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September 2021
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Glidden Gripper Primer

Painting is the most common finishing technique for your home. It is either validation of all your efforts or your worst nightmare highlighting areas that were not done properly.

One of the most important steps in painting is using primer. Primer performs  important functions. It seals the surface,  blocks stains,  and it covers very small imperfections depending upon application. The larger ones can be caught and fixed before you start painting that expensive color paint you bought. Because it seals the surface, the coverage of that expensive paint will come close to what it says on the can, and you may need only one good coat.

The photo on the left is Glidden Interior/Exterior Gripper Primer Sealer. I was turned on to this by the paint guy at the orange store while buying BEHR Premium exterior paint. This is the only primer you will ever need. This is a full bodied, solid color primer with incredible gap filling and coverage.  This is one of those products that make me want to paint more stuff, and painting is not on the top of my list of things to do.

I experimented with primer/paint products and they just don’t get the job done. Most notable was the complete coverage of the inked  mill marks on the lumber for the Fascia and Outdoor  Table projects. Also the gap filling on weathered wood.

Here is your 411 heads up. Quality finishes require quality prep work. If you want stunning results in painting you will need to primer. Get over it. Painting is one of the things that you cannot get an ‘app’ for. So you might as well use the products that will give you the best results. Gripper is the primer I recommend. It is really that good.

P.S. Try not to get it on you. It sticks really well and is harder than hell to get  off your skin.

Old House Web Blogger Contest Vote for Charles & Hudson

The folks at Charles & Hudson are finalists in the Old House Web Blogger Contest. Great folks and a great site.
Here is their entry. Click on the Stars to Vote!

Christmas Ideas – Dewalt Cordless Tools

A cordless drill for all reasons

I don’t recommend tools that I don’t own. That is why the photos I present are of my tools. Every homeowner needs a drill around the house. The best drill for the remodeler and homeowner is the

DEWALT DC920KA 18-Volt 1/2-inch Heavy-Duty XRP Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

This one is mine. Batteries hold a charge for a long time, and when using 3” screws to hold things together, it matters. Having been a corded tool guy for years, and gotten this as part of a set as a present from a client a couple of years ago, most of my plug in tools stay home.

If you buy one cordless drill, this dewalt drill is the one.


It is a regular drill, hammer drill, has 22 clutch settings(so it acts like a screw gun), a three speed transmission, key less chuck, great balance and runs magnificently.
As a hammer drill I only use it for 1/4” anchors(for steel stud track into concrete)handles up to 2” anchors well.Dewaltcordless2

Serious saw action

Next up in the remodelers tool kit for serious demo work is the sawsall aka Reciprocating saw. This is the next step for slashing walls open and doing rough cutting. The yellow tab is the blade lock and release. Uses standard blades, and cuts forever. Dewaltsawall1

Here is why this tool really shines. See those slots? The horizontal one allows you to insert blades sideways to a standard tool. It takes a little getting used to, but there are some places where this is the tool. The vertical slot allows you to install the blade with the teeth either up or down, which when you are cutting sole plates out, let you cut without cutting the joists underneath or destroy the blade cutting through concrete. Dewaltsawall2

The shoe has three 1/2 ” adjustments so you can start with the shoe extended and move it in as you use the tool getting the most out of your blades.  Dewaltsawall3

Like I said earlier I got a kit. All the tools fit well, and with batteries attached, which some tools don’t.


The Circular Saw is not a production tool, due to battery life and not lack of power. Uses standard 7 1/4”’ blades, has a cast  shoe, and depth and angle adjustments.


The strangest thing in this kit was the light. It was only until the first time I needed to work in a dark attic that I saw just how useful it is.

Dewaltlight These are really great tools. It is not just me, but most of the sub contractors I have worked with over the past 2 years use them as well. You can buy them at Amazon and get free shipping.

The batteries recharge in an hour, the chargers stop when the batteries are charged when you are not watching the clock. (plus they are recyclable) You can spend less, but you will cry. You can spend more, but why bother? Dewalt has a couple hundred tools in this system. The only thing they don’t have is someone else to do the work.

Stain and Seal – Cabot Polystain

'All in one' tools and products for the most part disappoint as they
compromise their functionality for utility. Multi function tools like
swiss army knives and leatherman tools, while the best of breed in
those categories, are still not good screwdrivers, pliers or saws.

Preserving exterior wood is a challenge regardless of where you live. There are paints, stains, sealers, and other coatings.

There is a good solution to the stain seal work. Cabot Polystain is a stain and polyurethane in one can.

I recently used it on a door refinish project for a client. The doors had not been worked on in 10 years and the Arizona sun had  beat them up.

Here is one of the doors before. The original finish has  dissolved and the wood was dry. I had to do these doors in place, so I taped off the glass and trims, sanded with a pad sander, foam sanding blocks and green scotch brite pads.

The first coat was a heavy coat as the wood sucked it up like a vampire having breakfast. Took almost 1/2 a quart to cover the area with the first coat.


I resanded the doors to remove loose bits of crap stuck in the finish and applied the second coat.

It came out quite nicely. Probably good for another 10 years.

The polystain is a medium bodied product that goes on semi smoothly but requires you to work quickly, as the poly begins to set up, and because of the stain, does not allow you a lot of working time to smooth things out.

It also stains a lot lighter than the card would have you think, which is a bit unusal for darker stains. It is an acceptable product for staining and sealing, but is no substitute for stripping, sanding,staining, and sealing. But it is a lot faster, especially where time is a factor.

Cabot Water Borne Polyurethane

 I am lazy. I try do do things with the smallest amount of hassle as I can.

Polyurethane is one of those products that makes life a wonderful thing. It is the stuff for protecting wood. Until recently poly was a product that was solvent based giving off fumes, taking long drying times and requiring solvents like mineral spirits to clean up after. Not any more.

This is Cabot Water Borne Polyurethane. It has almost no odor, brushes well, lies flat, dries quickly, and cleans up easily with water. It is available at Lowes for sure.

This is the Satin finish, which I prefer as I am tired of shiny. It comes in shiny and flat as well.

Working with poly is a little different as you need to brush a little slower so that the finish does not bubble, and it will if you are not careful. You also need to brush thin coats. A minimum of two if not three coats, which can be done in a day.

A light sanding with a scotch brite pad or one of those foam sanding blocks (180 grit or so) between coats will give you a very nice finish. Using a good brush like the Cub will also help.