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    Sancho Neves-Graca

    Would making window frames be a suitable topic for a new Woodworking Masterclasses project by Mr. Sellers? Home windows based of metal, plastic and gas-filled glass panes seem to follow the wasteful consumerism patterns of modern life – limited lifespan without any ways of maintaining them other than outright replacement. Even if the traditional techniques of sash window making are beyond the reach of most woodworking amateurs, covering some basic designs could provide a sense of accomplishment and self reliance.

    Barry B

    hi sancho

    the ‘handbook of doormaking, windowmaking and stair casing’ by antony talbot has some good information on the subject. my copy was printed in 1980 and i don’t know if it was ever reprinted.
    perhaps your library can get you a copy



    Sancho Neves-Graca

    Hi Barry,

    Thank you for the reference on the handbook by Antony Talbot. After some research I also found ‘Doormaking and Window-Making’ published as an anonymous trade booklet in the 19th century and reprinted by Lost Art Press. A more recent publication, ‘Make Your Own Handcrafted Doors & Windows’ by John Birchard (1988) and reprinted by Echo Point Books seems to cover some modern methods. Compared to the wide range of publications regarding cabinet making, window making seems to have been relegated to an industrial concern with modern materials and tools, with some traditional knowledge still practiced as a trade in restoration work.

    Regards, Sancho

    Larry Geib

    Be aware that any specs from a 1980 book will almost certainly not meet modern energy requirements.

    Even architects I worked with over the years didn’t get code requirements right.

    I live in a historic district where the operant requirement is that you not be able to tell windows have been upgraded, and it took three tries past the code department and historic commission to get the proper approvals on my 120 y.o. House.

    Stewart Perry

    I just finished making some windows for a new shed/workshop I’m building (see attached). I followed the YouTube series by Bradshaw Joinery called “Oak Casement Window” in which a guy designs and builds a double-glazed oak window. He uses a lot of industrial machinery but the series is good to get an idea of the design and build principles. The first video in particular is very useful as it walks through the design drawings in detail. A modern window has a lot of technical features to control water (e.g. drip edges, grooves to prevent capillary action, drainage holes, and of course rubber seals) which you might not be familiar with if you (like me) are building a window for the first time.

    As Larry said, you may need to make sure thermal performance meets local building regulations if you’re going to install them in a dwelling (mine is and outbuilding so not subject to those rules, but I still want it to be warm inside). My windows are simple single-casement designs with standard 28mm double glazed units. I don’t have machinery to cut large rebates and couldn’t work out a good way to do it with hand tools so I formed them by attaching stops with screws and glue (unfortunately the stain finish I used has highlighted the screw plugs which were previously quite subtle). They’re a bit rustic looking but overall I’m very pleased with them. Next time I’d glue on the stops using clamps rather than screws.

    I’d say that window-making is definitely achievable for an amateur woodworker, although I’d advise practicing on an outbuilding window or a cheap pine prototype before making a start with expensive hardwood.

    Stu - Surrey, UK

    Sven-Olof Jansson

    Did actually contact WWMC some years ago on a window project, particularly holding forward the joinery of crossing glazing bars (muntins, spröjs [Swedish]); but to no avail.

    Please also allow a picture on the joinery of a 19th century glazing bar in pine, and a draw bore pin coming out. Despite its looks, the window is still holding together.
    Sadly, the last virgin boreal pine forests, where wood like this came from, were lost as IKEA “harvested” those in Remote Karelia – an atrocity. The circumpolar scantling pine I’ve found for replacement does not compare, but should hopefully last not too few decades, particularly if metal fasteners can be avoided. Thankfully our croft is “listed”, so contemporary insulation regulations do not apply.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Sven-Olof Jansson. Reason: grammar and style
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