-held circular saws can be stored in a closet, if necessary.

You will need a miter box for cutting wood at specific angles. This is necessary for corners. Custom trim work typically requires cutting end pieces at various angles, although there are some new plasticized and wood materials that will wrap around most corners. Inside facing corners will still need to be cut.

If you plan to do a number of projects around your home, you may eventually want to invest in sharpening tools. The cost of new blades for circular and hand saws is not that high, but some craftspeople still enjoy doing their own sharpening.

When choosing a type of wood, stick with the same type throughout the house. Even the same type of wood can vary slightly in the grain and texture, making the look less uniform. So, careful wood selection is part of the job.

When you begin nailing up custom trim work, you will notice that real wood has knots and other imperfections. You will need to avoid those when you are nailing. A nail too close to a knot will cause the wood to split.

Measuring tools, including a tape measure, are essential. Some woodworkers feel that it is more accurate to line the wood up and mark it at the point where it should be cut. Others disagree. Try it both ways, as you are getting started in custom trim work. See what you feel is more accurate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Essential Home Improvement Tools

The necessary home improvement tools depend on the job that you are doing, but there are some basic tools that you will need to do just about any job. Here’s a look at what they are and the purposes they serve.


For most jobs, the “claw hammer” is suitable. Designed primarily for hammering nails into wood and for removing them, the claw hammer differs slightly from the framing hammer, which usually has a milled head. The milled head will leave a mark on dry wall. So, for any finishing work, the claw hammer is used. They may also be referred to as finishing hammers.

In addition to the claw hammer, you may also need an upholstery hammer, if your DIY jobs extend to furniture refinishing or upholstering. The upholstery hammer does not have the claw on the back to remove nails. It is smaller and lighter weight than most hammers, because it is primarily designed for hammering in upholstery tacks or nails.


For most jobs, the handsaw is suitable. But, for large jobs that require a lot of cutting, a power saw, usually referred to as a circular saw may be desirable. Anyone interested in home improvement tools would enjoy a power saw, especially if they were given a special table for cutting. It just makes every job a little easier.


Hand planes are composed of a cutting edge and a safety handle. They are used to smooth out rough pieces of wood and for “rough” sanding. Sandpaper of different grades is used to complete the smoothing process. A hand plane is often used to repair a door that sticks.


Levels, as the name suggests, are used to ensure that structures are of even height; that they are “level”. The bubble level has been used most commonly in the past, but the laser line levels are gaining favor. The laser line levels can be used for everything from hanging a chair rail to hanging a group of pictures at exactly the same height. A bubble level would be used, for example, to check that a deck rail was straight.

Miter Box

Although some people might not think so, miter boxes are essential home improvement tools, especially for installing trim. Baseboards, chair rails and crown moldings, for example, need to be cut at special angles, or they will not meet properly at the corners.

You may need other home improvement tools, as you attempt to do other jobs. But, the basics here will get you started.