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 →

The Oldest City in America

Oldest School in America

Recently, my wife and I went on vacation to the oldest city in America. Luckily, I have a wife who loves old buildings (almost) as much as I do! I wanted to share some of the history and pictures with you since it truly was an incredible experience. What is the oldest city in America, you ask? Surely, it has to be in New England near the oldest house in America somewhere around Plymouth rock where the Pilgrims [...] Read on →

Empty Stairs, Missing History

Empty stairs

All around my town there are remnants of our history hiding in broad daylight. Hints of the past that are overlooked by almost all of us. Too small to be of much consequence anymore they are simply place markers to say that there once was something here. Something grand or something plain. Something we erased from our town’s memory. Stairways that lead to empty lots. Driveways to nowhere. Old addresses stamped on curbs. They evoke both a sadness [...] Read on →

Replacement Windows: The Real Story

Replacement windows

If you own an old house you are the prime demographic for the replacement windows industry. They would love to convince you to remove all your home’s original windows and replace them with new energy efficient windows. I can hear them beginning to salivate right now. (I have excellent hearing) The replacement windows industry is out to sell a product and sell it often. I won’t hide my bias here. I am not a fan of replacement windows. [...] Read on →

The Bungalow: America’s Home

Bungalow

Ever since it burst on the scene the bungalow has been an immensely popular style of architecture. You won’t find it listed in many books on architecture though because it is not a true architectural style like the Colonial Revival, Queen Anne Victorian, or its most closely related cousin the American Craftsman. The bungalow is a simple everyman’s house. Nothing too grand or big. No ornate gingerbread trim with extravagant 10-color paint schemes. Of all the historic home styles [...] Read on →

Period in Pink – Preserving America’s Pink Bathrooms

Pink Bathroom

The pink bathroom. Depending on who you ask they are either hideous or treasured. More often than not I run into people whose first response is to see it as a wretched hold over from a very confused period of American decor. From its rise during the Art Deco period of the 1930’s to its demise in the 1960’s the pink bathroom (and its other pastel colored brethren) were the height of design. They were a fun and colorful [...] Read on →

Demolition is a Choice, Not a Solution

Old Home Demolition

Recently, I was at a historic homes event here in Winter Park where the keynote speaker was Nicole Curtis of  HGTV/DIY Network’s Rehab Addict. In case you haven’t seen her show, she is an energetic little thing that goes around saving old houses by restoring them with her own two hands. She’s a one-woman preservation society in the Minneapolis area and its incredible! During the speech she said something that has really stayed with me. “Demolition is a choice, [...] Read on →

How To: Remove Paint From Hardware

How to remove paint from hardware

Old hardware is just like everything else in an old house, covered with decades of paint. Antique hardware can be some very attractive and beautifully crafted pieces of art that is well worth restoring. To restore that hardware you don’t want to just start scraping the paint off with an old screw driver. You’ll gouge the metal and spend hours trying to remove all the paint. To remove paint from hardware next time try boiling it off. Take [...] 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 →

Drinking the Ocean: A Preservationist’s Job

Image credit: iakov / 123RF Stock Photo

Have you ever tried to drink the ocean? I’d venture to say no, as if it was even remotely possible. I’m not sure, but I think it would probably kill you to drink too much salt water anyway. And what would your friends say if everyday you walked down to the beach with a really big straw? “Where you going Scott?” “Just down to beach…to drink the ocean.” There is no logical response to that because it’s not [...] 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 →

How To: Save an Old House

Elephant

Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time. The logic is simple but the feat impressive. The same goes for how to save an old house. There is no easy solution, especially when you’re dealing with a neglected piece of history that has been sitting and rotting for decades. Neglect takes a terrible toll on our historic buildings so don’t think that the solution will be simple. But to help you get through [...] Read on →