Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘windows’ Category

Controlled Chaos

Chaos is no stranger at Our New Old House.

2013-05-26 12.36.08

2013-05-26 12.36.47

Fortunately, this is controlled chaos. And out of the chaos, a beautiful room full of woodwork is emerging.

The masked man lurking in the shadows is K.O. Armed with a sander and an indomitable will, he helped me sand and prep all the woodwork in the living room.

2013-05-26 13.17.43

2013-05-26 13.17.53

Now it looks amazing!

2013-05-26 18.26.27

We also installed the freshly stained stops on the windows and put a final coat of sealant on them.

2013-05-31 20.30.28

Living room windows: COMPLETE!

2013-05-31 21.19.42

Continued Window Progress: Nearly Done!

At the time of my last post the remaining windows in the house looked like this:




While I had a great experience learning how to refinish and reglaze the window sashes myself, I decided in the interest of time that hiring someone to do the sashes while I refinished the frames would be best.

I found a local contractor who was willing to work on the sashes while I prepped the frames. When we got the sashes back from him, K.O. and I took turns cutting slots into the sides of each sash so they could run on the metal weatherstripping rails we’d be installing in the frames.



We used heavy duty chemical stripper to remove the paint from inside the frames. Though we didn’t test it, we were fairly certain that several layers of the old paint contained lead so we worked with gel chemicals and mineral spirits to keep as much of the paint contained as possible. Once we had the wood as clean as possible, we sanded the insides of the frames to restore the beauty of the natural wood grain and prep it for sealant.


We sanded for a long time and grew very attached to our safety goggles and face masks. We loved wearing them. We never wanted to take them off. Can’t you just see the love in my eyes for these oh so fashionable accessories?


In between what seemed like endless days of sanding, we measured the frames, ordered the metal runners from Dorbin in Chicago, and did the necessary prep work so they’d fit around the weight pulleys. For that I used a pair of tin snips. Tin snips seem to come in one size. One size does not fit all. Maybe someday they’ll make tin snips in my size.


There were some hard to reach areas where the chemical stripping gel just didn’t get the job done.


For those areas I used my Dremel tool.


Here’s one of the areas around the pulleys in progress.


I needed to replace about half of the weight ropes. Once I did that we were ready to install our newly refinished sashes. Here’s one of the dining room windows going in.


At the time of this post we’re still waiting for the stops to come back from being dunk stripped and we need to install the locks and lifts. The facing parts of the trim still need to be sanded, stained, and sealed. But in the meantime, the sashes work, they are beautiful, and they are amazingly airtight and rattle free. Here are a few of our nearly completely rehabbed windows:




Riding the Rails

My updates on the windows keep trickling in slowly. If you’d like to see more about the process up to this point, read these past entries:

Windows To The Soul

My Windows: The Lost Images

Window Prep Continues

A Spa For Window Sashes?

It Doesn’t Take a Boy Scout To Tie a Good Knot

The latest step in rehabbing my 100 year old wood windows is to install metal rails that the sashes will slide along as they move up and down. The rails serve two purposes: to make the surface between the sash and the frame smooth so the window glides better, and to keep drafts of air from coming around the sides of the sash.

Here’s the first strip installed. It is attached to the frame with flat head screws that rest flush with the surface so the sash doesn’t catch as it glides by.


In this picture you can see the unstained parting bead that goes between the sashes and the unstained panel that provides access to the weights. The metal strip goes over the access panel and alongside the parting bead. If installed with screws, it can easily be removed to get to the access panel.


A view of the strip on the other side:


My bedroom has windows again!


Also currently in progress are the living room windows. Since I’m running into a time crunch with these I’ve hired a local craftsman to reglaze and refinish the sashes for me while I strip the paint and prep the frames. I’ll be giving them the same metal rails as I did with the ones in these pictures. More pictures coming soon!

It doesn’t take a boy scout to tie a good knot.

I’m really good with rope.

In case you were wondering.


I got to put my rope skills to good use replacing one of the sash cords on my window.

The weights were neatly tucked away in their pocket. The remaining old sash cord was still attached to the fallen weight.


It’s really important to tie this specific knot when you’re putting new sash cord on a weight. It won’t slip over time and come undone. It only gets tighter.


Here’s what a new bundle of sash cord looks like. My windows take medium gauge but there is lighter gauge too. Remember that if you have rounded pulleys you must use rope and if your pulleys have a flat rolling surface, you can use chains.


Now, my original plan was to fish the end of the rope down through the pulley, let it drop down into the weight cavity, and tie it onto the weight. But when I tried that the end of the cord kept getting caught on some of the plaster keys and I couldn’t force it down the cavity far enough to grab it. I decided to use a snake to pull it up from below because that would give me a firmer guide.

Here’s my wiring snake with a bit of yarn tied on the end that I would attach to the end of the sash cord.


Yet another tricky thing about this project was that the pulley had a slope on the inside. It didn’t just open through to the weight cavity, it had an extended piece that sloped down in the same direction as the rope would go, presumably to help prevent drafts coming in around the rope. Unfortunately, this made the hole JUST the right size for the rope and nothing more. It was a tight squeeze but I got the snake through and the end of the sash cord fit just right.

I measured it to be about the same length as the one next to it and tied it off. I left some extra on the end so I’ll have something to work with if the knot needs to be adjusted when I put the sash back in.


Hmmm… now what else can I tie with sash cord?

My girliest tool

Who’d have ever thought I’d be using the mirror I carry in my purse to help out on a house project?


I wanted to make sure I removed all the paint from the inside of the parting bead because the moving window sashes would eventually break away the paint and release lead into the home in years to come. I was surprised how much I had missed when I finally pulled out my mirror to take a look.


One more round of chemical stripping, coming right up!

You are currently browsing the archives for the windows category.