Author Archives: matador

Big Beam Joinery

Sometimes, having a pile of tools is all you need to get the job done. Even if you don’t have the right tool for the job, most of the time one of your workmates does. I mean, lets face it – we finish carpenters are die-hard tool junkies. When we see another carpenter who has something that will get the job done better, faster and stronger, we have to have it, right? Right.

Even though we finish carpenters are sometimes fools for new tools, actually buying a tool that you will only use once in a great while, just isn’t an option. Either because the tool is too expensive to justify buying, or the shipping time makes the tool purchase prohibitive.

The short of it is – I was working on a project, and discovered I needed a big saw. Or at least a way to cut glue-joint surfaces on an 8″X 12″ Doug Fir beam at a 45 degree angle.  For what, you ask? One really big Doug Fir fire place mantle. The mantle was to be constructed of one beam stacked on top of another, and was to wrap the chimney chase on three sides. The bottom beam was sized at 8″X10″, with the bigger 8″X12″ beam stacked on top.

To achieve cabinet-quality joints in such big timbers was going to be a challenge. Continue reading

Paneling an Octagonal Ceiling

For any finish carpenter to be successful, it takes hard work, creative thinking, and the ability to connect to the dreams and ideas of our clients. These facts are tested continually in many different ways.

For instance, in the same home Nautilus Finish Carpentry installed the radius trim, we also installed wood-paneled ceilings throughout. It presented a couple of challenges most finish carpenters don’t run into very often.

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Milling Radius Window Heads

I recently worked on a custom home that required radius window trim. It’s always a challenging and interesting task to create this special kind of finish carpentry trim, so I thought I’d write a bit about it.

There are a few ways to go about making radius window head pieces. The approach you use depends on the brand and model of window you are casing. In this example, we are working with ‘Eagle Brand’ windows which are manufactured with the jam piece in place. In other words, to trim out the window, all we had to install were the sill, apron, casing legs, and head piece.

In some cases, you can template the radius portion of the window and have the millwork supplier fabricate them for you. This is a pretty expensive option, and for this particular project, supplier wanted $250.00 dollars a piece. We had eleven windows in this house, and we were able to make the head pieces in approximately 2.5 working days. This amounted to substantial savings we were able to pass on to the client.

Here is how we made these particular window head pieces. Continue reading

Timber Passages

Hello, thanks for stopping by the Nautilus Finish Carpentry blog!

Shown here are a few photos of Timber Passages installed in a custom home in Sisters, Oregon. The style of this home is true to its surroundings, Mountain Lodge.

The timber passages here are set up to fit inside the rough opening and it worked out really well. The framers did a good job in leaving us with enough room to achieve a 48-inch finished opening, with one inch reveals between the legs and the head piece.

Continue reading


Today is the official launch of the Knot Blog and the new Nautilus Construction website!

A huge thanks go out to my awesome web designer, Adam Zarudny, who is responsible for the gorgeous design, and without whose help this site wouldn’t have happened.

Another thanks also goes out to my wife and her company Emerald Bay Photography who provided all the photography on this site.

Generously too, this website is hosted by Jake Ortman at

Please check back frequently for project updates and general writings on finish carpentry.