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S20 E19: Harvesting Shrubs, Box Joint Jig

Jenn visits a fourth-generation nursery to learn how shrubs are grown; The team shares cost-effective ways to seal existing windows; Tom builds a sturdy serving tray with box joints.

Previous episode: S20 E18 | Next episode: S20 E20

In this episode:

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada visits Bruce Vanicek at Rhode Island Nurseries, a 4th generation family-owned nursery, to show how shrubs are planted and grown. The nursery, started by Bruce’s grandmother in 1895, specializes in growing yews—an adaptable and durable evergreen popular for hedges and borders. Bruce takes Jenn on a farm tour, from the greenhouses where cuttings are propagated to the final check-planted stage, where the plants are harvested, balled, burlapped, and shipped to your local nursery.

Next, host Kevin O’Connor, carpenter Nathan Gilbert, and home technology expert Ross Trethewey share some cost-effective ways to seal and insulate existing windows without replacing them. They explain different insulating techniques, including shrink wrap, weather stripping, and caulk. The team discusses efficiency ratings for older single-pane windows compared to today’s options and offers tips to seal your drafty windows from the inside. Anything you can do to decrease airflow and leakage will drastically increase comfort and energy savings.

Finally, Kevin joins general contractor Tom Silva in the workshop to build a sturdy serving tray with the help of a custom jig and box joints. Tom makes the tray from half-inch walnut and explains how the box joint is one of the strongest joints you can choose. He shows us how to make a dado sled to efficiently and evenly cut box joints with a table saw. Finally, once the glue dries, it’s time for sanding and a mineral oil finish.


How Shrubs are Harvested

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada visits a fourth-generation nursery to learn how shrubs are planted, how they grow, and how they end up at a garden center near you.

Where to find it?

Jenn toured Rhode Island Nurseries in Middletown, RI. The nursery specializes in yews, hollys, and a handful of other evergreen shrubs. They primarily operate as a distribution hub to other nurseries throughout New England, rather than selling their plants individually to homeowners.


The Most Practical Air Sealing Techniques

Home technology expert Ross Trethewey and master carpenter Nathan Gilbert share some cost-effective ways to seal and insulate existing windows without replacing them.

Where to find it?

When talking about shrink wrapping windows, Nathan refers to the Frost King Premium Cylinder, Heavy Duty, EZ Roll Shrink Window Kit

When talking about feeling a draft in your window and removing window casing, Nathan suggests using a low expanding foam like GREAT STUFF™ Window & Door Insulating Foam Sealant.

All other tools used including caulking gun, fiberglass insulation, weatherstripping, and caulking cord can be found at local home centers.


Build It | How to Build a Box Joint Jig

General contractor Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor build a basic serving tray as a means for illustrating the box joint—a commonly used method for joining corners for drawers, boxes, trays, and the like.

Where to find it?

Tom uses an old milk crate that has a series of box joints to demonstrate the amount of glue surface that the joint creates. Each of these “fingers”, as Tom calls them, presents more gluing surface, and therefore more holding power. Building the joint can be done on either a router or a table saw. Tom decides to use a table saw equipped with a dado blade. He and Kevin build a box joint jig which is a simple table saw sled equipped with adjustable stops and a pin. The pin allows for even spacing between dados. Tom and Kevin use black walnut to make the tray, which they sand, assemble, and then finish with food-safe oil.

Original Air Date: Feb 17, 2022, Season 20; Ep. 19 23:42


Products and Services from this Episode

Side trip: Rhode Island Nurseries

Shrink window kit supplier: Frost King

Expanding foam supplier: GREAT STUFF™