How To: Cut Window Weight Access Doors

How to cut weight pocket doors

Sometimes builders installed their old wood windows without weight pocket access doors to save a couple bucks. While it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it creates a whole lot of work for us today when a sash rope breaks. Rather than being stuck with the typical alternative of removing the window trim and leaving yourself with a lot of plaster repair here is an easier way to fix the problem for good. In this […] Read on →

6 Things I Wish Architects Knew

6 Things I Wish Architects Knew

I recently learned of yet another window project gone awry. The 1920 Lake Ave. fire station in Saratoga Springs, NY is due for an renovation. It needs some structural repairs to its floors, some framing repairs and also window repairs for its almost 100 year old windows. The architect for the job decided that the best way to handle the windows would be to keep the old jambs, trash the original sash (which only lasted 95 years) and build new […] Read on →

Preservation Lies


I feel like I post on this topic more than almost anything else, but until the truth is readily known I feel it’s my obligation to let the world know how badly government and industries like the replacement window industry are lying to not just homeowners but also architects and contractors. If you care about spreading the truth about preservation then share this post as much as possible. Writing about the how-to’s of preservation usually has very little to do […] 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 →

The Preservation Event of the Year

Historic Homes Workshop

Every week I try to teach you something useful about old houses on The Craftsman Blog. Something you can apply right away to make your house that much better. This week I’m going to do something different. There is a lot you can learn in a 500-800 word How-To post, but sometimes you just need to have someone show you in person. And that’s what I want to tell you about today. I’ve been mentioning it a lot […] Read on →

Why Do We Restore?

Why do we restore

I just returned from a much needed 10-day vacation visiting friends and family. Over that time I had a lot of time to slow things down and do some long overdue reading and reflecting. It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what I wanted my first post of the year to be. There was one question that kept coming to my mind and to be truthful I didn’t have a good answer. Why Do We Restore? I’m sure […] Read on →

How To: Research Your Home’s History

how to research your home's history

Most of us know little about our own home’s history, but researching your home’s history can uncover all kinds of interesting stories. For some properties that history begins with the city or county platting the area and opening it up to development. For others with very old properties it may go back far enough to include land grants from nobility. Either way it’s a lot of fun play detective to piece together decades or centuries of stories.   Making an […] Read on →

Taking Back Preservation


I’ve watched too many old windows get ripped out of houses and throw to the curb over the years. It’s a wasteful tragedy that seems to only grow. Every year there are fewer and fewer of theses original windows in our historic buildings. It’s a disturbing trend that has made myself and other preservationists feel absolutely powerless in our aims to save America’s windows. My restoration company, like many others, works tirelessly restoring hundreds of old windows every […] 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: 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: 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 →

The Greenest Building is the One Already Built

Greenest Building

“The greenest building is the one that is already built.” Architect Carl Elefante who is the Director of Sustainable Design at Qunin Evans Architects in Washington, D.C. said it very succinctly. Eco-nerds talk about sustainability and energy-efficient design as much as us preservation-nerds talk about wood windows and plaster. But isn’t it amazing when two worlds that have little to do with each other normally can come together and fight side by side on an issue. Historic preservation is just […] Read on →

What Kind of Sash Rope Should I Use?

sash rope

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Jeremy. “What kind of rope should I use to restring my windows?” There are a lot of different kinds of rope on the market, but only certain types are appropriate for your old windows. The best kind of rope for double-hung windows is cotton braided rope. Hemp rope isn’t appropriate. Full synthetic ropes tend to stretch too much and I’ve also found that they slide in the pulley tracks in […] Read on →