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Working Alone: Tips and Techniques for Solo Building (For Pros By Pros) Hardcover – October 20, 1999
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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.
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, N.C. He is a frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding and JCL magazines and is the author of three books on building.
Top customer reviews
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I offer suggestions to other authors. Old homes are not built to precise specifications. We need more on how to work around things encountered. Also a book about various tools and how they can be very useful. Like a 3.5 inch planer, an oscillating tool, etc. People working alone or finding problems need to know about tools that will help them. Repairing houses is far more challenging than building from scratch. I'd like to see and clearing house on the net with tips on working alone or overcoming obstacles. Youtube is helpful at times. just thought I'd pass it all on! I often found Youtube more helpful than many of my how-to books.
you tend to work in ways that ASSUME dependency:
getting help to do things that could be done better alone,
or doing things in wasteful ways, just because that's the unconscious-default...
Whereas, when working alone, one HAS to plan more, think more, but...
the /benefit/ of working alone is that one can work one's own right way...
One of the few things he says he won't bother doing alone is the layout-work for a first foundation
( if you're adding, you use the foundation that is already there, & measure from it...
if you're putting in the first foundation on a site,
NOTHING is there, so all your measurements are on the raw ground,
and having someone else there to help make certain everything gets layed-out right definitely helps )
He notes that when you build a roof with help, you probably use trusses, to cut down the time need to do it...
but when you work alone, you probably stick-build the roof, because you can't manage/manoever a truss...
Use C-clamps for putting handles on plywood...
( that's what he's done in the cover-photo )
This and the "Corps Business: the 30 MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES of the US Marines" by David H. Freedman ( Forbes senior editor, not a Marine ) both push the self-sufficiency ATTITUDE, and help build capable people...
John Carroll, thank you.
assistance. He mentions a few ideas I have discovered on my own that I know work, and a lot more I might not
ever have thought about. I hesitated buying the book due to a couple of bad reviews, but I'm glad I ignored
them. If you are a weekend "honey-do" man or a sole proprieter you should find several very useful tips in this
As for any bad reviews-if you are so good at what you do to criticize this book then why are you reading
it in the first place? Because of you some people might miss out on a real gem. I'd be interested in how your
skills stack up against John's. Not well, I would imagine.
1. how sheathing which overhangs both the studs and concrete blocks of the foundation is laid in a perfectly straight line?
2. how to install a sheet rock ceiling?
3. how to level, square and plumb an outside deck?
4. what tools are needed and available to enable one person to do many jobs alone?
Many of us wonder how these jobs are done period, but the author shares not only how to do these tasks and more, but how to do them without anyone else helping you.