Homeownership: Restoring My Windows

On December 2, 2014, I closed on my first house. The house, built in 1925, needs some minor work. I decided my first project would be window restoration, mainly because only two of the fourteen in the house actually opened. It pleased me to discover all the windows in the house suffered from the correct kind of neglect – lack of use! The original wood windows were very much intact and I set about ripping apart the first pair the weekend immediately following move-in. A quick web search lead me to this website, which has proven most useful. With some help, I slowly and arduously managed to strip the estimated seven-plus layers of various paints to expose the original wood. The access doors to the sash weights were all intact with screws in place. I like the stained wood look so I decided to stain the frame, sills, stops, and jambs as well as the sash frames. Since functioning double-hung wooden sash windows are a bit of a novelty in 2015, I stained the sash-weight access panels lighter than the frame to emphasize their location. Another touch was to add spring bronze weather stripping, which I had to special order from a hardware store in South Philadelphia, of all places. One example of my fantastic lack of foresight is that the combination of the weatherstripping and the bottom stop obscures the access panel completely, making the lighter stain function for naught. The old glass proved very brittle and after breaking two of the panes I decided it to be much easier to simply replace and reglaze the sashes. The finished project is shown in the following photos. I’ve learned a bit about speeding up the process and will set about on my next window once the weather warms a bit. Since double-hung windows help cool the house in the heat of the summer, I hope to complete this particular project by June.

Showing sash cords, pulleys, and weather stripping
Showing sash cords, pulleys, and weather stripping
Showing cords, top of the top sash and weather stripping
Showing cords, top of the top sash and weather stripping
Other Cords and Sashes
Again, showing cords, top of the top sash and weather stripping.
The sash weight access door with lighter stain, visible with the front stop pulled.
The sash weight access door with lighter stain, visible with the front stop pulled.

*Note: Click each image to get a full size. The detail in the wood stain and developing patina on the bronze is staggering.

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