When it comes to historic plaster repair and restoration, there's definitely something to the old adage that "practice makes perfect!"

After all, this is why a professional plasterer has to apprentice for years before they're formally allowed to work on anything that anyone is even allowed to see. Thankfully for us as DIYers, we don't have any such rules, and we're able to put our learning curve and imperfections on full display for all of you.

At this point we have over 15 years of amateur plastering experience in repairing anything from small sections of cracked or missing plaster, to complete room overhauls. My teenage self of the early '90s just read that statement and cringed at what his life has become. Don't worry 13 year old Alex, you're even more lame at 13 than 40 year old you, you just don't know it yet. Go ahead and play another game of Joe Montana Football on your Sega Genesis and call me when you're less obsessed with Andre Agassi.

In our 15 years we've learned more about plaster than we ever expected when we first bought our historic home. Along the way we've picked up tips and tricks, we've made plenty of mistakes, and we finally feel like we're starting to get the hang of this whole plastering thing...until we learn more that makes us second guess what we've done in the past and we begin to think we're actually just total crap at plastering. 

Oh, and we've even been featured in a published guide on how to attempt some DIY plaster repair (that makes some in the historic plaster repair community cringe because it used joint compound as an ingredient)! See '90s Alex, all that time spent memorizing the lyrics to Rapper's Delight and figuring out how to dance like MC Hammer have paid off, now you're a pseudo plaster expert and can grow a semi respectable yet unreasonably creepy looking mustache. Dreams do come true.

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Comments 4

Online scams are running rampant lately, so it's no surprise that we seem to have been caught up in a very strange Amazon reseller scam.

This story may sound a little bit incongruous with what you'd expect when it comes to online scams, but we want to make you aware of it as it could very easily happen to you. And like us, might leave you scratching your head a little bit in an attempt to determine if you were victim of a scam, or if someone might have somehow ended up thinking you're scamming them.

There's been a story lately about a practice called "Brushing" where random people are getting Amazon products they didn't order shipped to their home. The purpose of the scam is for the Amazon seller to garner fraudulent highly rated product reviews from overseas people that didn't actually order the products, instead just shipping the actual product to a random address. But the scam we seem to be wrapped up in is entirely different.

Back in early December Wendy and I arrived home to find a soft Amazon package sitting in our vestibule. Being a modern pair of Xennials (it's a thing), we have fully embraced the luxury of clicking a virtual button and having something magically arrive in our home days or even hours later, while simultaneously possessing vivid memories of a dark and horrible time where mail order meant you picked items from a catalog and called a human that would take your order, which you then expected to receive at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future. Therefore, the sight of a package in an Amazon branded container was not a surprise for us, though it did garner some excitement as to what it might contain.

Upon opening this item my excitement turned to puzzlement. It was a Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown XXL NFL football jersey. As a native Clevelander and diehard fan of the Browns, the Steelers are an arch rival due primarily to geography (though decidedly not competitive ability...because, since 1999, the Browns are quite shit), so the receipt of this particular jersey struck us as strange. 

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Comments 13

With demolition complete in our Foursquare's dining room, we're moving full steam ahead on reassembling the space. And while it's an odd feeling, we've recently found ourselves on a pretty serious project roll.

After removing the drywall covering the original plaster in the room, which also allowed us to remove the hated wallpaper border, we turned our attention to the all important aspects of a lighting and electrical plan, as well as wall repair. I know, it's totally sexy stuff!

First up, let's take a look at our lighting. When we bought our home the room had just one source of light via the dark and dated ceiling fan/light combo. Though we added lamps for a bit of additional light in the corner, the amount of light in the room always felt very flat, harsh, and especially gloomy in the evening and at night. Couple that with too few outlets placed in odd locations and at variable heights in the room, and we had several straight forward electrical items to tackle.

To remedy the insufficient and uninspiring lighting we're seizing this opportunity to not only add a recessed light in each of the four corners of the room, but also to correct a major oversight/pet peeve of mine in the room. Can you spot the issue in the next photo?

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Comments 7

When I attended Millwaukee's New Tool Symposium last year on behalf of Charles & Hudson, I truly enjoyed trying out a lot of cool new tools.

While there were many highlights specific to particular specialties, one of the demos that seemed to be garnering a fair amount of buzz regardless of the trade or interest of the person giving it a try was the station set up to show off Milwaukee's new M18 cordless heat gun and the M12 cordless soldering iron.

I've had a corded heat gun for years, but I often find myself needing to use it in situations where it would be far more handy to not bother with an extension cord or finding a nearby outlet. So when Milwaukee sent us a bare tool to try, I was eager to put it through its paces so I could do a review.

Since we received the heat gun, we've been using it regularly and can say without a doubt that it is very useful and convenient. At the same time we I can also say that a corded heat gun does offer some differences and potential advantages that you need to consider if you're thinking of buying one.

At just over one and a half pounds (without battery), it lives up to its name. The weight of the gun will obviously increase substantially depending on the size of the battery you choose, and I would suggest you go with as high capacity of a battery as you can with this tool. 

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Comments 2

We're off to a great start with our Foresquare's dining room renovation and restoration project. But before I launch into details on the next phase of this room's renovation, let's take a look back at where we started and a look forward at where we're trying to go. 

Ever since we bought our house in 2014 this room has evolved continuously in both form and function. The room was first introduced to us looking like this...

...and sported yellow walls, burgundy and fruit patterned window treatments, a hunter green fruit border, a dark wood and brass ceiling fan, and a window air conditioning unit with its cord stretching the length of the room. Not exactly pin worthy.

Initially we set this room up as our dining room, using folding chairs and other furniture given to us second hand by family and friends. The only new items were the lamps, which I purchased from HomeGoods to use in our future living room.

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Comments 7
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