What It’s Like to Be a Woman In a Man’s World

What It’s Like to Be a Woman in a Field That’s Still 99 Percent Male Nina MacLaughlin. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

In 2008, journalist Nina MacLaughlin quits her desk job of seven years with no plan for what to do next. Though she had no experience to speak of she jumped at the chance to apply to a Craigslist job posting for a carpenter’s assistant. She was especially heartened by the tagline “Women strongly encouraged to apply,” and sent off her application right away.

She got the job, and has been a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ever since.

In her new memoir, ‘Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter’, MacLaughlin tells us her experience of abandoning her desk job and the satisfaction and joy of learning to work with her hands. She spoke with the Cut about what her career switch taught her about ambition, how working as a carpenter changed her own femininity, and what it’s like to be a woman in a field that’s still 99 percent male.

To read the full interview click the photo or click here.

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DIY Garage Shelving

Don’t forget to Spring forward this Sunday, March 8th! It’s in that spirit with the longer days and the warmer weather that we enjoy new found energy to do lots of spring cleaning and to tackle long overdue organization projects. In this video Ana White shows us how to put together a DIY garage shelving unit that not only is simple but loads of fun to do. So grab your miter saw, screw gun, screws and 2x4s to spring forward with a tidy, organized, solid shelving solution that should take only a few hours to build.

Vacationing family decides to restore abandoned French chateau


They’ve unearthed mysterious medieval tunnels, uncovered ancient artifacts that hint to what daily life was like , and uncovered a beautiful fresco in a salon on the first floor. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.) It sounds romantic, but the process of buying and restoring a property of such size and significance has been an arduous labor of love.

Join this Australian family who had been on the hunt for a vacation home in France and then stumbled on a property in need of some major TLC that captured their hearts.

“We had never planned on a chateau. Our French friends warned us about those,” says Karina Waters,  “But after driving down the snow-capped mountains and seeing the chateau’s grounds from the village, we were sold.”

Click here to visit their website and see how things are going.

Girl Power/Guy Power: A Stereotype Makeover

Oberfraese

Oberfraese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you think of woodworking, or picture a sewing machine, what do you see? Do you associate men with one and women with the other? The American Spirit is the fuel for our DIY world. Today people are more comfortable to disregard gender stereotypes and do what they want to do. Many women are enjoying creative pastimes like furniture building, as more men feel free to explore crafts such as sewing and quilting.

This article is a wonderful exposé which explores this freedom of choice in great detail. Case in point:

Ana White.

Her blog “has become the go-to resource for furniture building DIYers, with over 1000 free plans, step -by-step project tutorials, and videos in which White explains power tools and how to properly use them.”

In a related video, check out President Barack Obama as he tackles Toy-gender based stereotypes 😀

Steel Studliness

Superman: The Man of SteelEspecially in Paris where wood is so expensive, steel studs are a great way to frame out walls.  Fire resistant, easy to use, light weight; the list goes on and on. Although the Grindcore music track is somewhat annoying, this video is a good short and sweet intro into the world of steel studs. It answers the question, ‘Why just be a woodworker when you can be a Man of Steel?’ 🙂

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The Art Of Screwing – Rock It Fast

In French it’s called BA 10 or BA 13. In America it’s known as drywall. But in the trades it has a nickname: ‘Rock’. So when it comes to common phrases like: ‘ready to rock’, ‘let’s rock’, etc… in Carpentry they have their own special meaning.

So let’s say you’ve framed out a space and you are in fact, ready to rock. SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) dictate you always rock the ceiling first. This is the least glorious of all the rocking maneuvers. The reason is you have to get up on a ladder, lift the drywall over your head, position it properly on the ceiling joists or rafters, then you have to load your screw gun with a screw and then screw it to the rough framing. This move you rinse and repeat until the drywall is attached to the point it won’t fall down.  If there are only two guys rockin’ this is preformed while the one with the gun holds the drywall in place with his head as he reaches into his pouch to grab a handful of screws.

Now in in the good ol’ USA, we usually make a few T braces out of wood that we use to hold the drywall in place. But this is Paris. France was deforested hundreds of years ago. When it comes many building situations here, using wood just ain’t no good.

Harry Callahan, played by Clint EastwoodSo there you are huffing, puffing and juggling your way toward your rockdom. Like we said, not very glorious…until now! Enter the Auto Feed Screw Gun. Now, the video below features Bosch which is somewhat of a Pro-sumer quality brand, nothing special. But the video is out standing. Check it out!

No more fumbling around for screws, no more holding the rock up with your head. You just point and shoot like Clint Eastwood. With your auto feed screw gun in one hand and drywall in the other, you get to look up at the ceiling and say ‘Go ahead, Make my day!…’

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What Does Drywall Repair And California Have In Common?

Answer: The “California Patch”! (AKA: the no cladding patch). Very cool!

‘Yes’, this is the second video we’ve posted by Lowe’s and ‘No’ we are not getting paid. We just call ’em the way we see ’em and this video is the best we found on the subject.

What do we like? First of all, although we are Americans in Paris, we have never even HEARD of the California Patch. This is ingenious because a typical drywall repair solution includes: cutting all the way to the studs on either side or using a wood 1×3″ or similar backing to reinforce the whole. Then you need drywall tape, screws, and a screw gun plus the drywall plaster, drywall knives etc… This is an elegant solution.

Also, we like the way they show in the beginning that they are taking the extra step to protect the floor. Drywall dust footprints can and will follow you all over the house. Try to wipe them up with a sponge and you just created your very own ‘dust fun cloud streak’. Whether it’s a complete renovation or small repair; a clean job site is a happy job site.

Plus, they go into drop dead easy moves for textured finishes and if you live in Paris you sure see alot of those. Move over enduit wall texture specialist dude. Got it covered.

Lastly, the video is well produced. No fast cuts or over the top Heavy Metal sound track. The music and image flow is smooth and very Zen, the way a good carpenters mind set should always be!

Well done Lowe’s. Keep up the good work!