Steve Maxwell lives on Manitoulin Island, Ontario and has worked remotely as technical editor of Canadian Home Workshop since 1990. He uses his experience as a cabinetmaker, carpenter and stonemason to prepare projects for the magazine, to write stories of his own, and to test and review products and tools in his workshop. Steve has a readership of about 2 million people across Canada and the US, and takes photos and creates videos to accompany his work.
When Steveâ€™s not working with words, wood and stone, he likes to spend time gardening, cutting firewood, and showing his five kids how to make things.
Recent Articles and Blog Posts
How to hang heavy objects on the wall
The last time you hung a few frames, did you woodpecker the wall with misplaced holes? Instead, cut paper templates and tape them up to test your positioning. A good rule of thumb is to hang a picture with its centre 60" (150 cm)...
Tool trend: Brushless motors
For a kid rummaging around Grandpa’s workshop, circa 1972, an unattended power drill was a magical thing. Pull the trigger, and not only did the bit spin, but through the cooling vents you could see sparks—real, raw...
Expert advice for building a deck
Rob Dearing, general contractor in Gore Bay, Ont., since 1995: “There’s no point going in-between: You either build your deck on top of the soil or go all the way below the frost line with a foundation.” We asked Dearing for...
How to improve your shovelling technique
A round-mouth shovel is the principle tool you’ll need, ideally one with a long, straight handle. (D-handled gardening shovels are short, which means more bending down.) Start by defining the circular outline of your hole, about...
How to fix a problem door
: Shave down areas that rub using a hand plane or electric power planer. Always work from an outer edge inward to avoid splintering the wood. To fix a door that binds along the floor when opened, try repositioning...
I've cut, split, stacked and burned 15 to 20 face cords of firewood each year since 1990 for my own house, using skills I had mastered cutting hundreds of cords of maple as part of a farm job that got me through university in the...
Getting a cottage inspection
Dan Osborne, a Manitoulin Island building inspector since 2002: “Building codes and inspectors are not a government money grab. We make sure decent buildings happen.”
Advice departmentA good inspector is happy to answer...
Applying new caulking
Exterior caulking keeps out water, critters, and drafts. From time to time, do a walk-around inspection at the cottage and replace any caulking that’s missing or damaged
Out with the old: Old caulking is the enemy of new...
How to choose the right mitre saw
A mitre saw is the fastest way to become an apparent genius at cutting trim and construction lumber accurately. Sometimes called a chopsaw, these saws make precise angled crosscuts. They’re especially useful for repeating the...