Recycling The Past - Architectural Salvage Recycling The Past - Architectural Salvage
Funky Finds
Wrought Iron
Kitchen & Bath
Windows & Glass
Garden Essentials
Fireplace Mantles
Building Material
Recycled Creations
For the "do it yourself" inclined as well as what to look for as you look for that "once in a lifetime" piece.
Rust Converters - Read this tip Garden Pottery - Read this tip
Hard to find Hardware - Read this tip Replacing Broken Tile - Read this tip
s - Read this tip How to install your salvaged mantle - Read this tip
Removing small dents from unfinished raw wood - Read this tip Replacing boring modern door and baseboard moldings - Read this tip
Repairing “Nail Pops” - Read this tip Keeping Paint Brushes in Good Condition - Read this tip
Innovative Use of Old Shutters - Read this tip Repairing Damaged Sheetrock - Read this tip
When in Doubt, Use a Universal Primer Sealer - Read this tip Hints for Replacing Bathroom Sink Fixtures - Read this tip
Removing Old Paint from Hardware - Read this tip Decorating with Tiles - Read this tip
Repairing Holes in Old Doors for “New Old Hardware” - Read this tip  

Rust Converters top of page
Architectural iron and steel needs to be protected from the elements through coatings, such as paint or galvanizing, or it will corrode and eventually rust away. In the past the standard approach to removing rust has been to sand or scrape down to the bare metal, prime with a rust-inhibiting primer, and then paint. Rust converters are primers designed to be directly applied to the rusted iron surface, a much simpler approach. A tannin is the main part of a rust converter. It reacts with the rust (iron oxide), converting it to iron tannate, a stable blue/black corrosion product. These products can now be easily found in hardware and auto parts stores. When shopping for your product, remember you may get what you pay for. Look for a pH of 2 to 2.5 for effectiveness. Check the shelf life and make sure the product is still well mixed and has not settled.

Rust converters are only highly effective if used properly. Follow the instructions and be sure to:
  • remove any dust with a soft wire brush
  • thoroughly vacuum the surface
  • rinse away and soluble salts with water
  • degrease with mineral spirits.
The rust converter can be brushed or sprayed on. The temperature of the metal should be between 50 and 90 degrees F., and there should be no threat of rain for at least 24 hours. The reaction will begin within 20 minutes and be complete in about 24 hours.

Afterwards, a rust converter should always be followed by a compatible top coat

A Little Rust? No Fuss

Do you have your heart set on a beautiful, old, rusty piece of architecture but are afraid of staining the wall, floor or yourself? Well there’s an easy solution. All you need is some light steel wool and a can of spray lacquer. First, lightly rub the piece with the steel wool to remove loose rust. Then, with your choice of either clear or colored lacquer, evenly spray a layer all over, making sure to get the nooks and crannies. Allow to dry and apply one or two more coats and it’s ready to go. Just be sure the lacquer is rust resistant and your piece will be ready for application.

Garden Pottery top of page
Here are some hints for finding and using garden and architectural pottery.
  • The condition, age, color, and patina are key factors in determining price and desirability.
  • If a piece is an antique, it will usually be heavy. Look for signs of authentic age and wear, such as fracture lines from years of exposure to weather.
  • If you have a true antique, protect it. Keep it on a covered porch or indoors.
  • Appreciate it. Use it as a cachepot for a bay tree, an orchid, dried flowers, or let it stand simply on its own.

Hard to find Hardware top of page
When looking for historical hardware for your home, be educated. There are many factors that go into finding the right look and fit.

Know where the best places are to find what your home needs. Flea markets, architectural antique dealers, salvage yards, and some period hardware suppliers can all be sources for used original hardware. Surprisingly, there is a market for "virgin" hardware, original stock that is 60, 90, or 120 years old but has never been used. Neo-traditional hardware is made by small and large manufacturers who continue to produce designs inspired by period motifs. Reproductions, on the other hand, is a newly made product copied from an old design.

Know your building. When choosing a piece, consider measurements, orientation and location. These are all key factors especially when choosing a piece for a door.

Missing Hardware

Don’t let a missing thingamabob or doohickey piece of hardware stop you from enjoying that old piece of furniture or treasured heirloom. Authentic replacements are still out there, please contact us to help you find what you need or want. Items that can not be found do have replacements available through modern reproduction – we can assist you with modern hardware as well.

Loose Hinge?

If you have a loose hinge on a door or cabinet, it’ll be quick and easy to fix. Depending on the size, you could plug with a slither of scrap wood, wooden match sticks, or a small twig from the yard. Make sure it fits then coat the plug with wood glue, adding some to the hole as well. Lightly tap in with a hammer, snap or snip off excess and wipe clean. Your are now ready to reset your screw. You’ve just allowed the screw more support to hold on to.

Replacing Broken Tile top of page
Broken tile isn’t as bad as it seems. Just a few steps and a little patience will fix it right up. First, you need to remove the existing tile- TAKE YOUR TIME!
  1. 1- score tile horizontally and vertically with utility or scoring knife (about 1/16” deep)
  2. 2- tap a chisel with hammer just enough to break the tile into quarters
  3. 3- chisel out any left over mortar and wipe clean with a damp sponge

Now you can replace:

  1. 1- apply 1/16” thin set mortar to wall and backside of tile
  2. 2- press the tile into the wall being sure to center and level
  3. 3- once in place, wipe excess mortar with a clean, damp sponge
  4. 4- when dry, fill in expose joints with grout, filling in as much as you can
Your tile should be set in about 24 hours. If remodeling a bathroom or kitchen with new tile, remember to purchase a couple extras in case you need to fix up. If you have old tile to replace, contact us for any assistance you may need.

s top of page

How to install your salvaged mantle top of page

1). For safety reasons, first be aware of your local town or city’s ordinance regarding the distance required between a firebox and a wooden mantle.

2). Locate the vertical 2x4 studs in your wall. You can do this visually by looking for nail heads in the plaster or by using a stud finder available in most hardware stores. Most mantles will be wide enough to enable you to secure the mantle into 3 studs.

3). Determine the length of the nail or screw you will be using to secure your mantle. Add the thickness of the wood to the thickness of the plaster and then double the sum for adequate holding power (probably around 3 ½").

4). After nailing the mantle to the studs, countersink the nail heads using a nail punch and disguise them with a dab of tinted wood putty. If using screws, countersink these in a shallow 3/8"-diameter hole and hide them beneath a 3/8" wood plug that has been stained and finished to match your mantle

Removing small dents from unfinished raw wood top of page
Place a damp washcloth over the dent you would like to raise. Carefully iron (not too hot!) over the cloth and let sit for a short period. The moisture and heat raises the grain of wood to the surface reducing the depth of the dent. Keep checking and do not burn the wood. Repeat as necessary.

Replacing boring modern door and baseboard moldings top of page

If you’ve found some great old molding from our stock and would like to give your home a little face lift from within-Here are a few steps to complete the task:


  1. Remove old molding with a pry bar (in order to avoid damaging the wall, place a piece of wood between the wall and the pry bar).  Remove any nails that may have remained by pulling them from the back side- this will avoid “ blow outs” on the good face of the board, and clean up all debris.
  2.  Measure the proper length of molding and cut at a 45-degree angle at the corners (use a miter box and hand saw or compound miter saw).
  3.  Secure molding to the wall with size #8 finishing nails driven into solid wood,   i.e. the stud or the horizontal 2 X 4  at the bottom of the wall. (Nails will not hold if driven into sheetrock only).
  4. Countersink the nails, fill the holes with wood filler, and sand lightly when dry.
If there are gaps between the wall and the top of the molding, fill them with paintable vinyl caulking. (Joint compound or wood filler

Repairing “Nail Pops” top of page

Place a paint stir stick (or small block of wood) over the nail pop and hammer the nail back into the wall. Remove any loose plaster or wall debris, and fill with joint compound using a spackle knife. Once the spackle is dry, sand lightly, prime, and paint.

Keeping Paint Brushes in Good Condition top of page

Always wash your brushes with hot soapy water immediately after painting (latex paint only), rinse, and add a liquid fabric softener to bristles. Rinse, dry, and store until next use. (The fabric softener keeps the bristles soft). For oil based paints make sure to place them into a coffee can of paint thinner to clean any paint.  Take paper towels and  pad dry the brush to remove any extra thinner.  Use dishwasher soap and water to clean the remaining thinner from the brush-  Pad dry and store

Innovative Use of Old Shutters top of page

One of our customers recently purchased s few old shutters…not for the outside of her home, but to use as an unusual headboard in her bedroom. She cleaned them, left the original painted finish on them, and mounted them directly on the wall over her bed. Voila! Instant headboard with a great design flair! One of our old doors could be just as interesting.


Repairing Damaged Sheetrock top of page

1.                  Measure the size of the damaged area and check the thickness of the sheetrock (1/2 “ or 5/8 “). Purchase a piece of sheetrock the same thickness as the damaged wall.

2.                  Cut a square from the new sheetrock slightly larger than the damaged area on the wall. Center the square over the damaged section and trace the outline with a pencil onto the wall. 

3.                  Using a sheetrock saw, cut the damaged wall out following the pencil outline.

4.                  Cut 1”X 3” pieces of wood, 2 inches longer than the opening in the wall to be used as support for the new replacement sheetrock. Use as many pieces of wood as necessary to substantially fill the hole. Secure at both ends with        

1 5/8”coarse sheetrock screws. (Tip: Put an extra sheetrock screw in the middle of the board to be used as a handle while screwing the wood to the sheetrock – remove the screw after the boards have been secured to the wall).

5.                  Place the replacement square into the hole and screw into the boards.

6.                  Use wallboard tape and joint compound to cover up the seams.  You may need an additional 1-2 coats of joint compound to fill the gaps. When dry, sand lightly, prime, and paint.

When in Doubt, Use a Universal Primer Sealer top of page

If you’ve purchased an item from us and would like to paint it, here’s a tip. Many times, you may not know if the previous paint was latex or oil based. To avoid any problems, use a universal stain killing primer sealer, such as “Zinsser’s Bullseye 1-2-3” before painting. Because of its great adhesion, you can also use this primer over metal or glossy surfaces.

Hints for Replacing Bathroom Sink Fixtures top of page

Rule # 1 throw away the directions (Just Kidding)


  1. In most bathroom sinks, the nuts for securing the fixture to the sink are set deep into the porcelain. A  “faucet wrench” is an indispensable tool and is designed specifically to reach these “hard to get at” nuts. You can purchase a faucet wrench at most hardware stores, and some even rent them.
  2. Whenever you are connecting fixtures to water lines, remember to apply Teflon tape, or Pipe Dope to the threads on any screw fittings before tightening.
  3. When connecting water supply lines to the new fixture, make sure the Hot Water Supply Line goes to the LEFT FAUCET, and the Cold Water Supply Line goes to the RIGHT FAUCET.

Removing Old Paint from Hardware top of page

Place old doorknobs, brackets, or hinges in a deep pot. Cover with water and add a few capfuls of Automatic Dishwasher Detergent (such as Cascade).   Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Remove the hardware, rinse and use a brush to scrape away the old paint.

Decorating with Tiles top of page

Add a little zest to your tile project by inserting a few of the unusual antique tiles that can be found in our inventory. Use a basic solid color background tile, then randomly insert a few decorative tiles to add interest.  You may need to set your mortar according to the thick ness of the older tiles- newer tiles tend to be thinner.

Repairing Holes in Old Doors for “New Old Hardware” top of page

Over the years people tend to do silly things to doors.  When the modern styled door handles be came popular, people tended to get rid of the old mortise & rim locks.  To get your door back to historically correct working order you will need to do a few things first. Merely using wood filler in larger holes will not be sufficient. You will need to get a hole saw and piece of wood around the same thickness to plug the large hole- usually around 2” or larger.  Start by placing the cut plug into the hole to see the fit- too big- no good- you want a somewhat snug fit- Then with some wood glue or polyurethane glue put the plug into place and allow to dry. When the glue had dried, sand the plug to the thickness of the door- you may want to then apply either “Bondo, or wood filler” to make up for any excess gaps.  When dry sand again, paint and then decide what type of lock you want to use- do any needed alterations to the door to accommodate your “ new old lock “ a wide selection can be found on our site under hardware.

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