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: 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: Fix Creaky Wood Floors

How to fix creaky wood floors

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Heidi. “How do I fix creaky wood floors?” Heidi, there are a couple quick fixes for creaky wood floors that you can do. #1 Baby Powder Sprinkle some baby powder in the area of the squeak and brush it in so it falls into the cracks between boards. Sweep up the excess and you’re done. This is a super easy fix that works a lot of the time with really […] Read on →

Ask The Craftsman: What’s the Best Finish For Wood Floors?

How to fix creaky wood floors

Don’t forget that if your question is selected for our Ask The Craftsman posts you’ll get a free copy of my eBook Living in the Past! (Now available on iTunes and in paperback & kindle on Amazon) We’ve got another great question this week from Richard in Pompano Beach, FL “What’s the best finish for the wood floors on my 1924 Bungalow?” Richard, the gold standard for refinishing wood floors today is 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane. It […] Read on →

Invisible Repairs For a Hardwood Floor

Invisible Repairs Hardwood Floor

My company is featured in the April/May 2014 edition of Fine Homebuilding Magazine for the unique way we repair historic hardwood floors. Here is a large portion of the article available for free only to The Craftsman Blog family. Enjoy! Other than refinishing hardwood floors, the most common repair my restoration company gets called to do is floorboard replacement. The most typical reasons we replace boards are due to termite or water damage, pet stains that almost blacken the boards to a […] Read on →

Choosing Rot Resistant Wood

rot resistant wood

Old houses are constantly having to deal with wood rot and insect damage. While the old-growth wood used in houses built before the turn of the 20th Century are a more rot resistant wood than anything available today, no wood is rot or insect proof.  Insects and fungi (aka rot) love soft wood. Preferably soft, wet wood, which is why you’ll find termite damage in water logged areas of an old house. The soft pine, fir and other […] Read on →

My New eBook is Now Available!

Living in the Past Book

Today is a big day at The Craftsman Blog! For the past year and a half, I have been toiling to write my first full-length book about historic homes. Today that book goes from idea to reality! I’m doing a HUGE one week only sale for all my readers and their friends. If you have even a passing interest in saving thousands of dollars and learning all about your old house at the same time, you should definitely […] Read on →

Selecting The Right Wood Finish

Wood Finishes

You could fill a library with the different ways of finishing wood. There are oils and lacquers, urethanes and stains, sealers and varnishes. Some are wiped on, some are sprayed, while still others are brushed on. I could fill a book on just this subject alone so this post will be more of a primer to get you pointed in the right direction. Finishing wood is as much an art as it is a science. Each finish can come […] Read on →

All About Polyurethane

Polyurethane Heart Pine

If you have hardwood floors in your old house the chances are good that they are coated with a protective layer of polyurethane. Today, polyurethane is by far the most popular finish choice for wood floors. Here’s what you need to know. Polyurethane, while not revered by woodworkers and furniture makers, is usually the best choice for the harsh conditions and traffic your floors have to endure. Ultimately whichever type of polyurethane you use the most important part […] Read on →

My First “Restoration”

The finished product of the bedroom. Paint, floors and radiator (Not bad for a first try!)

In 2001 I had just returned to New York City from a year in Tokyo performing for Walt Disney. It was a fantastic experience living in a such a different culture and country, but I was happy to be back home in America. The lease had run out on my old apartment and I was now going about the insanity that is involved with trying to find an available and affordable apartment in the city. Finally, after a […] Read on →

How To: Care For Hardwood Floors

How To Care For Hardwood Floors

We do a lot of hardwood floor refinishing at Austin Home Restorations and I often get asked by clients how they should care for their newly refinished wood floors. There is a specific timeline of how to treat and care for a wood floor after it was just refinished. In this post I’ll outline what chemicals or actions are safe for your hardwood floors and when they become safe. How Long After Refinishing Will My Wood Floors Be […] Read on →

My Old House Stinks!

Image credit: kyolshin / 123RF Stock Photo

Old houses can smell. Not always, but many do. Maybe your house had the crazy cat lady or a bunch of fraternity brothers who never cleaned up after wild parties. The older your house is the more likely you had a dirty occupant at one point in its life. The best you can do is clean it up and pray it takes care of the offending odor. I have to give credit to one of my readers, Ted […] Read on →

How To: Repair Hardwood Floors

How To Repair Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are synonymous with old homes. It’s almost impossible to find an old home without them. And yet they are disappearing because people don’t realize how resilient and long-lasting they are. Unknowing homeowners and contractors rip out or cover up these amazing floors when they could be saved and used for another 100+ years! Other than refinishing hardwood floors, the most typical repair we run into is board replacement. It may seem daunting to remove a tongue […] Read on →

How To: Make Your Own Wood Finish

Mix Wood Finish

Wood finish comes in as many varieties as there are species of wood. And they all have their time, place and use. Probably the most useful wood finish In my cabinet is my own homemade wiping varnish. And the good news is you can make your own too! It costs much less than the store bought varieties and you can tweak it to fit your project perfectly.