Labor Day, Laboring day?

labor day

Today I’m going to teach you something very important! Even old house owners need to take a day off from scraping, sanding and painting. Sometimes it feels like lather, rinse, repeat with an old house. Break out of the cycle and take the day off! Labor day may be your last chance to enjoy the beach before fall shows up. Have a BBQ, read a book (maybe my book!). Whatever it is take the day to spend time doing [...] Read on →

Ask The Craftsman: Can I Reglaze Windows Without Removing the Glass?

reglaze windows

This week’s question comes from Amy. “Can I reglaze the outside [of my windows] without removing the panes and replacing the interior seating portion?”   Absolutely! When you reglaze windows it’s not always necessary to replace the glazing “bed” which is the putty that the pane rests on in the glazing rabbet. Replacing the bedding putty is beneficial though since it will help air seal the glass and also help to keep interior condensation from getting at the [...] Read on →

3 Reasons I Chose Indow Windows (and so should you!)

Indow Windows

You know that I’m not a big promoter of new products here, but every once in a while someone comes up with a product or technique that makes it easier and cheaper to save old houses. And when that happens I am all over it like white on rice! My company has recently become a dealer for Indow Windows. Why? Because they work! I have them in my own home and it is truly incredible how much of [...] 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 →

Ask the Craftsman: Which Paint is Best For Wood Windows?

wood windows

This week’s question comes from Dave in Minneapolis, MN. Dave, before you paint anything I recommend priming your wood windows with a good oil-based primer. You can read more about primers here. Once you’ve primed you’re ready to pick a finish paint. Oil-based Paint Oil-based enamel is great for woodwork. It provides a hard finish that won’t cause your windows to stick like water-based paints have a tendency to do. The downside is that they tend to yellow [...] Read on →

How To Strip Paint (Part 3 Steam Heat)

how-to-strip-paint

This is the last post in our 3 part series on how to strip paint. In the first one I talked about working with chemical strippers and when and how to use them. Last week we delved into the world of elbow grease and talked about how to scrape like a pro. This week I want to talk about using heat to remove paint. Specifically, steam heat, but we’ll also discuss infrared strippers and good old-fashioned heat guns. [...] Read on →

How To Strip Paint (Part 2 Scrape Like a Pro)

how-to-strip-paint

This may be the least exciting method of paint removal, but I have found it to be one of the best ways to remove decades of old paint quickly and cleanly. If you can learn how to strip paint without chemicals or heat your prep/clean up time can be significantly reduced. In this post, I’ll show you the tools and methods for how to strip paint effectively from just about any wood surface. A little elbow grease and the [...] Read on →

How To Weatherstrip Wood Windows

How to weatherstrip wood windows

There are a lot of different techniques to weatherstrip wood windows. Like anything, some are more effective than others. In this post I’ll show you how to install spring bronze weatherstripping on your old windows. Spring bronze is without a doubt my favorite type of weatherstripping for a few reasons: Very attractive and gains a nice patina as it ages Lasts well over 100 years when installed properly Very effective at air sealing Extremely adaptable to seal gaps [...] Read on →

Choosing Rot Resistant Wood

rot resistant wood

Old houses are constantly having to deal with wood rot and insect damage. While the old-growth wood used in houses built before the turn of the 20th Century are a more rot resistant wood than anything available today, no wood is rot or insect proof.  Insects and fungi (aka rot) love soft wood. Preferably soft, wet wood, which is why you’ll find termite damage in water logged areas of an old house. The soft pine, fir and other [...] Read on →

3 Ways Storm Windows Can Save Your House

Storm Windows

Historic windows can be a real conundrum for some people. Sure they are a gorgeous part of every old house, but they can be a real energy waste if they haven’t been properly maintained and weatherstripped. But just because they aren’t energy-efficient now doesn’t mean they can never be efficient. If you have the means to restore your old wood windows you should definitely do it. You’ll regain their functionality and beauty in addition to really upping their [...] 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 →

Working Together: Preservationists Join Forces to Save a Landmark

Baker House

No matter how badly we want to save a particular historic building, there is only so much we can do alone. Our resources are limited. You only have so much time, money and expertise. After all, you’re only one person. But when you look at it through the lens of what what can be accomplished together things start to get really exciting. And that’s what’s about to happen in Wildwood, Florida this weekend. The Wildwood Historical Association was [...] 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 →

Dip Stripping Windows: Don’t Do It!

Dip stripped windows

One of my first large scale window restoration jobs was to fully restore all 38 sashes on a 1950s Colonial Revival. I had restored close to 100 old windows by the time this job came around and had gotten pretty good. My glazing putty had nice clean corners and I had developed a pretty good process with my small team. This job was a big one for us and it had a time crunch to boot. The thick [...] Read on →