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Thread: Wooden storm window advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Wooden storm window advice

    A friend of mine asked about making wooden storm windows. He has an older building that currently has none so exact profiles are not critical, but he wants to use wood.

    He read cyprus makes a good material for them but didnt know where to get cyprus. We have an inquiry in with a local supplier but if someone has other recommendations it would be great (white oak... or locust?). I thought maybe deck material would be good stock (teak, ipe) and might be a good starting dimensions.

    He saw a video of pocket hole joinery (just square stock) then routing a rabbet for glass. I am not so sure about pocket holes, might prefer a domino myself.

    Anyone build these before? Quick and easy way? Recommended materials?

  2. #2
    I would vote against Ipe, it is very hard and doesn't glue well. I've never tried pocket holes in Ipe, but it might be difficult. Cypress may be difficult to get in the MA area. It is far more plentiful in the LA or TX areas. Western red cedar would work well.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  3. #3
    Holt and Bugbee in Tewksberry, MA has Cypress. Being more rot resistant and stable, 5/4 Sapele would be a better choice.

    Through mortise and tenons would be best. A little bench top mortiser does not cost much, compared to the increase in quality.

    The profile could be square edged on the interior, and run the 7/16" deep rabbets on a table saw. 2" long tenons can be made on a table saw or a band saw.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Vancouver Canada
    If you can find it, fir is a good choice. I do also suggest pinned bridle joints, glued with a water resistant glue. I've done it with many windows but then I live in fir country.
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    If you end up using Cypress, only use the heartwood. Cut the sapwood off, and throw it away. Pick lumber accordingly.

  6. #6
    We have a 1901 Craftsman and five years ago, I undertook the project of making over 25 screen windows. I used redwood, but cedar would be a close second. Fir unless painted very well, is not a good choice for exterior wood. I made a template of the angle of the exterior sill, which helped for set up. I used a mortiser for joints. The inside of the windows had a rabbet and a matching piece of wood to capture the screen. The matching piece was screwed to the window to capture the screen material.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Annapolis, MD

    Here is an old thread about my storm window project, selecting the wood and some great replies with more considerations.

    I did bridle joints in cypress, and dowel pinned them. As suggested in the thread I made them all slightly oversized, took them to my brother's house and fitted them to the windows. I left the raw windows in his care for painting so I am not exactly sure what he did (he went to a local paint store and got good advice in terms of surface prep, priming, and painting), and then I returned to mount the Plexiglas and hang them. He says they are holding up great, up for the winter in Columbus, OH and stored in the basement for the summer, except for a couple that stay up year round because the windows leak otherwise. Even those are holding up with the original paint. He says the windows are not warping (and some are 30 x 60") and the Plexiglas has not clouded or degraded.

    If you can find cypress I would recommend it, and get some good advice from a painter about how to finish them.


  8. #8
    Oh, and get a set of numbers for each window sill and each storm. I used pins, and here is an example:


    It really helps match up the storm to the window if you have a lot of windows like I do

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    If you end up using Cypress, only use the heartwood. Cut the sapwood off, and throw it away. Pick lumber accordingly.
    I agree with this. I have used a ton of cypress through the years for various projects. The sapwood would not be suitable for any areas that would stay moist, such as the bottom rail etc. On wide boards, there is usually heart wood available and you could cut out what you need.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    I heartily second Thomas' recommendation to use numbered pins!

    Unless you can get old-growth redwood (e.g., reclaimed), the current redwood is not much more rot or insect resistant than plain fir. I would use cedar or cypress for their light weight, or white oak if you want narrow rails/stiles.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Storms take a beating as the warm moist air escapes from the house and condenses on the cold storm. It is hard in a climate like mine to keep paint on them and the associated rot that results, so I did an experiment on my own house. I have six windows of questionable quality that are huge for double hungs, 4'x 6'6"and leaky at the seals, had a mildew problem on the inside.

    So... I made the storms out of Versatex, built in a traditional manner and then used tempered glass bonded on with glazers doubled sided seal tape, then a stop over that screwed on. They look like wood windows no matter how you look at them, but they will never rot of even need paint. Its been three years, no issues.

    Just a thought.........

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