Paint me red, white and blue!

It happens every year.  I am up on a ladder, hanging the icicle Christmas lights from the gutter on the front of my house.  As I descend the ladder, I look over at the eaves and think to myself, Oh boy, there is a painting project for next summer.  But what is the use of whining?  Painting your house is right up there with death and taxes: it is inevitable.

A fella facing a couple of weekends of house painting is advised to get his paws on some good painting equipment and the best painting equipment is made in this country.  As professional painters will tell you, about 80% of a paint job is in the preparation.  Unless you are painting new wood, you are going to have to spend quite a bit of time prepping your surface before you can paint it.  We live in a house that was built in the 1920s, so we have lots of multi-surface molding to contend with when we paint.  My normal drill is scrape, patch and then sand.

Warner is a great U.S. company when it comes to prep equipment.  Warner was founded in 1927 by Mr. Harry Warner.  Warner Tool makes about 75% of their tools at their manufacturing facility located in Sacred Heart, Minnesota.  Mr. Craig Warner, Harry’s great-grandson, is the President of the firm today.  Warner Tool makes over 50 different types of scrapers and putty knives.  Putty knives are either stiff or flex.  I use Warner scrapers and stiff putty knives for scraping and prep and then use flex knives when I am repairing holes with spackling like DAP Dry Dex Spackling.  This spackling product is useful because it changes color from pink to white as it dries telling when it is ready to be sanded and painted.  Since DAP Dry Dex Spackling is made in the U.S., I think it should go on red and blue and then change to white as it dries.

Once I have scraped, filled my holes, and sanded, it is time to start slapping some paint about.  For outdoor painting you are going to need ladders and the granddaddy of ladder manufacturers in the U.S. is the Michigan Ladder Company.  Michigan Ladder was founded in 1901 in Ypsilanti, Michigan; they still produce ladders in their original building in Ypsilanti!  Michigan Ladder produces wood ladders, aluminum ladders, fiberglass ladders and the Climb Pro which is an articulating ladder.  Michigan Ladder produces scores of ladders in every possible length you could need.

You are up on your Michigan Ladder, your eaves are ready to be painted, but you need a brush.  Don’t worry, there are two great American made paint brushes you can use for your job.  Purdy makes most of its brushes in Portland, Oregon.  They make great paint brushes, roller covers, mini rollers, specialty rollers and faux finishing sponges.  But their paint brushes are where Purdy really shines.  S. Desmond Purdy founded Purdy in 1925 in a converted two-car garage.  Over 100 Purdy brushmakers in Portland make Purdy’s paint brushes one at a time.  Each brush is “signed” with a personalized tag indication who crafted the brush.  The average length of service at the Purdy facility in Portland is almost 12 years.  If you have never used a Purdy brush you are in for a treat.  They never streak and their keep their edge religiously.  I have a couple of Purdy brushes that are over five years old.  You simply can’t go wrong with a Purdy brush.

If your wife is touching up the kitchen trim with your Purdy brush and the eaves are still calling to you, you can ask to borrow your neighbor’s Wooster brush if he isn’t using it.  The Wooster Brush Company was established in 1851 by Adam Foss.  Foss eventually set up shop in Wooster, Ohio and in the early days sold his Wooster brushes door-to-door throughout Ohio.  In 1909 Mr. Foss built a new brush factory on Madison Avenue in Wooster and that factory is still the location of company headquarters today.  Mr. William S. Fagert, a 25 year veteran at Wooster, became president of Wooster in August of last year.  One Wooster brush I use a lot for tight moulding work is the Wooster Shortcut Angle Sash brush.  It cuts way down on hitting your brush end into corners when you are painting base moulding.  I recommend it highly.

The eaves stretch before you, aching to be painted.  You have your brush and all we need now is some paint.  If it was me, I would go with either Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams.  Benjamin Moore makes paint all over the country including in Johnstown, New York, and Pell City, Alabama, while Sherwin Williams makes paint in Reno, Nevada and Orlando, Florida.  Between the two, I think Sherwin Williams has the cooler logo.

When you get done with your All American paint job, stand back and admire it.  Think of all the people who will benefit from your work: you, your family, the neighbors, and also the members of your extended American family that made all the products that allowed you to complete your paint job.  Nice work.  Oh jeez, you missed a spot!

About Simply American LLC

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at
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