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Thread: Project: Fixed Pane Windows

  1. #1
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    Project: Fixed Pane Windows

    Having recently completed the "Fabulous Fake Door" project for the 250 year old stone portion of our home, it was determined that the four windows on the first floor were beyond salvage, even with extensive re-glazing, etc. There is a bit too much rot and punk and they leak like sieves, anyway. My first thought was to get custom sized, so-called, replacement windows but quote came in a nearly a grand apiece due to the odd size and color requirements. (and that's contractor price which I qualify for and from multiple manufacturers) The existing windows haven't opened in probably 50 or more years. They are single hung with zero counterbalance, even if they could be restored. If they opened, a prop would be needed to keep them that way. So given there's no way we're going to put $4000 into four windows and the consequences of having a non-opening solution are pretty much status quo anyway, I decided to make new, fixed pane replacements with double-insulated, low-e glass panels and wooden framework that pretty much looks identical to current...minus the rot, of course.

    Having determined the required dimensions (28.375" wide by 46" tall) for the shopping exercise mentioned above, I designed a framework that would slip into the available opening once the old windows are stripped out and use the existing interior beaded window surround to contain it on that side. The means an unchanged appearance in the wide, "pie cooling" window openings in the 18" thick stone walls. As you'll see, the simulated divided lights, etc, are a layered built-up grid that interlocks with the basic frame. Even with the dry-fit that's done on all four as I type this, they are very solid and once the final, beaded appearance layer goes on the outside after assembly with the glass, it will take a bomb to pull them apart...or at least a whole lot of time passing into the future at which point it's not likely going to be my concern.

    My regular local lumber source is back to being open, so I paid them a visit to acquire material. 8/4 clear pine wasn't available, so I chose 8/4 poplar for this project. That's thicker than I need, but I will use the extra thickness for all the thin stock I need to build up the grids. No waste, in other words. I bought (2) 11' sticks of 9" wide material. Morgan, the young lady who tends to the lumber shop most of the time, cut them to two slightly over 8' sections plus the leftover so I could fit them in my Ascent...I didn't bring the trailer for just two boards. Back at the shop, I halved the longer pieces as those sections were adequate for the longest component. When milling lumber, I prefer to keep things short for processing.

    IMG_7606.jpg IMG_7607.jpg

    After flattening, I managed to thickness to 1 7/8" which left enough for a 1.5" thick window frame plus 1/4" thick stock for the grid as noted above.

    IMG_7608.jpg IMG_7609.jpg

    Straight-lining...

    IMG_7610.jpg

    Ripped to generous width

    IMG_7611.jpg

    Re-sawing to get the thin strips

    IMG_7612.jpg

    Nothing like using both the workbench and the slider outrigger for convenience when resawing!

    IMG_7613.jpg
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
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    I think there's enough thin stock to do the coming deeds.

    IMG_7614.jpg

    And enough stock to build the frames....sorted with the best pieces identified and the others for utility.

    IMG_7617.jpg

    The glass panels that I ordered are .5" thick. They will sit in grooves in the rails and stiles of the frame and to be sure things would not be too tight, the grooves are about .53" wide. Any slack will be dealt with with caulking during assembly. To make for clean edges in the groove, they were cut on the table saw after creating a few test pieces to get the groove the intended width and centered in the workpieces. The remainder comes out at the router table with two passes.

    IMG_7626.jpg IMG_7625.jpg
    IMG_7630.jpg IMG_7631.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 8:28 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Once things were "groovy"...components were cross-cut to length.

    IMG_7627.jpg IMG_7628.jpg IMG_7632.jpg

    Because I cut the grooves full length...easier that way...the grooves were measured and a stick of material sized for both width and slightly proud of depth was milled and then cut into pieces that would be glued in to close the groove in the ends of the stiles. I used this same technique when working the locker door project a few months ago. And yes, it was an opportunity to make some cute, little, fluffy shavings.

    IMG_7634.jpg IMG_7635.jpg IMG_7650.jpg IMG_7651.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 8:34 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Things start to get a little more interesting at this point. So a typical residential window is rectangular in the vertical and most often consists of two sashes. (One or both sashes move up and down in an operable opening window) The area where the two sashes meet visually looks to be about the same width as the frame around each of the sashes. For these non-working windows, the intent is to duplicate that look. The frames are 2" wide and there's .5" between the glass and the top/bottom of the basic frame. The center rail...to get the look as mentioned...needs to be 2" wide by .5" thick. It also needs to lock into the frame since butt joints just will not do. I chose to do a simple through dovetail to provide for this interlocking need because it holds the piece in place nicely, but also provides a little strength in the middle of the tall frame structure. Additionally, the remainder of the simulated divided light framework will lock into this piece, both as a dry fit and later during final assembly. These pieces are exactly one inch longer than the rails top and bottom. That provides for a half inch on each side for the dovetail.

    To create these pieces, I took some of the extra rail/stile material to the bandsaw, sliced it down proud of .5" and then used the thickness planer to clean it up and bring it to .5" thick. Once cut to length, a simple layout for the dovetail provided 1/4" shoulders. These shoulders must be exact, so they were cut at the sliding table saw using the miter fence and stops so that all four were exactly identical. They were then cleaned up and the angles cut with a sharp chisel to create the dovetail on each end of the workpieces.

    IMG_7636.jpg IMG_7637.jpg IMG_7644.jpg

    Using the centerline of the stiles, the position was laid out. While these intermediate decorative rails were "close" to identical, I still uniquely marked them and used each to create a set of components for four windows that were matched.

    IMG_7638.jpg

    The waste was removed with a router and a .125" downcut spiral and then "cleaned up" with sharp things.

    IMG_7639.jpg IMG_7640.jpg

    Now I want to be up front here...I did not try to make these joints "perfect" other than relative to the shoulders. Why? Because this will all be hidden after final glue up when the frames are capped with a beaded, decorative layer. These dovetails are tight for their purpose but not something I'd want on a visible joint!

    IMG_7641.jpg IMG_7642.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 8:57 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    Here are a few more photos of the process with cutting out the stiles for the dovetailed cross-members. Note I used a supporting block in the groove to avoid stressing the wood in the wrong places when cleaning things with the chisels. You can also see in the first photo that a scrap of frame material helps provide a wider support base for the router. As this project moved along, I cut with the router a lot closer to the lines, too. LOL It's much easier to pair off slivers than it is to remove a sixteenth of an inch...

    IMG_7647.jpg IMG_7648.jpg IMG_7649.jpg

    As per my usual, Dominos get the nod for joining the corners...10mm Dominos, 75mm long and only one per corner. Honestly, that's enough to both hold alignment and provide a solid joint. These things will be encased in the window openings securely and since they are fixed panes, there's no chance of racking, etc. after installation. Every corner was marked for each frame set.

    IMG_7653.jpg

    Cutting the mortises was then a matter of "assembly line"...all the stiles with one bench support setup and all the rails with another.

    IMG_7654.jpg IMG_7655.jpg

    All the inside edges were then block sanded since that will be impossible later on.

    IMG_7656.jpg

    Four complete frame sets with there own individual decorative center rails are now complete:

    IMG_7657.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 9:08 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Well...almost complete...had to cut the 75mm long 10mm Dominos from stock. This is not a standard length but is the right size for this project. Four per frame; total 16.

    IMG_7658.jpg

    So here is where things are at that point with a frame dry assembled with the center rail

    IMG_7661.jpg

    This will give you an idea on where things are going from here...

    IMG_7662.jpg

    A little bit of basic math provided the centerlines for the grid; 9.5" from the frame edge on both sides for the horizontal and 10" between the rails for the vertical, top and bottom. The simulated divided light material is 5/8" wide which is pretty standard for this style of window. It will not be fancy...it will be flat stock which makes it easy to build a two layer, interleaved structure that will be strong, especially when interlocked with the frame. At each of the intersections between the grid and the frame, there's a 1/4" deep by 5/8" wide by 1/2" long mortise that provides the interlocking in a similar manner to the dovetail for the center rail. Again, the router was used to hog out the waste and a sharp blade completed the task.

    IMG_7664.jpg IMG_7665.jpg

    The lower layer of the two full height vertical strips fit into grooves on the underside of the horizontal center rail. I neglected to photograph creating those grooves but it was done on the sliding table saw with the miter fence and stops to define the outside edges and then nibbled out. Every piece of the grid for each window is individually fitted to account for minor variations. To get started building the grid, these two vertical pieces are glued, clamped and pinned to the center rail.

    IMG_7681.jpg

    The next two components are the horizontal "top" layer cross pieces. These fit into the mortises in the stiles. Note that the only glue and pin activity here is between the components. Nothing is glued to the frame, itself, until after the glass is in the frames. This also means the grid can be pre-finished back and front which is kinda important, especially for the back side which is, um...against the glass.

    IMG_7680.jpg

    From here, individual smaller pieces are fitted, glued and pinned to the grid to add the second layer and bring it to 1/2" thick to match the center rail. The overlapping pattern makes for a strong grid once the glue is dry (TB-III). There are pieces on the backside that also get filled in.

    IMG_7682.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 9:31 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    BTW, the zero clearance insert I recently made really made cutting these components a snap as the cut line could be easily lined up with whichever side of the blade was appropriate for that cut visually.

    IMG_7683.jpg

    SO...at the end of this exercise so far, I have four dry-fitted window frames with grids anxiously awaiting their glass to arrive. Next steps between now and then is to mill the stock that will serve as the decorative, beaded layer that surrounds the grid and provides another slight shadow line.



    IMG_7684.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-11-2020 at 9:34 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    Jim,
    I am waiting. waiting, waiting..........

  9. #9
    Jim, did you consider using IGU glazing tape?
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  10. #10
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    Looks great, Jim. Great pictures, description, and craftsmanship, as always (we'll ignore those dovetails; lol).

    Where did you buy the poplar for this project?
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul F Franklin View Post
    Jim, did you consider using IGU glazing tape?
    I don't know what that is. But I'll look it up.

    ----

    Steve, Bucks County Hardwoods up on Old Easton Road between D'town and Danville. Very nice folks to do business with. Pretty much limited to domestics, but I'm fine with that. They do a lot of slab work, too, being a supplier for "that natural edge place in New Hope".
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Steve, Bucks County Hardwoods up on Old Easton Road between D'town and Danville. Very nice folks to do business with. Pretty much limited to domestics, but I'm fine with that. They do a lot of slab work, too, being a supplier for "that natural edge place in New Hope".
    Oh, yeah, I know them. I took a couple wide pieces to him a few years back to have them flattened, since they were way too wide for the machines I had at the time. I didn't realize they did dimensional pieces; I thought all they had was slabs (considering the room with the slab flattening equipment has slabs lined up all over it!). I might have to check them out next time I need something; do you know if the price list on their website is accurate?
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I don't know what that is. But I'll look it up.
    Sorry, Insulated Glass Unit glazing tape. It's what most commercial window manufacturers use to mount and seal the IGUs in the frames. Seals well and provides enough room so there is no chance of the frame pressing against the edge of the IGU.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  14. #14
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    Steve...the red barn has both slabs and regular lumber in there. Sometimes, they need to use their forklift to get something (like the 8/4 poplar I needed the other day) but there is also some material in racks in the far right bay. They flattened the slabs for that big walnut table I did awhile back and I also avail myself of their wide sander from time to time. John stopped his tree service awhile back and just concentrates on the lumber business now. Morgan minds the shop most of the time.

    Paul, thanks for that. I'll check it out to see if it's usable for how this is designed.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    Today's task after taking care of the weekly food shopping was to mill up the stock that will be used for the overlay on the outside face to cover and lock in the grid joinery. I thought I was going to have to use some of the 4/4 poplar I also acquired last week when I picked up the 8/4 material, but cheerfully, I managed to "milk" that 8/4 material even more, taking all the remaining off-cuts, etc, and turning it into 1/2" thick strips. I literally have only a a few tiny blocks of wood that will get trashed and the rest of the "scrap" is a whole bunch of 4' long thin strips that will go into my shorts bin for future use. I think I got my money's worth out of that $144 of material!

    Anyway, prior to resawing, thicknessing and putting the bead on the trim stock made from the remaining material, I did the router setup and cut a test piece to confirm that I liked the bead size I chose, etc. One option was whether or not to do it the full 2" wide or to create a shadow line. The shadowline won. It looks MUCH better than flush and makes the grid just jump out visually. This is a simple 1/8" reveal. The bonus to this choice is that it made three pieces of the remaining material usable for this so I didn't have to touch the 4/4 stuff. Win-win.

    IMG_7686.jpg

    This is a boring photo of a whole bunch of 1/2" thick and 1 7/8" wide strips of poplar.

    IMG_7688.jpg

    Putting the 3/8" bead on was an easy and relatively quick task.

    IMG_7689.jpg

    And now the material is ready to dress things up once the glass arrives and is installed. There will be a bunch of pre-finishing, however, before I glue this all together permanently as previously mentioned. That's absolutely necessary because of access. Since all four of the windows are identical in size and actually have square corners (I even checked that...LOL), the lengths of the long and short beaded pieces will be figured out using scrap so they can be cut "production style" one after the other on the slider using the miter bar.

    IMG_7690.jpg

    BTW, the reason I chose to put the bead on the outside of these windows is because it will echo the bead on the existing inside trim.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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