BoraCare: Stop Termites & Rot Forever


You may not have heard of a product called BoraCare, but if you have a wood house it’s something you should know about. The biggest threats to wood are inevitably rot and insect damage. Other than these two issues good quality old-growth wood can last almost indefinitely. But if you fall victim to termites, rot or both then it may be only months before you need repairs. BoraCare is a wood treatment that I use in my shop […] Read on →

How To: Fix Ungrounded Outlets

how to fix ungrounded outlets

A common problem found in old houses is the presence of ungrounded outlets. Either you’re stuck with old fashioned 2-prong outlets that won’t fit your 3-prong devices or someone replaced the old outlets with 3-pronged outlets that don’t have a ground wire. The 3-pronged outlets are often a sheep in wolf’s clothing since they look like modern outlets but don’t have any of the protections. Important Disclaimer: While I am a licensed contractor, I AM NOT a licensed […] Read on →

How To: Install Indow Windows (in only 5 minutes!)

how to install indow windows

If you haven’t heard of Indow Windows and you own and old house you are missing out. A couple years ago I bought some of these for my own house and was so impressed that I decided to become their Central Florida area dealer. Just like any products I mention on this site I have used them personally and think they can be a great help to folks just like you. I hate how replacement window companies all over […] Read on →

How To: Start Your Own DIY Blog

how to start your own DIY Blog

This is a little bit different than my usual How-To posts but I think it’s just as important. If you’re like most of my readers you live in an old house which means you have stories. You fix things and they break again, you learn how to fix them better and then you move on to the next project. Most old houses owners are some of the most experienced DIYers on the planet because they are constantly fixing […] Read on →

How To: Stop Peeling Paint on Windows


Peeling paint is never a good thing, and in an old house one of the most typical places you’ll find peeling paint is on your windows. But if you knew what caused this incessant peeling you could stop it in its tracks. That’s what I’ll help you do today! The picture above is from a recent project my company is working on in Apalachicola, FL, but it’s an all too familiar scene with peeling paint along the glass […] Read on →

How To: Tell If You Have a Balloon Frame House

how to tell if you have a balloon frame house

I’ve written about the differences between timber frame, balloon frame and platform frame houses in an earlier post you can read here, but I constantly get questions about how to tell if your house has balloon framing. Why do people want to know? Well, of the three types of framing balloon frame houses have the greatest danger of catastrophic fires. To be clear there is nothing intrinsically more flammable about a balloon frame house. It wasn’t built with […] Read on →

How To: Keep Critters Out of Your Crawlspace


Do you know who lives underneath your house? Do you want to know? Old houses are often home to a lot of unwanted visitors in the crawlspace and these unwanted pests can cause major damage to things like ductwork, electrical and plumbing. You need to find an attractive way to keep them out. And just for fun I’m going to see how many synonyms I can come up with for “critters” (that’s 1).   Old houses were often […] Read on →

How To: Prep Wood For Stain

how to prep wood for stain

Whether you’re refinishing your floors, making a table, cabinets or any other project that requires finishing it’s useful to learn how to apply stain properly and make your projects really shine. Applying stain is a pretty easy process that doesn’t need more than a couple sentences to explain (which I’ll go into at the end of the post), but how to properly prep wood for stain is a whole other thing. Certain woods like pine, maple and others […] Read on →

Finding The Best Wood Glue


What’s the best wood glue? That depends. Maybe you’re building mortise and tenon joints. Maybe you’re repairing a small chipped piece of wood or gluing-up a table top. I’ll help you find the best wood glue for your project in this post by showing you 4 of my favorites and when to use them. So, how do you know which glue to use? There are dozens of brands and formulas. All have their time and place and the important […] Read on →

The Easy Way to Make Mortises


Last week I talked about How To Cut Tenons on a Table Saw, but a tenon isn’t much good without a mortise to fit into. So this week I’ll show you the easy way to make mortises. Like all things in woodworking there are several ways to do this, but in my opinion this technique is by far the easiest and most consistent. My whole purpose in writing this post is so that when or if you start wondering […] Read on →

How To: Cut Tenons on a Table Saw


Mortise and tenon joinery is the great workhorse of wood joinery. It makes for extremely strong joints and it is immensely flexible in terms of the variations you can use. If you are building something that requires 2 pieces of wood to intersect at right angles then a mortise and tenon joint is the best option you can choose. Yes, there are other options like pocket hole screws, dowels, biscuit joints, and on and on, but none of these […] Read on →

How To: Use Boiled Linseed Oil (Safely)


Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is a common item in my shop and in a lot of woodworker’s shops. It is a great oil treatment for woods, leaving a smooth touch on the surface. It revitalizes old dried wood and gives it a new life. BLO is often mixed with other finishes and was once one of the main ingredients in most paints. There are still companies that make linseed oil paints like Allback if you’re interested. Boiled Linseed […] Read on →

How To: Glaze Wood Windows

Tool surface to a smooth 45° bevel

Continuing our focus on window restoration to mark the release of my new book Old Windows Made Easy I decided to post about putty glazing today. This skill is one of the most important and difficult to get right. Proper glazing makes for long lasting, well-sealed windows. The good news is it doesn’t need to be perfect, just done well enough so that it sheds water and seals the glass properly. The nice thing about putty glazing is […] Read on →

How To: Remove Window Sash

Image Copyright: Scott Sidler

In my new book, Old Windows Made Easy, I outline the complete process for restoring wood windows. Today I want to walk you through some of the content in the book for free right here and teach you how to remove window sash. If you want to learn more about restoring your wood windows you can Order Your Copy Now! Step 1 Remove the Stop The first thing you need to do in order to restore or repair […] Read on →