Historic Steel Window

How To Restore Steel Windows

Historic steel windows are all across America. They became popular in big cities to combat the fires that were so common around the turn of the 20th century. Then from the 1930s until the 1950s they were a popular choice in residential housing due to the decreasing availability of quality lumber. Many steel windows sit [...] Read on →

Small space

How To: Make a Small House Feel Large

Old houses are often much smaller than their counterparts today. The size of the average American home has grown enormously over the 20th century. From an average size of around 1,100 sq. ft. at the beginning of the century to 2,169 sq. ft. as of 2010, which is down from the all-time high of 2,248 [...] Read on →

Living in the Past Book

My New eBook is Now Available!

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 [...] Read on →

Old Window

How To: Paint a Wood Window Sash

After all the hard work is done restoring a wood window there is one final step, painting your window sash. Painting a window is by far the most important part of the process because it protects all the work underneath. It keeps sun, rain, dirt, insects, air and anything else from harming your window. Without [...] Read on →

Dip stripped windows

Dip Stripping Windows: Don’t Do It!

One of my first large scale window restoration jobs was to fully restore all 38 sashes on a 1950s Colonial Revival. I had restored close to 100 old windows by the time this job came around and had gotten pretty good. My glazing putty had nice clean corners and I had developed a pretty good [...] Read on →

Silent Paint Remover

The Best Paint Stripping Tools

Being in the business of restoring old houses I do a lot of paint stripping. And much of that paint is lead paint so I have to be extra careful to make sure we keep our dust under control. Here are the best paint stripping tools I have used over the years. Some work better [...] Read on →

Clapboards

Lead Paint: The Whole Story

Lead paint and lead poisoning, as it pertains to old houses, have long been a lightning rod of controversy. Some people even refuse to own an old home due to fears of lead paint. But lead paint may not be the national health concern you’ve been told it is. I’d like to start by saying [...] Read on →

Alligatoring Paint

4 Common Paint Problems & How to Fix Them

If you own an old house you have paint problems…somewhere. It may be from a poor paint job at some point or a paint job that is just too old. Keeping your house painted properly, especially the exterior, is imperative to the long term care of your house. Exterior elements deteriorate quickly without a protective [...] Read on →

Custom  Carpentry

The Cost of Doing it Right

I get crazy looks from clients when I tell them the price for some of our services. I’m not oblivious to the fact that historic preservation is sometimes expensive, but it seems that the cost of doing it right offends too many people today. “Why would I spend $600 to have you restore my old [...] Read on →

Water Putty

The 7 Best Products to Patch Wood

Sometimes it’s nail holes and sometimes it’s rotten wood, but your projects will often require you to patch wood. In this post I’ll help you determine the best materials (and there are tons available!) to use when the time comes to patch wood projects. The type of material you should use will depend on what [...] Read on →

Image credit: RaymondG / 123RF Stock Photo

The Truth About Lead Paint

Guest Post by Wade Myer - Wade grew up under the watchful eye his father, a contractor, who taught him the tools of the trade. Even though he can swing a hammer with the best of them, he’s always been drawn to the written word where he can frame sentences rather than walls.  Currently he writes [...] Read on →

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

My First “Restoration”

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 [...] Read on →

How To Cope & Install Trim

How To: Cope & Install Trim Like a Pro

Installing trim properly requires an eye for detail and a few specific tools and techniques. The best historic trim and moldings were installed in a seamless way called “coping” that hides joints while still allowing for the house to move and settle with the decades. A coped joint is a big part of the installation [...] Read on →

How to Pressure Wash Wood Siding

Pressure Washing an Old Home

Using a pressure washer on an old home is not as simple as you might think. While it may be a great way to clean dirty siding and prep for new paint, if not done properly it can cause more harm than good. You can cause damage to wood or older soft masonry and force [...] Read on →