Deciphering the Sandpaper Puzzle

how-to-pick-the-right-sandpaper

Sandpaper is an integral part of any almost every kind of home repair, especially finish work. Painting, carpentry, refinishing, flooring, woodworking. They all require sanding at some point in the process so it’s imperative to know what you’re doing. There are a least 1,387,902 different types of sandpaper (that may be a guess, but there are a lot!) There are grits as low as 8-grit (which is essentially a few rocks glued onto paper backing all the way […] Read on →

How To: Work With Spiral Balances

Spiral Balances

While most of the windows on historic buildings built before WWII used the simple and effective rope and pulley counterweight system there are some that utilize different balances systems. A popular option were spiral balances, sometimes called a tube balance, and that’s what we’ll talk about today. These balances are not terribly complicated, but they can be troublesome to work with if you’re not familiar with them. I’ll be speaking specifically about one of the more common types […] Read on →

4 Ways Preservation Could Be Better

preservation50

2016 is the 50th anniversary of the Historic Preservation Act and I have been thinking a lot about where we have been, where we are and where we could be when it comes to historic preservation. If you’re a follower of this blog then you know my passion lies around saving old buildings. It’s not just their character and history but also the fact that the greenest building is the one already built. So, what can we do to […] Read on →

An Old Fort Gets a New Look

Fort Coombs Armory

My company recently finished the restoration of the windows at Fort Coombs in Apalachicola, FL and I wanted to share the project with you. These were some unique windows from a fort with a lot of history and meaning to the residents, and I felt like the story was one that needed to be told. Fort Coombs was built in 1901 when the original fort on that same spot burned down after only 2 years of service. The […] Read on →

Turn an Old Door Into a Mid-Century Coffee Table

Mid-century Coffee Table

My good friend and employee Mark Akers not only helps me run a smooth shop as my production manager, but he also moonlights making furniture with a story. Mark takes pieces of old buildings like doors, flooring, old timbers, hardware and anything he can get his hands on and gives them a second life as new “old” furniture. Sometimes he makes things that are inspired by his own creativity and other times he makes commissioned work for people who […] Read on →

Will HEPA Really Keep You Safe?

Will HEPA really keep you safe

In the age of RRP renovation rules and a lot of fear about everything lead paint it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe. A lot of folks hear about HEPA vacuums and think that if they just use anything HEPA they are safe from lead. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Understanding how HEPA filtration works and choosing the right vacuum is only one piece of the lead safe work practices puzzle. For more about lead visit […] Read on →

How To: Glaze Windows

how-to-glaze-windows

Some of the most commonly asked questions I get are about how to glaze windows. What’s the best practices? What tips and tricks have I learned over the years? Basically, it’s a lot of folks wondering how to do it the right way. I’ll start with saying this…it’s not complicated to glaze a window, but it’s not easy the first time. It is something that most people have never heard of. Putting putty on a window and tooling […] Read on →

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 →

Bondo is Never the Answer

how to patch wood with bondo

I was supposed to be posting on plaster textures this week but something happened this week that got me so riled up that I had to delay the plaster post. [Stands on Soapbox] Bondo. Bondo is a great product for patching damage to cars, but somewhere, sometime in the past some painter or carpenter decided that it would work just as well on wood. Let me clear…Don’t patch wood with Bondo! I could end this post there, but then […] Read on →

How To: Patch Plaster

How to patch plaster

I’ve written about repairing plaster walls before, but sometimes there are sections of plaster that have been removed or are missing and you need to fill in the gaps. I’ll show you how to easily fill in these missing sections. This repair also works on drywall for all you new house folks too. When you have an area (large or small) where you’re missing plaster, whether it’s thanks to the electrician/plumber/HVAC guy or the plaster was damaged some […] Read on →

The Window Preservation Alliance

Window Preservation Alliance

What is the Window Preservation Alliance (WPA) you ask? Well, it’s a new organization dedicated to saving old windows that I think you might want to know about. Why I think you need to know about this organization is because they are doing a lot of work to help homeowners of old houses. And any group that is focused on helping folks like you instead of some other corporate cause is alright by me. This week I had […] Read on →

Which Glazing Putty is Right For You?

Sarco Type-M Glazing Putty

There are a lot of options when it comes to finding the right window glazing putty for you. A lot depends on the type of window and where you will be doing your gazing (outside or in a shop). So, I’ve put together this list of my six favorite window putties to help you in your search. All of these putties will help you get the job done right, it just depends on your personal preferences and situation which will be […] Read on →

How To: Stop Peeling Paint on Windows

how-to-stop-peeling-paint-on-windows

Peeling paint is never a good thing, and in an old house one of the most typical places you’ll find peeling paint is on your windows. But if you knew what caused this incessant peeling you could stop it in its tracks. That’s what I’ll help you do today! The picture above is from a recent project my company is working on in Apalachicola, FL, but it’s an all too familiar scene with peeling paint along the glass […] Read on →

Is Your Siding…Vegan?

is your siding vegan?

Vegan is all the rage these days along with gluten-free everything. I remember as a kid the strangest diet I every heard of was a vegetarian which I could understand, but knew wasn’t for me. Today things are very different. The complexities with which people decide which food they will eat is baffling to me especially in the vegan world. I don’t have the energy or time to scrutinize all the details of where it was sourced from and […] Read on →