Is my house a Craftsman?

Craftsman style homes are abundant in the Portland area, yet many people are unaware of what makes a Craftsman home. In order to understand Craftsman style design we need to first look at the Victorian period.  Victorian style homes where … Continued

A Machine for Living In

In a world of new technologies and conveniences, architects thrive to design buildings and homes that are thrilling and full of imagination and artistry. We no longer build to connect the human to God but more to the humans’ ability … Continued

HEIHO of the Carpenter

Heiho means, the way. The way of the Carpenter. In the classic text of Samurai Sword Strategy, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, he describes the Carpenter as the greatest strategist of all. Musashi said that the master … Continued

Common Hardwood Stair Treads

Hardwoods, both domestic and exotic have always been a favorite among stair part purchasers. Generally speaking, the more common species of stair treads in the Portland area are Red Oak, White Oak, American Cherry and Fir. In addition, there are … Continued

Hard vs. Soft wood

Hardwood: Trees that lose their leaves in the fall. Classifying a wood as hardwood or softwood does not indicate “hardness”. For instance, balsa wood, which is extremely light and soft, is technically a hardwood. Maple, Oak and Cherry are among … Continued

Choosing a Handrail Style

Once you have determined exactly where you are going with your stairs your next step will be to choose a style. Many of your style decisions will be based on the direction you have decided to go. When choosing a … Continued

Stair Parts Terminology

Pin Top Newel: A newel with a dowel on top which inserts into a fitting for an over the post stair system. Ball Top Newel: A newel, generally with turning which has a round top sitting on a block. Starting … Continued

Role of the Stair Builder

Role of the stair builder By Andrew Young “Nothing spoils a nice suit more than a lousy pair of shoes…” Was one of the sage bits of advice my great grandfather imparted to me.  Outside the odd wedding, funeral or … Continued

Stair Parts Lingo

  Newel: Commonly called a “post”. The Newel is a strong vertical post used at the start of a railing. They are also used to strengthen the rail system on balconies and landings. Baluster: Commonly called a “spindle”; these help … Continued