Project builds #62: What have I done? more than I can chew? Maybe?

Well folks as some of you will know as a rule I sail fairly close to the wind be it with deadlines, budgets, my abilities or what’s possible. My current job is a restoration of some Georgian sash windows and oh my I’m beginning to question what I have started. It’s a full on over haul job the two front windows have not been opened or useable for over 20 years. The window at the side of the master bedroom has had a new sash made but as there is a 15mm gap between top and bottom sash this is junk and needs putting back to original.

I started the bathroom window as my cousin wants to get in to replace the bathroom. I removed the lights to start repairing this window and the frame literally fell out the wall so this one has come back to my uncles for restoration (did I mention I’m 200 miles from home on this job?). It’s going to need a new oak cill, new internal faces, new meeting rail on the top sash and new bottom sash. I’ve started this work but had a mission getting the glazing out of this one and getting all the junk paint off. The top sash is done, the patching on the frame is done ready for the new Cill, the new Cill is shaped, and the outer on the bottom sash is done so hopefully this will be ready for glazing by the end of tomorrow.

Tags: sash windows restoration professional woodworking

Dreaming of a sawmill, feels like a museum. Thanks for looking Adam.

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12 Comments

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking) ...

that’s quite a project . Looks good so far.

Madts ...

This job looks much harder than building from new.
I wish you the best. Does not look easy.

—Madts.

Kelly ...

I worked on the oldest Queen Ann in Olympia, Washington, about a decade back. This reminds me of what I came up against. The redwood front door was in horrible shape and I had to rout out larges sections and install fresh old growth. I wondered the same and, even now, am amazed at how well it turned out. Even with clear coat on it, no one knew it had been repaired.

Whitacrebespoke ...

It is a lot harder than making all new that’s a certain fact and believe it or not this one is the newest window in the building and is the most knackered but thanks to its poor fixing just fell out so has been easier than normal to work on. Which is a real bonus for me.

It’s actually glass that’s being real had work at the moment the broken panes from the front window I have cut down to go in this smaller one at the back but there is no end of broken glass to replace in various places and nearly every sash has got several cracked panes or ones replaced with plastic. 3mm tubular blown glass is a hard thing to find despite there being two manufacturers in the world.

Kelly ...

What even so called pro’s do it amazing (good and bad).

The folks who bought the Queen Ann I mentioned hired an expert, in windows, and he convinced them they all had to be done in flat paint, because it held up better. Then I pointed out I could push on finished windows and, literally, see daylight in spots along edges.

His binder of his work showed remarkable work elsewhere. Seems she breathed too much of the lead paint he removed or he was a con.

I had to play with one of the windows and focused on sealing the wood before paint ever hit it. I figured it was going to be neglected over the years, since it was three stories up. When the paint and glazing failed, there had better be something else between the weather and the wood.

Kelly ...

On that front door, I added a second pane of glass. Interestingly, after the door was installed, you could no longer hear all the traffic going by, but which you could in its original state.

A good seal is gold.

Kelly ...

Oh, and all that rot – I used to buy my epoxy in five gallon buckets (part A and B). You may need a drum.

Whitacrebespoke ...

No filler will be harmed in the repair of these windows I assure you maybe the odd amount to fill pin holes.

Manitario ...

Wow, you do amazing work. My response would be to throw the windows out, it’s incredible that you can repair them.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Manitario, if they were casement windows then that would be my response also but these old sashes are actually quite crudely made and the outer box frames are just nailed together. The sashes them selves are quite nicely made but once the joints have failed like the meeting rail on this top sash it needs replacing. This is the worst window and it’s taken all week because I don’t have access to my own shop.

Brian ...

All week!?!? That’s one valuable window. The end result is pretty amazing, though.

Whitacrebespoke ...

Yes Brian all week but had a lot of messing about to do with it took me a day to clean the glass out get the paint off, then had to clean the box up cut the rot out and re build it. At home two days but I work 14 hours at home but as I was away it was hard to get in 7/8 hours as I was using a space in my uncles garage so there are lots of very close neighbours.

Remaking the bottom sash entirely with hand tools and a router table was not easy either as I realised when I was there my matched pair of window router cutters don’t quite match some how and the scribe does not quite fit right so that caused me issues.

I had the same money on it as I would want for a complete replacement so all roads round I came out ok. I will be building a steam oven for them for future work though as I think I have my system now sorted for complete refurbishment and that is go it strip out clean the boxes up fully then board them up and take the sashes away, return home and then get them up to scratch before returning and refitting. The only site work is the repair of the box frame if I do any more now.