Attaching Sash cords

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Cooper

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Bromley Kent
I have the happy good fortune or sad misfortune of living in a 3 storey house . The top dormer window frames and sashes need painting. To save the expense of scaffolding in the past I have take the sashes out and painted them indoors and reach out to paint the frames and facias ( I ware a safety harness attached to a mountaineers rope, anchored inside) .
I'm not the only one in the last 140 years to have either renewed sash cords or done as I have done. The sides of the frames have multiple nail holes!!
It has often occurred to me that it would be a simple matter if there was a suitable clip, rather than having to use screws or nails through the cords.
Before I embark on the task this year have any of you found such things or got a better way of attaching the cords?
 
I have the happy good fortune or sad misfortune of living in a 3 storey house . The top dormer window frames and sashes need painting. To save the expense of scaffolding in the past I have take the sashes out and painted them indoors and reach out to paint the frames and facias ( I ware a safety harness attached to a mountaineers rope, anchored inside) .
I'm not the only one in the last 140 years to have either renewed sash cords or done as I have done. The sides of the frames have multiple nail holes!!
It has often occurred to me that it would be a simple matter if there was a suitable clip, rather than having to use screws or nails through the cords.
Before I embark on the task this year have any of you found such things or got a better way of attaching the cords?
These are the ones I use.
Repeatedly getting the cord through is easier if you bind the end with a strip of gaffer tape.
https://www.reddiseals.com/product/sash-cord-cleat/
Cheers, Andy
 
I have the happy good fortune or sad misfortune of living in a 3 storey house . The top dormer window frames and sashes need painting. To save the expense of scaffolding in the past I have take the sashes out and painted them indoors and reach out to paint the frames and facias ( I ware a safety harness attached to a mountaineers rope, anchored inside) .
I'm not the only one in the last 140 years to have either renewed sash cords or done as I have done. The sides of the frames have multiple nail holes!!
It has often occurred to me that it would be a simple matter if there was a suitable clip, rather than having to use screws or nails through the cords.
Before I embark on the task this year have any of you found such things or got a better way of attaching the cords?
It’s been many years since I last took a sash window apart so I’m struggling with the clearences _but I’m thinking if you could attach screwed eyes into the frame and thread the cord through and simply tie a knot .. just a thought
 
My sash windows (Aberdeen) have a large screw into the side of the stile that an eye in the cord hooks over and a recess for the cord, number 9 or 10 screw. I tie a figure of 8 knot in the end and hook it over, it's quite a large knot but this works to hold the window fractionally away from the side of the sash channel.
 
I have the happy good fortune or sad misfortune of living in a 3 storey house . The top dormer window frames and sashes need painting. To save the expense of scaffolding in the past I have take the sashes out and painted them indoors and reach out to paint the frames and facias (
That is one of the big advantages of trad sash windows. They can be fitted, painted, maintained, cleaned, entirely from the inside.
I ware a safety harness attached to a mountaineers rope, anchored inside) .
I'm not the only one in the last 140 years to have either renewed sash cords or done as I have done. The sides of the frames have multiple nail holes!!
It has often occurred to me that it would be a simple matter if there was a suitable clip, rather than having to use screws or nails through the cords.
Before I embark on the task this year have any of you found such things or got a better way of attaching the cords?
The better way is to have a channel (as you have for the nailed on cheaper version) but drill through to a pocket in the same face which will hold the knot. No nails needed. Just a half hitch.
Probably not worth the bother of modifying existing windows as copper nails through will last a very long time.
See example on left:

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 15.41.31.png


There's also a neat way to thread the chord in one piece through all four pulleys and sash pockets, with a mouse, known as the cats cradle, whereby you tie on a weight, cut the line to length, tie on the next one etc. No waste or guesswork.
The weight knot also needs only to be a half hitch, passed back under the line and held against the weight.
 
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The "poshest" sashes I ever worked on had a hole drilled down the side, to about half-way. If I remember correctly. it started out as a bit of a groove at the top to accommodate the pulley, but was angled inwards. A wider hole was drilled from the side of the sash to intersect with its base. This meant that the chord could be threaded down this and be terminated with a knot - not a tack or clout nail in sight. :giggle:
The property, in "Queen Ann" style. had been built in 1911, by a builder as a wedding present for his daughter. The downstairs doors were mahogany, with fielded panels, and featured double twin tenons in their middle rails, where the mortice locks were fitted
 
My sash windows (Aberdeen) have a large screw into the side of the stile that an eye in the cord hooks over and a recess for the cord, number 9 or 10 screw. I tie a figure of 8 knot in the end and hook it over, it's quite a large knot but this works to hold the window fractionally away from the side of the sash channel.
The sash windows on my wife's grandmother's house (in Fife) had a removable fillet as part of the channel the window slides up and down in. This was held in place by a brass thumbscrew. The opposite side of the frame had a pair of hinges fitted (exactly where I can't remember). The top screw hole on each hinge had been enlarged to form a slot. By swinging the slotted leaf of the hinge open, you could lower the sash and two roundhead brass screws engaged in the hinge slots. By removing the removable fillet you could swing the sash inwards to enable painting or cleaning. The hinges folded back out of the way when not required. Perhaps not the prettiest or most elegant mechanism, but it was darned handy! I wonder if your windows in Aberdeen are like this?
 
The sash windows on my wife's grandmother's house (in Fife) had a removable fillet as part of the channel the window slides up and down in. This was held in place by a brass thumbscrew. The opposite side of the frame had a pair of hinges fitted (exactly where I can't remember). The top screw hole on each hinge had been enlarged to form a slot. By swinging the slotted leaf of the hinge open, you could lower the sash and two roundhead brass screws engaged in the hinge slots. By removing the removable fillet you could swing the sash inwards to enable painting or cleaning. The hinges folded back out of the way when not required. Perhaps not the prettiest or most elegant mechanism, but it was darned handy! I wonder if your windows in Aberdeen are like this?
It's called the Scottish Simplex system. Sounds a good idea. I've never had my hands on one to find out.
 
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Thank you I’m definitely going to invest in a few sets.
It's a good tip to keep the woodwork narrower than the cleat thus giving a buttress for it to rest against.
Also below the cleat I drill down into the end grain with a long drill of suitable clearance to push the cord tail down into, this stops it accidentally getting jammed between sash and the box and affords a little extra cord to get hold of during the process.
Hope this helps, Andy
 
It's a good tip to keep the woodwork narrower than the cleat thus giving a buttress for it to rest against.
Also below the cleat I drill down into the end grain with a long drill of suitable clearance to push the cord tail down into, this stops it accidentally getting jammed between sash and the box and affords a little extra cord to get hold of during the process.
Hope this helps, Andy
Thank you the more advice and guidance the better. I’ve been working on the windows for nearly 40 years but the interval between episodes is long enough for me to have lost the technique. All I remember is struggling with the sash, cord, hammer and nails. It was only after I had worked on a few windows that it became routine useuly the last one I had to do!!
 
Mighton cord clams, they say you can only use nylon cord but I have used them with the waxed cotton.
Best way for any future maintenance or decoration.
 
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