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Twas the Night Before Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas

As I head out for a much needed vacation I wanted to leave you with a special Christmas gift that I wrote a couple years ago. It’s a special version of the most famous Christmas poem just for my friends who love old houses. I hope your Christmas is filled with joy and family, and I look forward to a fantastic new year with you all! Best Wishes, Scott   Twas the night before Christmas, when all through […] Read on →

What Causes Wood Rot?

what causes wood rot

Anyone who has owned an old house for more than a couple months will tell that wood rot is a major frustration. In this post I’ll show you what causes wood rot and how to stop it. Wood is an amazingly versatile building material. It can molded and shaped to almost any form. It is an excellent insulator. Its structurally abilities are incredible. Its ability to accept paint, stains and varnishes is fantastic. Its one weakness is rot. […] Read on →

How To: Clean Hazy Glass

Clean hazy glass

This week’s Ask The Craftsman post comes from Marissa. “Some of my old windows have a haze that won’t come off with regular window cleaner. Any suggestions?” Mary, hazy glass is usually caused by a build up of mineral deposits from hard water, pollution, dirt and other debris. The best way to clean hazy glass is to start by cleaning the glass inside and out with regular glass cleaner. Once you’ve got the dirt off I use a […] Read on →

How To: Research Your Home’s History

how to research your home's history

Most of us know little about our own home’s history, but researching your home’s history can uncover all kinds of interesting stories. For some properties that history begins with the city or county platting the area and opening it up to development. For others with very old properties it may go back far enough to include land grants from nobility. Either way it’s a lot of fun play detective to piece together decades or centuries of stories.   Making an […] Read on →

No More Cold Bathrooms

old-tub

This week’s Ask The Craftsman post is actually a user suggestion and not a question from long time reader Mike. Mike pointed out a post on Cold House Journal (you can read the post here) where the author does a little science experiment to keep his bathroom warm and dry in the winter. Tired of the wintertime cold bathroom? It may not seem like sometimes, in the winter our homes are full of warm, humid air compared to […] Read on →

Taking Back Preservation

taking-back-preservation

I’ve watched too many old windows get ripped out of houses and throw to the curb over the years. It’s a wasteful tragedy that seems to only grow. Every year there are fewer and fewer of theses original windows in our historic buildings. It’s a disturbing trend that has made myself and other preservationists feel absolutely powerless in our aims to save America’s windows. My restoration company, like many others, works tirelessly restoring hundreds of old windows every […] Read on →

Black Friday Tool Deals

Black Friday Tools Deals

First things first…Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so thankful to have awesome readers like you and I appreciate you guys more every day! Now onto the deals. Black Friday is the best time to get a great deal on power tools! Things like drills and impact drivers are guaranteed to take a big dip in price. If you’re needing a new tool or an upgrade you want to take advantage of the great prices available for a limited time. Every […] Read on →

Brushing vs. Spraying Paint: Which is Best?

Brushing vs. Spraying Paint

I get asked a lot why we don’t spray our primer on window sashes. Just the other day one of my employees asked the question, hoping they had thought of something that might make our jobs easier and the work move faster. While spraying on paint and primer is much faster the gains in speed come at a cost. In this post I want to look at some of the pros and cons of both so you can make an […] Read on →

Veneer Plaster: An Affordable Alternative

Veneer Plaster

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Phil. “To repair a damaged wall [drywall] seems so out of place, but hiring a plasterer to do lath and plaster is way too high a cost.  Is there an in-between solution?” There definitely is an in-between solution Phil and it’s called veneer plaster. A veneer plaster wall is like a hybrid of standard drywall and traditional lath and 3-coat plaster. It also hits the middle ground in terms of pricing. […] Read on →

How To: Get Free Mineral Spirits

free mineral spirits

If you’re painting with oil-based paints occasionally like I am, you need to have plenty of mineral spirits or paint thinner on hand to keep your brushes clean. Mineral spirits are expensive, running around $11-14 per gallon and disposal of them is a cumbersome process since you can’t just pour them down the drain like dirty water. You have to dispose of solvents at Hazardous waste facilities. So in the interest of saving you money and saving the […] Read on →

Product Review: Trash Buddy

Image Copyright: Trash Buddy

A couple months ago I was approached by the creator of the Trash Buddy about advertising on my site. Like all advertisers I asked them to submit their product so that I could review and see if it would be something I would use myself. I only accept advertising on this blog for products and services I use personally. I have to say I was surprised by the Trash Buddy. It is a handy little accessory that I […] Read on →

What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Windows

what-star-trek-can-teach-us-about-windows

Windows are a lot like Star Trek. Got your attention didn’t I? But seriously, come with me on this. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock there is a brilliant line by the head engineer Mr. Scott (who has an awesome name). When asked how Scotty figured out a way to disable the ship that was pursuing them he responds with simple brilliance. “Aye sir. The more they overthink the plumping the easier it is to stop […] Read on →

The Easiest Way to Measure Sash Cord

how to measure sash cord

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Mark. “I want to replace some missing ropes on my home’s original windows. How do I measure the right length rope for double-hung windows?” Mark, I try to avoid breaking out the tape measure as much as possible and this is one of those times you can avoid it as well. Here is a quick and easy trick I learned from my friend Steve Quillian at Wood Window Makeover. Take […] Read on →

How To: Repair Weathered Window Sills

How to repair weathered window sill

If you’ve got badly weathered window sills you’re not alone. Wood that has been exposed to the sun’s destructive rays for years without a protective layer of paint can begin to weather so badly that it may appear to be beyond saving. But with the magic of a good wood epoxy you can save damaged wood like this and make it look like new. For epoxy repairs there are a lot of products on the market but the […] Read on →