Jeff Beneke

Jeff Beneke has been fixing up old houses for over 20 years and writing about home improvement nearly as long. He can be reached via his Linkedin account.


Jeff has written more than a dozen books and contributed to another dozen. He has published articles and reviews on home improvement, parenting and personal finance for a wide range of publications. A former editor of Fine Homebuilding Books at the Taunton Press, Jeff has kept busy renovating two 19th-century farmhouses in upstate New York and, currently, a mid 20th-century house in Austin, Texas. His books include Converting Garages, Attics and Basements; Build a Kids' Play Yard; and, most recently, The Fence Bible (compare prices here). He has built scores of storage units, from simple to fancy bookcases, kitchen cabinets and tool caddies. Jeff's idea of a great garage is one filled with tools, lumber and workbenches rather than cars.


After completing an apprenticeship program, Jeff worked as a machinist for many years in Texas and Connecticut. Along the way he picked up a BA at the University of Houston and a MA at the University of Rochester. He is a largely self-taught carpenter, cabinetmaker, electrician and plumber.

Jeff Beneke

I started building bookcases when my book collection threatened to overwhelm my bedroom. This happened when I was a graduate student, and therefore largely free of money. As a former machinist, I was familiar with cutting and shaping metal, but I wasn't experienced working with wood.

Since I moved a lot, I developed a system of modular bookshelves that could be broken apart and hauled from one place to another relatively easily. When I discovered I was about to become a father for the first time, I just knew I had to build a crib with my own hands. That crib would have won no awards in great design or top-notch construction, but it dutifully handled three kids over a ten year period.

What's more, it started me on a new journey. If I can build a baby crib, I reasoned, what's to stop me from building some cabinets, or rewiring a house, or installing a new bathtub. Along the way, I've largely learned from others. I'm here hoping to pass some of that knowledge on to you.

Read more from Jeff Beneke