Installing baseboard

Baseboard hides the joint between the drywall and the floor, so most finish floors are installed before the baseboard. On carpeted floors, baseboard can be installed ahead of time, but hold it up about У2 in. so the carpet can tuck underneath. Baseboard comes in many different styles, ranging from simple flat stock of various […]

Installing casing

Casing hides the joint between the dry — wall and door jamb or window surround It comes in many styles, from 1 x square — edged stock in varying widths to milled casings (see the drawing above). When casing doors, I buy 14-ft. lengths to cut down on waste. Sometimes door casing is available in […]


Once the drywall is up and the painters have sealed and finished the walls, the task of installing interior trim, window surrounds, casing, baseboard, and aprons can be started. Years ago we used to trim with wide baseboards, fancy casings, and elaborate crown moldings. While big-budget houses still often have these material — and labor-intensive […]


Unlike framing, where you can leave a small gap now and then, siding needs to fit properly everywhere. If the horizontal boards are running out of level or don’t fit well at the corners, doors, and win­dows, it’s noticeable from the next county. Not only do gaps in siding look bad, but they also might […]

Eave with soffit

The drawing above shows an easy soffit to build. It has rafter tails cut square, and once the fascia is nailed to the tails, the rafters can be sheathed with exterior plywood, 1 x cedar or pine, or even cov­ered with stucco. A common way to cover this soffit is to take a long board, […]

Cross-sighting a door jamb

Cross-sighting ensures that a door fits accurately in its frame because the jambs are parallel to each other. You can cross-sight with strings, pulling two from corner to corner diagonally across the frame. If the strings just touch in the middle, the jamb sides are parallel. A faster way to do this is by eye­balling. […]


Shims are time-consuming to use and tend to fall out as wood shrinks. You can eliminate shims if you use the clipping technique to hold trimmers secure­ly in place (see p. 130). Clipping will also allow you to nail the jamb directly to the trimmer. For many years, trim carpenters have been using drywall screws […]

Trick of the trade

When doing finish work (particularly when remodel­ing an older structure), carpenters often run up against crooked floors, walls, and ceilings. I’ve found that when things are out of plumb or level, it’s best to build parallel to that. The eye can see two lines that go away from each other much easier than it can […]


Once there is a completed house shell, it’s time to turn attention to the finishing details. Of course, much of this work—installing plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, roofing, and drywall, for example—is outside the scope of this book. But there is still plenty of carpen­try work to do. In frame carpentry, it often doesn’t matter […]