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Thread: Oval Window Repair Question

  1. #1
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    Oval Window Repair Question

    I got an inquiry if I could repair two oval windows. Having never worked on an oval window I was intrigued so I went to look at them. They are true divided lite sashes, and the upper half of each is hinged and tilt inward. The bottom curved portion of the sash and the bottom half of the curved case molding are decayed and need to be replaced. The lites need to be re-set in the sashes, and everything needs new paint.

    I'm more than capable of doing the repair work but I'm not sure how to remove the sash. The outer case molding looks to be nailed on in the usual manner, I think. Assuming that's correct and I get it off w/o damaging it, I'll be looking at the sash in what looks to be brick layed jamb. So, to my question. How do you think that the fixed lower portion of sash is held in the jamb? Just nailed in or would it be something more sophisticated?

    Sorry, I forgot to take a photo and forgot to ask how old the house is. Likely 80+ years just guessing. Thanks for any insights.

    John

  2. #2
    Some of them are just in a bed of putty. Could even be lead putty

  3. #3
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    Thanks Mel. If that's the case can you remove it just by wiggling and gentle prying? Once I cut the paint line of course.

    John

  4. #4
    I really don’t know. I last made one in the 60’s. Not sure we ever repaired one, they usually sent the old one to copy. Some now use those
    oscillating tools for that stuff, maybe with a thin piece of cardboard on the glass.

  5. #5
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    Pictures would be good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    Pictures would be good.
    I agree, but as I mentioned in my first post I forgot to take some. Sorry.

    John

  7. #7
    wiggling and gentle prying
    This is where I would start.

  8. #8
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    Well today was the day to remove the window. Here's how it looked before I started.



    A lot of caulking and paint had been added to the bottom sash and molding which somewhat hid how badly rotted both are near the bottom. Fortunately, the top sash still opened so I could remove it by removing the hinge screws.



    To remove the lower sash I cut the paint joint between it and the frame with a utility knife, did the same on the outside, then tried wiggling it; it moved a little. I got a putty knife and then a pry bar between the sash and frame and it moved a little more. At that point I could tell that it had been nailed near the top rail, or is it a stile?, on both sides, so I carefully cut through the sash/frame joint with a multitool. From there the sash moved upward easily with the pry bar and was soon freed. Just three nails had been used to install the lower sash, the two I mentioned and an additional one near the center at the bottom. With the lower sash out it looked like this.



    The frame was in good shape and just needs a little Bondo to repair a missing chip out and then new primer and paint.

    Rather than remove the entire molding I decide to cut it at the centerline and just remove the lower, rotted half to eliminate having to repair/repaint the upper wall. I used the multitool again to cut those joints and then pried both pieces of the lower molding away from the frame. To close in the opening while I rebuild the sashes I screwed a piece of acrylic glazing over the opening on the inside.

    Stay tuned.

    John

  9. #9
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    You did it almost exactly how I would have done it.

  10. #10
    Looks good ! But but whoever drew that original shape…should have been kicked off the “Oval- Team” !

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Looks good ! But but whoever drew that original shape…should have been kicked off the “Oval- Team” !
    The way the case molding was nailed together suggests those pieces were fabricated on site. Don't how they did things in 1937 when the house was built but it has survived for 84 years so overall they did pretty well. And had not someone decided to put a shower around it I probably wouldn't have even been called to repair it.

    Oh, FWIW, the moldings are pine. Not sure yet about the sash, but I think I'll use pine for all the repair parts. If not pine, then mahogany. Whatever I use I'll need to use some good paint because it's still going to be in that shower.

    John

  12. #12
    Agree it was made on site , I think it’s one of those two radius three segment things. I just don’t like ‘em, but when an old timer conjured up
    one on a job site he did it with all the panache of a Vegas magician ! The 3 radius type is best used on a higher , looks like a circle space.
    I once talked a couple having a custom house built out of going so flat and if I saw them on the street today they would thank me again.
    Certainly I agree the old one should be used.

  13. #13
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    The rehab/rebuild is done, mostly.

    I was able to save the upper sash and upper half of the trim molding. I made a new lower sash and trim molding from Spanish cedar, mostly following the same construction used for the original. The original was made from white pine. The new lower sash and trim moldings each are made from two pieces of stock. I used large half lap joints glued with epoxy, certainly not used in the originals. After routing the sash profile and glass rabbett and cutting the copes to get the parts to fit properly I glued up the new sash with epoxy. I replicated the original sash construction by adding a 3/8" dowel through the curved sash into the horizontal rail.

    The original sash construction:



    The new sash:




    With new hinges the new mated to the old:



    In order to speed up the process I used the new to me latex glazing compound to glaze the new glass. It's not nearly as easy to work with as the old linseed oil based stuff, but you can paint it after only 3 days instead of 2 weeks, and there's no need to prime it with an OB primer.



    I bought all new glass which turned out to be quite a story. My local glass shop wanted almost $500 for the six pieces of glass, even though I had created a template for all the pieces. I ended up buying a 24 x 24" piece of the glass for $86 and cut the pieces myself in about an hour.

    And here it is, all back in place, with just a little caulking yet to do.





    This was an interesting and enjoyable project. Not very profitable, but I was happy to be able to restore the window and it hopefully will survive another 80 years.

    John

  14. #14
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    Looks like nothing ever happened to it, which is as it should be!!

  15. #15
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    Who ever decided to put that shower there is the real villain. Not only from the water from the shower, but also the huge amount of condensation that builds up on it in the winter. It is doomed to fail again some day.

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