Renovations

Gallery Windows

The weighted sash windows in our gallery were built in 1939-40 with single pane, rippled, tinted glass. Nice windows for a church, but very dim inside on a stormy day, and very drafty. The fine people at Crystal Glass in Quesnel fabricated 16 new clear, double-glazed units for us a couple of years ago. I am finally close to finishing this finicky job.

An original window from inside.

An original window from inside.

You may notice the interior plexiglass storm window in the photo above – it’s attached to the interior trim using rare earth magnets. Here are the steps I took to do this:

Magnet system for interior plexiglass storms.

Magnet system for interior plexiglass storms.

The lower, rectangular windows came out easily from the inside.

Bill pulling out a rectangular window.

Bill pulling out a rectangular window.

The upper, arched windows required removing two layers of old, wooden trim that holds them in place, and sometimes unhooking metal flashing from the trim.

Metal flashing over arched window frame.

Metal flashing over arched window frame.

All were classically weighted sash windows. Here are the two counterweight sizes:

Iron weights, with shoes for scale.

Iron weights, with shoes for scale.

The old windows, especially the arched ones, were all slightly different sizes and required a lot of scraping, chiseling and sometimes even cutting to make the new glass units fit the recesses. But the first step was to use a heat gun to soften the old putty and chisel it out in order to remove the old glass. Difficult to do without breaking any glass.

An original rectangular ready for old caulking removal with heat stripper gun, chisel, etc.

An original rectangular ready for old caulking removal with heat stripper gun, chisel, etc.

Once the frames were cleaned out and fitted, they needed priming and painting:

An arched window, primed & reamed out to fit the new glass.

An arched window, primed & reamed out to fit the new glass.

A rebuilt arched window, freshly painted, with new glass.

A rebuilt arched window, freshly painted, with new glass.

Because the exterior fir trim was so old, it often split upon removal, even with gentle, patient prying. It required various forms of surgery to make it intact again:

Glued, clamped, brad-pinned trim eventually primed and repainted.

Glued, clamped, brad-pinned trim eventually primed and repainted.

These pieces needed more than glue and pins:

Broken trim repaired with inlaid plywood splints routered & glued into the rear surface.

Broken trim repaired with inlaid plywood splints routered & glued into the rear surface.

The interior trim needed resanding and finishing, and one sill had a split that needed reinforcement with glue and screws:

Cracked sill glued & screwed.

Cracked sill glued & screwed.

Claire stained the set of curved blocks I bandsawed to provide support to the new arched units:

Claire staining blocks on a nice summer day.

Claire staining blocks on a nice summer day.

Our friends Brian Lewis and Murry Krause not only kindly loaned us their scaffolding for the summer, they delivered it from Prince George to our door! (Interesting how standing up top feels higher than it looks from the ground.)

Bill prepares to install a rebuilt arched window.

Bill prepares to install a rebuilt arched window.

Another one done!

Another one done!

None of the window frame cavities were insulated, except for a thin layer of horse hair below the sills, so I filled, foamed, caulked and taped any empty spaces I found.

Taped insulation around a new window in process.

Taped insulation around a new window in process.

It’s wonderful to have clearer, brighter light in the gallery and more heat retention.

A new window from inside.

A new window from inside. We need to repaint the walls now …

A new window from outside.

The same window from outside.

Bill looking inside from the scaffold.

Bill looking inside from the scaffold – happy to have another finicky arched window in place.

Thanks to our neighbours, Dustin and Connor who helped move the scaffolding one day as they walked by, and to Dave Jeffery, Tim Hathaway and Dave Jorgenson who helped more than once!

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7 thoughts on “Renovations

  1. Sybille Muschik

    Hi Bill and Claire, What a huge effort and such a worthwhile result. Just insulating alone was going to make a tremendous improvement. In our house we started out with pearson windows all single paned with sliders in the base; nothing insulated of course. Putting on plastic covers in the fall was standard. We’ve all come a long way. But now our triple glazed living room window has lost its seal and will need to be replaced. Not looking forward to that project and the huge expense. A next year project for sure. Hoping you both have a cozy holiday season and all our best wishes for the New Year.
    Cheers,
    Sybille and Jim

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    Reply

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