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Thread: Making Wood Frame Windows

  1. #1
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    Making Wood Frame Windows

    If you were going to make wood window frames( not sashes) for windows what material would you use? Excluding Teak, Mahogany etc you know a material that every day Joe would use. Good, Better,Best wood. I watch Brent Hull on YouTube make what he calls his 100 yr window itís neat but I also think that keeping maintenance up and water out maybe could get 100 yrs.

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    Sapele……………

  3. #3
    Look into Accoya. Machines very well and takes paint very well. I've been experimenting with it and it works quite well. Jointed a board flat 2 years ago and it's still "suction to the jointer table" flat. Not the easiest to get here, but that's changing. It has been used for a long time in Europe, so even though it's uncommon here, it's common elsewhere.
    https://shorturl.at/mRTU3

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    Why exclude mahogany? That would be my primary choice.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  5. #5
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    For an everyday budget, finger-jointed pine or Douglas fir are solid options. If you can swing the cost, hardwoods like cedar, cypress, or white oak are better in the long rn.

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    He needs to be more specific.

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    First, I would not install an unclad wooden window in a house or other environment controlled space. I know that's not an answer to your question, but any exposed wooden frame window is going to be inferior in performance to a well made clad window. I strongly prefer aluminum clad, although vinyl can be good for some looks, and in particular on exposures that get less full sun. I recently took out some 40 year old middling' quality (at purchase) vinyl clad windows from the West and North sides of our house, and they were in excellent condition, with the cladding showing only the most minimal embrittlement, and no leakage or rot at all. I'm likely to re-install them in a new garage next summer.

    But, if I were to be tempted into an unclad wooden window for a house, I'd build it from QS or riftsawn white oak. Redwood would also be an excellent choice, except that getting vertical grain redwood that is responsiblely sourced is extremely difficult. Vertical grain Douglas Fir would be a third place option.

    I watched Hull's 100 year window video. It's a bit hard to take seriously someone who says there is no need for insulated glass in a window design. Granted there are regions in the country where insulated glass is overkill, but there are lots of people living where the energy savings and comfort factor you get from them easily justify insulated and low-E glass. To build a window without allowing at least for insulated glass in the sashes as an option, seems off, to me.

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    The largest restoration company in the country is here on in KC. They use Sapele. Reason I know this is because I applied and did a tour of their company..

    Only reason I didn’t go to work there was because the two guys that own the company I heard were Jekyll and Hyde…
    Last edited by jack duren; 02-06-2024 at 9:59 AM.

  9. #9
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    I’m not a window guy, but occasionally get window jobs (super simple double hung to match existing) when doing other work for historic buildings in my area. My local supplier stocks Sapele and Khaya (African Mahogany). I much prefer Sapele as it behaves exponentially better than the Khaya I’ve worked with. With African Mahogany I think you might be getting any number of species that are thrown under that umbrella. I would consider these available to the every day Joe. I’ve been interested to try Sipo or Utile, but my supplier doesn’t stock these. Interested to hear what others with more experience prefer.

  10. #10
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    Cypress is a good choice and reasonable.

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys for suggestions, Brent Hull uses Sapele for his 100 yr windows.
    I was wondering what materials to use thatís 1x8 thatís fairly price. I only have 4 window frames to make, but using same sashes. Thanks to Tom for guidance on that

  12. #12
    Redwood sills and Douglas fir, but I'm on the west coast.

    I have clients that did a big remodel (20+ yrs ago) on their fancy older home and all the windows and interior trim are African mahogany.

    The interior is good, although some of the trim did not get sanded much, but the more exposed exterior stuff has moved quite a lot and is pretty brutal to work with- cannot be nailed and a screw is as likely to break as it is to pull a bowed piece into position.

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    Not sure why you wouldn't choose sapele. It's cheaper by several dollars a bf than many of the other choices mentioned (like redwood, cypress, white oak or quality Doug fir), is 100% useable material, readily available as huge clear stock, and stands up well in this kind of application. At about $7/bf around here it's one of the cheapest woods you can buy. Poplar is about the least at around $5, but for four windows worth of wood that kind of difference only adds up to a couple cups of coffee for a far superior material for the application.

    I personally hate the look of finger joints telegraphing through the paint (followed in a couple years by open finger joints and rot), so that's a non-starter for me for any application that might see weather.

  15. #15
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    Thanks Jack, going save this read later and for inspiration.
    Roger, after your response I believe I will check into Sapele. Having only 4 window frames to do I think it will work in my budget limits. Plus it be different wood for me work with

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