Helping owners, tradespeople, contractors and professionals understand and maintain their historic and older buildings.

It is worth taking care of what you have. You don’t have to spend big piles of money to have a nice place to live and work. You can swing into ongoing routine maintenance and minor repairs. If you do have big piles of money, it’s worth assessing conditions and planning an effective project. Either way, I can help you “git ‘er done.”

Learn to care for your fine old home. 
Learn here. 
Learn how. 
Learn now.

Care for a house, it becomes your home–a safe haven for the comfort of your family. 

Got peeling paint? Crumbling bricks? Rotting porch columns? Not sure which way to jump first?

Wish you had a brother in the business who could tell you what’s what and who’s who? Well, I’m not your brother, but you can still count on me for objective advice not tainted by the construction industry’s marketing hype and hidden agendas. I don’t do paid product endorsements. I don’t do “associate” sales where a link to Amazon.com gives me a percentage of what you spend there. I don’t even take “free” samples from manufacturers. You will notice that there is no outside advertising here at HistoricHomeWorks.com. So, you know that my recommendations and advice are objective. If I mention or recommend a specific material or product, that is based on my own personal experience and I find that it actually works.

— John
By Hammer and Hand Great Works Do Stand
By Pen and Thought Best Words are Wrought

12 thoughts on “Home”

  1. Hello I have old windows, from late1800’s-1950’s, min.$25
    please let me know if yourself or anyone you know that might be interested, Thank you

    1. Hi Robert, Do you mean you have windows for sale? Where are you located? What size and what condition? Do you mean $25 minimum each or for the whole bunch? Can you post a photo? –John

  2. Hi,
    I own a mid century ranch home built in ’69-70 with wood exterior casement windows. They are Pella Windows and the sashes are in bad shape. Can these be restored as Pella does not offer services or parts for these windows. Can you direct me in the direction to go out give me some insight? Replacement windows are expensive and they change the look of the home.
    Thanks in advance.

  3. I have columns dating back to 1867. All wood, and they have water rot on the base and the bottom of the columns. Dimensions are 20′ tall, 24 ” diameter, fluted. We want to raise the columns, cut about 2 inches of rot off the bottom of the column and replace the bases. The bases are currently wood, and we’d like to replace with a PVC look-alike to eliminate the potential of this happening again. It appears it has happened in the past and the bases were cut out and replaced about 40 years ago.
    We want to maintain the historic nature of the mansion, but there seems to be discussion about using newer materials even though they have the look of the old.
    Referred by Bob Yapp.

  4. Hi John,
    I’m making some wooden storms. I have one surviving wooden storm, #41, and the bottom rail is 4.25″ wide, all others are 2.25″. Do you suppose that all other storms in the house would have had these same dimensions?

    Do you know of any formulas or tips for these bottom rail widths and for storm window dimensions?
    Are both panes of glass supposed to look the same size? They are on #41.

    I’m thinking that if I made all rails/stiles 2.25″ then put the muntin at the meeting rail point, that the top storm pane would be smaller than the bottom and there wouldn’t be the same proportional width all around the window.

    I’ve been watching alot of your windows videos and reading all your information. I appreciate it!
    Sam Packard
    Lincoln NE

    1. Hi Sam,
      That surviving wooden storm has typical dimensions for storms made from the 1920s through the 1950s. I know because I put up and took down the storms for about 15 years while I was growing up in the house my dad built, right over on 38th Street, between Sheridan Boulevard and Calvert Street. (That’s right, I grew up there in Lincoln.)
      Typically, bottom rails are 1 1/2″ to 2″ wider that the stiles.
      Give me a call (207 773-2306) if you’d like to talk more about storms.
      Here’s the discussion on making wooden storms:

  5. is the scraper for muntins hand made or commercially available? I have 53 windows, 106 sash to restore on my 1895 Victorian thanks

  6. My 1930’s home is currently under renovation. I want to retain all of the original doors & more importantly the glass door knobs and mortise locks. The renovation is also an expansion and we’ll be adding additional bedrooms and bathrooms. This requires 10 new doors. I was able to find identical matching door knobs and mortises and I’d like them installed in the new doors that are required. My GC seems to be unable to commit to being able to use these old knobs and mortises in the new doors. What can I do to assist/convince him that it can/should be done? I was also able to get an original french glassed door and i’d like him to install that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Try this, offer to pay him by the hour to work with you to disassemble one of the original mortise lock sets, taking the lock set out of the door, examining the mortise and holes, making a drawing of the mortise with measurements, etc. You might have to get him started on it, but then let him carry through. Then ask him to think about how he would cut a similar mortise into a new door. Then do a mock-up. Take a piece of wood the same size and species as the new doors are being made of, and cutting a mortise in it and installing one of the identical locksets into the mortise. If it doesn’t come out good enough, that’s OK, there’s no shame in that. Then he can think about how to make improvements and do a second and even third mock-up, as he trains himself in how to do this work.
      If the two of you run into difficulty, just post a “new topic” with photos in the door section of the discussion Forum:
      and I’ll give you some detailed guidance from there.

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