Sash window chain replacement - any experience?

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Established Member
2 Dec 2009
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Hi all,

Not strictly woodwork, but I've been asked to take on the task of replacing the chains (as opposed to cords) in a double sliding sash window.

It's something that I haven't had any experience doing. And apparently scores of other carpenters have refused the job already. Makes me think, is it a hard one to crack? Perhaps it's a huge window.

I'm led to believe that the sash chains themselves entirely substitute the normal sash cord and weight in this case, so the weight of the chains alone assist with the movement of the window.

The problem in hand is that the window is stuck, apparently.

Has anyone dealt with a job like this? Any tips on how to deal with it and where to source new chains? I'm familiar with normal sash cords and weights, but is this a completely different task?

Thanks for any assistance.

Hi Karl

You will get chain and the connectors from here.

I would be really suprised if there were no weights in the window as if it is a big sash it would take some piece of chain to counter balance the sash and keep it up.

If there are no weights it probably means someone has messed around with it in the past.

It wont be the case that the chain carries the weight of the sash. Have you looked at the window yet or not? I only ask as I have only come across chains on larger windows.

In my experience the chains have been attacthed to the side of the sash by a recessed plate wich is screwed to the sash, and is attachted to the chain via a pin, just like a bike chain would be, and attached at the other end to the weight via a big hook which is also attached to the chain with another pin.

This is how i removed and re chained the sashes:

Remove staff beads ( sometimes only one side unless they are all to be replaced)

Pull the chains as far down as possible, with the sash still in situ, and use molegrips to clamp it at the top by the pulley wheel. Do this for both sides

There should now be enough slack to remove the sash and see the connectors on the sides. You will prob need another pair of hands to now hold the sash and remove the connectors.

Now remove the pockets to access the box. Remove the connectors with a chain tool

Holding the chain, remove the mole grips and lower the weights to the bottom, you will now be able to remove the weights from the hook.

Rechain and attach the connectors and hooks to your new chain. Re attach weights, replace pockets.

Pull up the slack again and attach the mole grips to hold in place. Re attach the chain to the sash.
Hopefully Jacob will be along in this thread. He has a lot of experience in this area.

If not - PM him.

Think we're approaching this the wrong way. The key phrase in the OP is 'the window is stuck'. Also what sort of size are we talking here?

Are we talking bottom or top sash or both? Not trying to teach granny to evacuate ova but have you checked to see they are not painted up?

If not then, as others have said, is remove the staff bead. If it's the bottom sash then look down both edges to see how much gap (if any) there is between the window stiles and the pulley stile. A simple test is to see if the window can be pulled towards you easily. If it can then your problem has to lie with the chain/weights. Can you pull the chains out a little away from the pulley stile? If they move easily and don't go back then the weight has come off/broken off/chain broken and you then need to follow what's been said above.

But before you go down that route, I'd try out some of the more obvious things first.
bugbear":zv5x8y67 said:
Hopefully Jacob will be along in this thread. He has a lot of experience in this area.

If not - PM him.

Nope, never done chains. They are not common at all. They have weights though, they just replace chords in some later heavy-weight windows and operate in much the same way I imagine.