4 Reasons You Should Never Pressure Wash Your House

never pressure wash your house

Everybody pressure washes their house. But few people know that the way it’s usually done is NOT good for your house. You may just be going with the crowd, but in this case the crowd is wrong, and you’re likely causing big damage you have no idea about. Pressure washing is usually the first step in getting a new paint job so I see a lot of painters doing it and doing it wrong. It’s not just unknowing […] 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 →

6 Secrets to Silky Smooth Paint


Ok, this isn’t really a secret like professional painters are guarding this information jealously, hoping and praying you’ll never find out. There are no secret paint police to prevent the average homeowner from knowing their tricks. It’s just plain good sense to know how to get a super smooth coat of paint when you need it, and that’s what I’ll show you today. Trim, cabinets, woodwork, these all need smooth paint without brush marks and globs of paint scattered […] 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: Make Distressed Wood Floors

how to make distressed wood floors

Usually I focus on how to restore the older elements of your house, but today I’ve got a little tutorial for making something new look old. My wife and I are just finishing our attic bedroom project (more on that soon) for our 2 boys and I have been working furiously to meet our (read: her) deadline for completion. One of the last pieces of the puzzle is installing wood floors. The rest of our 1929 house has […] Read on →

3 Steps to a Stunning Front Door


The front door is perhaps the most prominent feature on your house. If you think of your house as a painting, the landscaping is the background, the siding the body, the windows are the details that add interest but the front door is the subject. It’s the face of the person you are talking to in a conversation. Sure you notice their clothes and their gestures but when you’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone you looking at […] Read on →

What is My Favorite Water-Based Paint?

favorite water based paint

This week’s Ask the Craftsman Question is a follow up to last week’s regarding oil-based paint choices. What is my favorite water-based paint? There are so many different applications that I use water-based paints for so picking an overall favorite is pretty much impossible. So, what I’ll do is give you a favorite in each different application. That’s being said there are a ton of excellent paints out there that I haven’t even tried so this isn’t based […] Read on →

How To: Paint In Cold Weather


Painting can be a real chore in the wintertime. You’re geared up to get everything finished and then then a cold front moves in and you’re wondering “Do I really have to wait for it to warm up again?” Always ask your paint manufacturer first and use these tips to decide if you really can paint in cold weather or if you should wait till warmer days prevail. The answer may not be the one you like, but […] Read on →

The Absolute Worst Way to Paint a Window

the worst way to paint a window

What is the absolute worst way to paint a window? Well surprisingly it’s the way that most painters do it! I’m not talking well-meaning DIYers. I’m referring to almost all of the professional painters I see around my town and across the country as well. Driving around historic neighborhoods I’m amazed how may times I see a scene like in this picture. Tape as far as the eye can see. A sea of blue proudly sponsored by 3M. […] 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 →

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 →

DIY Paint Brush Cover


This week’s Ask the Craftsman  question comes from Lorrel. “I’ve lost my paint brush cover and now the bristles get all wiry after cleaning. Any suggestions?” The paint brush cover, or husk, is an important piece of any paint brush. It helps the brush maintain it’s shape when it dries and protects it when you need to transport it to and fro. Unfortunately, these get lost or wear out quickly and soon you’re left with a good brush that […] 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: 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 →