Dan Morrison | November 23, 2016

Article // Editor's Notes

A Thankful Note from the Editor


“I am thankful for copy editors because they make me sound smart.”

That is a thankful note I tweeted a few years ago, and it is still true. I cannot type, my spelling sucks, and my grammar is worse. I stumbled into construction journalism from a jobsite in Portland, Maine. I did not study journalism in college—which I barely escaped—I studied biology. After finding out that I was a crappy biologist, I became a carpenter.

Turns out, I was good at carpentry. Because I was good at math (college), had excellent balance (hockey), and was not afraid of heights (youth), I did well as a framer. At least, I had fun and didn’t get fired.

After a bad day on an icy roof with a misfiring nail gun, I applied for a job as an assistant editor with Fine Homebuilding magazine. I got the job because the editors, Andy Engel (a former NJ carpenter) and Kevin Ireton (another former Portland carpenter) felt like FHB did well with a lot of flannel in the editorial ranks. 

And because they had Chris Hoelk and Julie Risinit to make us sound smart.

I cannot thank Andy and Kevin enough for taking the chance on me (my back thanks you too, guys). That is when my respect for copy editors began. Suddenly, I sounded smart in print!

Thank you, Chris, Julie, Tami, Don, Jen, and (especially) Ingrid—who still has the occasion to make me sound smart.


But copy editor-ing is not why I am writing this ‘thankful’ note 

I am also thankful for the success of ProTradeCraft over its first year and a half of existence. 

In the beginning of this project, when we were planning and brainstorming, I gave a lot of thought to the editorial mission, tone, focus, and direction. I wanted to keep it light and serious at the same time. I love to laugh, so I inject humor whenever appropriate. 

I also understand that building codes, sketchy wiring, rotting buildings, and poisoning your customers are no laughing matter. When contractors look for information about these issues, they are not usually in the mood for flippant, glib, sarcastic, or hyperbolic sentences—no matter how much fun it is to write them. They want succinct, clear, and correct information.

I want you to know that while I may translate some information lightheartedly, I take the details, codes, science, and safety very seriously. 


A comment on our YouTube page got me thinking about this again 

The comment was about how the details shown in a video would never work because of X, Y, or Z. The commenter added “LOL” to a couple of the 'reasons.' It was as if he did not expect the content to be anything more than internet drivel—was just some dope doing something dopey.

He seemed to imply that builders should just build shit because roofers and window installers suck at what they do.

That is NOT why we launched ProTradeCraft.

I told him that the builder featured in the video is one of the most experienced high performance builders in the country—having done numerous retrofits and new houses for Building Science Corporation, one of the leading engineering and architecture firms in North America.

This builder has been through the wringer and he came out the other side. He is among the best, and I want you to have the information he has learned. 


ProTradeCraft is not Fake News

With the recent tsunami of fake news flooding social media sites, I felt that it was important to say clearly and unequivocally that we do not traffic in fake news, click-bait, marketing hype, or anything other than field-tested details from North America's best builders, remodelers, engineers, architects, and sometimes even building officials. 

Even if our spelling sucks.

I wanted to let you know that, in case you were not sure.

Happy Thanksgiving,


PS. you will also never read anything as [word]-gate at ProTradeCraft. Enough is enough with that one.



Thank you, Dan, ofr a great year and the chance to participate in the creation of something so well done. 

Un abrazo,


Thank You for writing this! I look forward to your emails every time they come! More importantly I have learned many new things! I suck at writing. Please keep them coming! Glen 

I love this piece. ... Not least because you wrote it—your writing is always a joy to read—but also because it gives thanks for the oft-overlooked copy editor. Copy editors the world over are cheering you now, Dan! Thanks for the thanks  :-)

Dan, we appreciate your work and savy advice. Who do you recommend to find real tools that fit the hands of our six year old grandson? His Dad had excellent skills and tools. Thank you and Happy Holidays!


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