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 →

The Easiest Way to Measure Sash Cord

how to measure sash cord

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Mark. “I want to replace some missing ropes on my home’s original windows. How do I measure the right length rope for double-hung windows?” Mark, I try to avoid breaking out the tape measure as much as possible and this is one of those times you can avoid it as well. Here is a quick and easy trick I learned from my friend Steve Quillian at Wood Window Makeover. Take […] Read on →

DIY Paint Brush Cover

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 →

4 Easy Tips to Keep Your Old Home Warm This Winter

4-Easy-Tips-to-Keep-Your-Old-Home-Warm-This-Winter

Fall is here and all across the country the leaves are changing as temperatures dip from their muggy summer highs. In Florida we’ve even gotten down into the 60s already! For the rest of the country that doesn’t live in eternal summer it’s time to start buttoning things up to keep your old home warm this winter. I’m going to share 4 easy tips that can make a huge difference in your heating bill this winter. Check these […] Read on →

How To: Get Huge Discounts on Tools

how to get huge discounts on tools

I love tools! When I see a tool that I don’t have my mind tries to create some need for it. And I already have a ton of tools. There is no way around it in this business.  But from experience I have learned when to splurge and when to go bargain shopping for a massive discount. For example, do you know where you can get free hand tools? (I’ll tell you more about this in a bit). […] Read on →

How To: Find the Best Paint Brush

Paint brush

There are so many different types of paint brushes out there today. So, how do you know which one you need for your project? Should you buy a bunch of different brushes specific to each use or maybe just one all-around brush? What about cost? I’ve got so many bite marks on my tongue (biting my tongue to avoid piping up) from watching homeowners pick out the wrong paint brush. They just don’t know. But not anymore (at […] Read on →

4 Guaranteed Tricks To Remove Stubborn Screws

How to remove stubborn screws

Last week I talked about how to remove paint from hardware so in keeping with that theme I wanted to discuss some tips to remove stubborn screws. After all, you can’t restore old hardware unless you can first get it off the door or window it’s attached to. Old flat head screws that have been attached for close to a century can be tortuously difficult to remove. Either they are painted in place, rusted in place, or simply […] 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 →

How To: Make a Small House Feel Large

Small space

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 sq. ft. in 2006. While many of us love the character and craftsmanship of an old house, they are not without their challenges […] Read on →

4 Cures For a Drafty Old House

Great stuff

Old houses can be drafty. It’s a fact. But just because they are drafty doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. The good news is it doesn’t require a huge sum of money spent on big projects like windows replacement to stop the drafts. There are several very affordable and easy things you can do yourself to stop the drafts and save lots of money on your heating bill. 1. Weatherstrip Doors & Windows These are by […] 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 →

Selecting The Right Wood Finish

Wood Finishes

You could fill a library with the different ways of finishing wood. There are oils and lacquers, urethanes and stains, sealers and varnishes. Some are wiped on, some are sprayed, while still others are brushed on. I could fill a book on just this subject alone so this post will be more of a primer to get you pointed in the right direction. Finishing wood is as much an art as it is a science. Each finish can come […] Read on →

How To: Paint a Wood Window Sash

Old Window

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 paint, glazing putty is no good after only a couple months, the sun’s UV rays begin breaking down the wood fibers of the […] Read on →

4 Common Paint Problems & How to Fix Them

Alligatoring Paint

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 layer of quality paint. Here are the four most common paint problems that you may find around an old house and how to […] Read on →