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.

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