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 →

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 →

How To: Salvaged Wood Wall

salvaged-wood-wall

Nobody likes bare walls in their house. We spend time and money to find attractive paintings and decor to hang on the walls of our home. And a house doesn’t feel quite like a home until the walls are covered with decoration. But what if instead of putting pieces of art on your wall you could transform your whole wall into a piece of art? Covering your wall in salvaged, character-rich wood is so much more than painting […] Read on →

How To: Determine Different Types of Wood Finish

How To Determine Different Types of Wood Finish

This week’s Ask The Craftsman Question comes from Johnathan. “How can I tell what type of finish is on my wood floors?” Johnathan, get out your chemistry set and I’ll show you how to determine the different types of wood finish. The process is fairly simple you just have to test in a specific order because certain solvents will dissolve several finishes while others will only dissolve one type. Make sure to do this test in an inconspicuous […] Read on →

How To: Replace Glass on Steel Windows

Steel windows

Working on steel windows is a completely different experience than restoring wood windows. Their construction is different and the techniques and tools used are different. One of the most common repairs you need to know is how to replace glass on steel windows. So, I’ll walk you through how to get it done safely and quickly. Replacing glass in steel windows often results in the glass breaking on its way out if it isn’t already broken. Steel windows […] Read on →

How To: Remove Stain From Wood

remove stain from wood

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Douglas. “What do you recommend to remove stain from an antique mantle?” Douglas, I’m assuming that we are not talking about pets stains here. Stains from pet urine blacken wood in a way that cannot be removed without replacing the wood. Removing a stained finish from wood is another story though. Wood stain penetrates deep into the wood and can’t be removed just by using a chemical stripper and scraper […] Read on →

How To: Get Huge Discounts on Tools

how to get huge discounts on tools

I love tools! When I see a tool that I don’t have my mind tries to create some need for it. And I already have a ton of tools. There is no way around it in this business.  But from experience I have learned when to splurge and when to go bargain shopping for a massive discount. For example, do you know where you can get free hand tools? (I’ll tell you more about this in a bit). […] Read on →

How To: Lead Safe Work Practices

lead safe

Last week I talked about how to properly test for lead paint. While testing for lead paint is an important start, simply knowing if there is lead or not won’t do much to protect you. You need to know how to safely renovate in a house with lead paint. I’ll cover important principles of dust control and clean up and of course give you some tips I’ve learned along the way to make the whole process much less […] Read on →

Ask the Craftsman: How to Fix Sagging Beadboard Ceiling

beadboard ceiling

This week’s question comes from Chris: “I have original beadboard on my porch ceiling and it’s sagging in some areas.  What is the best way to repair?” Chris, beadboard is one of the most common materials used for porch ceilings and eaves in old houses. Its tongue & groove design allows it to hold tightly together and keep bugs and the elements out. There are a couple things that might be causing the problem and the solutions for […] Read on →

How To: Test for Lead Paint

how to test for lead paint

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about lead paint so I wanted to try to address some of those questions to make folks feel a little safer in their old homes. If you live in a house built before 1978 you need to know how to test for lead paint, especially if you have littles ones. Lead is toxic to humans. Children under 6 are especially vulnerable to it since their bodies absorb lead at a much […] Read on →

Ask the Craftsman: How to Encapsulate Lead Paint

painting

Today’s question comes from Jacques: “What would you recommend for plaster walls and wood trim/mouldings on a 90 year old house? My wife and I are planning on having kids, so we’d like to get the house lead free in a safe way.” Jacques, in a 90-year old house you’re not as likely to have lead paint on your plaster walls. The more likely place is on painted trim and windows & doors. Semi-gloss white and yellow enamel paint are […] Read on →

Ask The Craftsman: How to Make Paint Go Further

Floetrol

This week’s question comes from Gina. “Is there anything I can add to paint to make it go further?” Good question Gina! There’s nothing worse than coming up just short of the amount of paint you need and having to buy another quart or gallon for just a little extra. There are a couple of additives you can put in paint to make it go further, but if you only have a drops left there’s not much you […] Read on →

How To: Find the Best Paint Brush

Paint brush

There are so many different types of paint brushes out there today. So, how do you know which one you need for your project? Should you buy a bunch of different brushes specific to each use or maybe just one all-around brush? What about cost? I’ve got so many bite marks on my tongue (biting my tongue to avoid piping up) from watching homeowners pick out the wrong paint brush. They just don’t know. But not anymore (at […] Read on →

Choosing the Right Primer

Choosing the Right Primer

Using primer should be an easy choice before any paint job. You don’t always have to prime before painting, but in the end it saves you time and money. Priming helps your paint cover in less coats, last longer and look better. It’s a win/win/win (if there is such a thing!) Choosing the right primer is paramount to making your paint job last. Using the wrong primer (or no primer at all) can actually cause paint failure if […] Read on →