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Sash window box (hand tools only)

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thomashenry

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Am having my bathroom remodelled, so decided to take the plunge and replace the existing sash window box which had a rotten sill and was rotten at the bottom of the pulley stiles. The sashes were ok so will be stripped, refurbished where needed, re-glazed and re-painted.

For the sill, I used a piece of 150 year old pine that was previously a purlin in a neighbouring house that had a loft conversion a few years ago. I ripped then planed it to size with a hand saw and some bench planes. Gorgeous dark wood, incredible smell too.

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I used a few old books for guidance on construction (Modern Practical Joinery, plus Window Making from Lost Art Press). Took the old frame out, and salvaged the pulleys and the inner linings from it, and took all required measurements.

Putting the correct profile onto the sill was easy - just ploughed a groove at the appropriate place, which then allowed me to just use a bench plane to plane down the correct chamfers.

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Stiles joined to the sill with wedged housing joints, and to the top rail with unwedged. Put a rebate on the outer side of the stiles, and an appropriate groove on the outer linings, to ensure a good fit and help with assembly.

Then, after cutting the mortices for the pulleys, the groove for the parting bead was ploughed, which then allowed me to cut the pocket pieces with a tenon saw. Finally, assemble, with nails and a few screws. Frame went back into place easily enough, secured with some sliding wedges, and finally mortared around the edges, and put on the first coat of linseed paint.

Took about 4x longer than I'd planned, but I got there in the end. I had planned on painting the inner linings, but having retained them from the original window and stripped them, I think they look really nice, and will make a nice accent against the minimal black/white design of the new bathroom, so will probably leave them exposed, perhaps with a traditional oil or wax finish.

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Total cost £30 for timber, £40 for a can of paint (not that I'll need anything like a full tin), plus the cost of reglazing the sashes.
 

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MikeG.

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Isn't the old wood wonderful? It makes the fast-grown rubbish we're sold these days look terrible in comparison.
 

thomashenry

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MikeG.":37rer1pt said:
Isn't the old wood wonderful? It makes the fast-grown rubbish we're sold these days look terrible in comparison.
It's really beautiful. Have got still got a few more purlins and rafters that will be used at some point in the future for other projects. Always keep my eye on skips for more!
 

AndyT

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What a brilliant project. I'd love to attempt something similar but my windows are all in good nick!

I really appreciate your use of superior reclaimed timber and hand tools. You have proved that you don't need anything more.

Timber windows are so much more sustainable than plastic. And the cost of entry is so much lower - a bench and a couple of dozen tools cost a lot less than the machinery needed to shape and join uPVC. Far better to repair what's there than rip out to landfill.
 

thomashenry

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Thanks for the positive words. The boxes really are not that hard to make when you know how they go together - no tricky or intricate joinery. There's not much online about them, but the books I mentioned made everything clear. Making the sashes would definitely be a step up in difficulty - there's some fairly fine joinery needed there. Hope to have a crack at that next year.
 
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