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Working Alone: Tips & Techniques for Solo Building (For Pros By Pros) Paperback – December 15, 2000

104 customer reviews

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Working Alone: Tips & Techniques for Solo Building (For Pros By Pros) + Graphic Guide to Frame Construction: Details for Builders and Designers (For Pros By Pros) + The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling, 3rd Edition
Price for all three: $53.98

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Carpenters will be enthusiastic about both these new efforts. Together they make a complete package for anyone interested in building. Spence has produced a hefty textbook-style guide to carpentry that covers the entire process of building from planning through finishing. The scope is impressiveA704 pages and 2300 black-and-white photographs and drawings, building codes, foundations, framing, doors and windows, exterior finishing, cabinet construction, and tools. Newer techniques, such as steel framing and popular trends, like post-and-beam construction, are covered in separate sections. The comprehensive safety section is outstanding. Many of the processes are way beyond the comfort zone of the average do-it-yourselfer; however, there is something here for everyone, beginner to expert. Most do-it-yourselfers have encountered jobs where they could have used three or four hands; Carroll, a solo homebuilder, has come to their rescue with a slim volume that shows many of the tricks he uses to safely and efficiently complete work on his own. Readers who have completed projects will be suprised at how much easier their projects would have been had they known Carroll's techniques. Using straightforward text and line-drawings, he shares a variety of tips and labor-saving techniques for masonry, framing, siding installation, measuring, and hanging drywall. He shows how to cope with problems such as the collapse of the overextended tape measure. There really isn't anything else like this book on the market. Spence's title will get greater use in the library because it is a more general reference title; but both are excellent and will appeal to both do-it-yourselfers and professionals. Recommended for larger public library collections.AJonathan N. Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Akron, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Carroll began his career in the late 1960s roofing houses during summer vacations from high school. He is still building and repairing houses in and near Durham, NC. He is a frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding and JLC magazines and is the author of three books on building.

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Product Details

  • Series: For Pros By Pros
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (December 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561585459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561585458
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.4 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Reeder Lyons on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've been in the remodeling business since 1975, and have worked most of this time by myself.
I'm just finishing a 10 x 20 room addition for a customer. I purchased this book at the beginning of this project and have found Mr. Carroll's book refreshing and informative. There were many ideas and suggestions that were benificial. I found the rafter layout-jig very useful.
His suggestions about the "math" of the rafter was very useful, and increased my capacity to complete the job in a timely maner which helped my bottom line.
I appreciated his easy reading style and found his book enjoyable.
I wish his information on the cornice system had been a little more detailed, but found his explanations sufficent.
I found his information about clamps and holding jigs to be of special interest and enjoyed all of his book. I even bought his other book, "Measuring, Marking, and Layout", which I also found enlighting, enjoyable, fun, and benificial, to my professional standing as a remodeler.
Thanks for two great books, that help take the mystery out of some of the more complex parts of our profession.
Respectfully
Reeder Lyons IMH Remodeling & Repair
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By John Grossbohlin on December 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has been some 30 years since I first helped build a 4 car garage and there have been many "working alone" projects, ranging from additions, to decks, to complete home remodels since. I'm completely remodeling a house now... Over those years I figured out many of the tips in the book myself. However, it would have been far more efficient to have had the book 30 years ago. The book somewhat makes up for not having a mentor... i.e., someone to "cause [you] to be taught Informed and Instructed in the Trade, Art and Mystery of a [builder]." (Paraphrased from an 18th century apprenticeship agreement). I'm about to order another copy for my brother...
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
this book was extremely helpful to me in building a detached room for my son. The book was recommended from a website about building small houses, so I reserved it through our library. Having read the book, I found the tips and explanations for framing rafters provided clarification for the sketchy instructions from the 5 other books we have about building outbuildings. Perhaps using clamps and homemade jigs to support work is a given for a professional, but it was an eye-opener for me! I did extensive renovation on my historical house, but had help from friends to do it. Building this room from the ground up mostly alone is a different matter. I wish we had this book when we were trying to square the foundation. I am now ordering the book for myself, as the library wants their own book back!!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kevin E. Reilly on August 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book should be called "101 Uses for C-clamps and yard sticks".

That might sound like a negative statement considering that I gave it 4 stars. On the contrary... this is a VERY helpful book.

My only complaint would be that the author recycles the same methods over and over again in a book that is structured to follow the phases of construction.

If the book is actually intended for an experienced builder, it would save time to describe a particular method and then discuss it's various uses.

Instead, this book goes phase-by-phase through the construction process. Utilizing many of the same techniques over and over again. Yet I felt compelled to keep reading in case there was something new around the corner. There wasn't.

I think this book is a "must read" for anyone who's looking to tackle a project on their own. Or a professional who's looking for some new ideas. It's full of great ideas that only come from necessity, and I fully intend to employ many of them at the first opportunity.

That being said; once you've mastered the concept of site-built brackets and using clamps as extra hands, the biggest contribution this book makes is in some of the author's solo-measuring procedures.

All three are worth the price of the book, just don't get so caught up that you think there's more in store "in the next chapter".
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a guy who spends every weekend and nearly every vacation working on my home, this great little book is a godsend. With three kids at home under the age 10, my only possible helper--my wife--spends all her time taking care of them. That leaves just me to get the work done and,frankly, it's not easy doing all this by myself. Then along comes John Carroll to show the way. Carroll has figured out ways to do things without a helper that would've taken me a century of weekends to figure out. Thanks.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have been working on old houses almost all of my life(60 years). Had a new house once but found it was pretty boring stuff. One thing I have learned from Mr Carroll's book is: most projects can be done alone if you are willing to plan them through... I look forward to putting some of the techniques described in this book into practice soon. Thanks
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Brice on May 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has tried to stretch a tapemeasure over 8 feet in the wind or on a ladder can appreciate this book. These tips are all helpful. You may not use them all right away, but when it's time, you'll be glad you had this book. I wish I had it before I built my two story shop. I recently purchased it before working on my deck and it's great.
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