Sliding Sash Window Design (Double Hung) History

By Andy the stuff doer

The Sliding Sash Window, or Double Hung Window as its called in America, is showing a massive upsurge in popularity. 

It’s an fantastically successful design. A 100 or 200 year  lifespan is proven.  Compared to around 20 years for uPVC windows, the timber sliding sash window is a winner. 

In these days of energy conservation the traditional Double Hung Sliding Sash is unsuitable as a replacement window.  Unfortunately the tradition design is unsuitable for fitting the double glazing units that regulations stipulate. 

Many companies now manufacture alternative designs, some good, some in my opinion, very bad.  It’s obviously a highly profitable market, with strong demand and high margins. 

A couple of years ago, I embarked on project to build my own double glazed sliding sash windows.  No suitable plans where available so (as a trained designer) I set about  researching the subject in great detail. 

This post relates to the my Synopsis of  sliding sash window history.  Read the article over on my website.  

Various window designs including Double Hung, Sliding Sash

An understanding of historical window designs to inform 21st century developments

I’ve analysed the construction details of the Box Sliding Sash. (Available soon.) This has allowed me to fully understand the tried and tested construction. It highlights where, in the light of modern developments, the design can be evolved.  I’ll be publishing construction details and plans for an evolved, traditional sash window shortly. 

The final part of project will be available as a set of plans, details and explanations for a 21st century fully evolved sliding sash windows.  Combining technology with craftsmanship, these windows can be built in a shed with a minimal investment in tooling. 

Any comments or thoughts or INTEREST ? Please give me you feedback below. 

Historial Influences on the Design of Sliding Sash Windows 

Prototype  Window Build Blog

77 Responses to “Sliding Sash Window Design (Double Hung) History”

  1. I want to build my own sash windows. Is there an ebook or plans or explaination of your work? I am interested.

  2. Hi John,
    I’m working on the plans now.
    I’ll be putting something together on single glazed sashes windows first.
    At the same time I’m starting to build my own double glazed version. Recording all the build techniques and putting the plans together.
    I’ll let you know of any progress.
    Cheers
    Andy

  3. Hi Andy

    I’m an English carpenter in France.
    It’s strange to see that continental influences produced the sash window.All windows I,ve seen in this country open inwards instead of outward in GB.I,ve yet to see anything ressembling a sash in rural France.In fact some French clients of mine who like English
    style stuff speak of sash windows as typically English. Mind you French polish is English polish in France!!?!?Really enjoyed the videos especially the door build.Thanks very much,
    Regards Nigel.

  4. Thanks Nigel,
    The “tall” window style came across the channel with the architecture. In France these windows weren’t counterbalanced so not very practical. The English developements didn’t seem make it back over the water. It would be interesting to explore what political / social / climate differences caused the explosion of popularity here but not on the continent.
    The inward opening casement will be where we get, what we call “French Doors / Windows”
    Cheers
    Andy

  5. I have 6 windows i need to built – no rush this year but i hope your experiences will stop me having to repeat mistakes – im most interested in the tolerances of the parts to slide etc.. correctly . All my windows are modern but i have got 1 original sash from a skip down the road for my profiles etc.. Anyway enough said – i want to be kept updated please

    Col

  6. Col, Apologies for the delay in responding.
    You’ve picked up on detail of tolerances and gaps so the sashes slide well. It’s a interesting point, one that’s hard to find solid info about. However I’ve nearly got my research and analysis of traditional sashes completed, it covers the”gaps”. I’ll be posting it ASAP, good job your not in a rush!
    Something you should consider: If you are replacing modern windows then the new ones “should” meet building regs in the UK. That means double glazing, saftey, ventilation that can be passed by the “man from the council”. Unfortunately the old profiles won’t work for up to date windows, they cant take double glazing in a way that will last.
    I am getting closer to publishing the plans for my ” High Spec” sliding sashes, I’m building 5 at the moment to check detail changes from the prototype. All I need is more hours in the day!

    Cheers Andy

  7. Hello,
    The front door video was perfect timing for me as I have to make a ‘non standard’ internal door this month.
    The sash window article is of interest. I have a an old house which appears to be made up of different sizes sash windows, must have been made up with leftovers from other Victorian house builds. I have made a couple of sashes using the originals as patterns but now would like to make the box section too. I have a few pages from an old book giving details of making a box sash which is enlightening but a modern version would be a better way forward so will be looking for your write up on it.
    I am curious as to whether you will be using lead weights and dividers or use the the modern spiral spring mechanism. Have to admit I am not a fan of them as they look wrong.
    Keep the good work up.
    Regards
    Terry

  8. Terry, Glad to hear the videos are useful.
    I’m of the same opinion as you when it comes to the counter balance. I don’t think spiral balances look right. I also have my doubts as to how long they will last. With the traditional weights it’s only ever going to be the cords that need replacing.
    Having said that, sprial balances do make for a simplified and cheaper build and can be used when the brickwork hasn’t got the space to take the box part of the frame.
    I really do need to get a move on with the window plans, I’ll see if I can accelerate progress
    All the best, Andy

  9. Posted from a recent email-

    Hello
    just found your site. Very interesting.

    I’m as hopeless at DIY as anyone you can imagine so have decided to get a local joinery company to install wooden sash windows to help restore my Victorian workers cottage.

    Am trying to make sure I ask as many relevant questions as possible . One of them has been to ask what type of softwood would be used for the box frames, sashes and cills.

    The reply I’ve received re box frames and sashes is “…6th grade joinery softwood which would be treated with rot proofing liquid after assembly then primed”

    On the cills, reply is “… softwood….. but utile hardwood could be used instead at slightly increased cost”.

    I wondered from your experience if I should be asking further questions?

    Was hoping to get this work done before Autumn but it hasn’t been possible. Someone has suggested postponing until Spring as too late in year to be doing a decent paint job on windows. Any thoughts?

  10. There’s a few point from the above email:

    Good to hear you are doing a “proper” restoration job. Just thought I should mention, if youare replacing complete windows you might have to consider building regs, unless the joinery company is acredited and sorting that side of things. It could be, that to comply the windows will have to be double glazed.

    “6th grade joinery softwood” you might whant to have read of this: http://www.idostuff.co.uk/sections/DIY/Timber%20selection%202.html
    SO, I’m not sure they put much thought in to that answer.

    “treated with rot proofing liquid” – Some might reccomend pressure treating, no treatment is 100%. The first line of defence is to make sure the wood doesn’t get wet and stay wet. Paint (including primer) sould be good quality micropous. That combined good design should allow the timber to dry out if there is any ingress. The glazing seal or putty has to be in good condition. If the moisture content of the timber is below around 20% rot can not set in.

    I’ve been using linseed oil based paints. The joinery company may not want to do this but its something to consider. have a look at: http://www.holkhamlinseedpaints.co.uk/

    I know some folks will always use oak for the cills, it’s an extra precaution. However i’m happy using a good piece of softwood. After all oak will rot if its moist.

    I should point out, I’m am bit pedantic. If the joinery company is good, with satisfied clients they probably know what they are doing. So may be the biggest question is, “Can I see some of the windows you have made and installed for others ?”

    Hope this helps
    Andy

  11. Andy
    thanks. I live in a Conservation Area and have obtained planning permission, so that aspect of work covered.

    The joinery company has done my next door neighbours cottage and appear to have done a good job.

    In your advice on the best timber for windows you recommend “best unsorted (U/S) redwood”.

    excuse the ignorance but what does “unsorted” and “U/S” mean?

    cheers

    Tim

  12. Tim,
    Good to see you’ve got the planing bit covered and they did a good job next door.

    U/S is Unsorted. It’s supposed to be the good bits of timber left when the poorer quality 5ths, 6ths and possible 4ths have been taken out. Although it depend on the timber merchant to carry out the grading. I choose my pieces down in the yard so at that point it is sorted, my me, for the 1sts and 2nds. For windows it needs to be fairly clear of knots with close straight grain.

    Redwood is what they call the various types of Pine (not always red in colour). The quality varies bettween spiecies and the region it’s from. Whitewood is Spruce – like you get in packs from DIY sheds.

    Cheers
    Andy

  13. Hi Tim Ive just dicovered you blog and i am very interested in your sash windows especially if you have a design for double glazed sashes. I have’nt made a sash for many years but have a fully equiped work shop so should be able to make almost anything. Does your design include draught proofing strips and have you discovered if a double glazed unit will be to heavy for the weights. do you think your designs will conform to building regulations. Sorry to be so noy but it is something I have thought about for a long time and as usual have not done anything about it now of course I have a friend who wants to build a traditional bay window on his victorian house and sop the story begins. Many thanks for you hard work

    John

  14. Apologies for the spelling

  15. Hi John,
    Don’t fret about spelling, I’m hopeless.
    Yes the design has draught proofing, brush strip. To balance the DG units I use lead. The designs will conform to buiding regs.

    Once again I appologies to every one who is interested. I have been diverted from finalising and publishing the plans BUT I will get there in the end.

    Cheers
    Andy

  16. This is a really interesting article, as it is interesting to find out where specific design came from, to create what is present today. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I love what you’re doing on your site. I’m over here in Chicago rebuilding my house and I’m thinking about building my own sash windows I would love to take a look at your plans and if it’s an shook I would definitely buy it.

  18. Hi Tim

    I am very interested and looking forward to seeing your plans
    Gary

  19. Thanks Gary, I really do need to get cracking with the plans.
    Andy

  20. Very interesting – I’ve subscribed to your RSS, and am looking forward to seeing your plans. No rush, mind!

  21. Hi there,

    Just discovered your site, really great resource. I’ve just started studying bench joinery and furniture making so will pass the link on to my fellow students, the door making vids are spot-on , love all the tricks with the table router!
    Look forward to the window plans too. All the best.

  22. Interesting blog, but as a joiner who specializes in reproduction joinery, particularly Georgian box sash windows I am not that impressed with your woodworking skills or knowledge of construction methods and materials; European redwood and spruce are completely unsuitable materials in the long run, especially spruce! Red cedar or Douglas fir are. You state that double hung sash windows are no longer viable because of energy requirements and this is false, it is totally possible to build traditional type sash windows with double glazing, weatherproofing and weights. Using slimlight glazing panels (these are even available with crown glass) argon filled of 10mm thickness you can even use glazing bars of 5/8′, 16.1mm. I can and have built such windows that meet modern regs and are virtually indistinguishable from Georgian sash windows although they are not cheap. It is insulting to proffesionals that you would think that you can pick up a teachable knowledge of sash windows and joinery without any proper training or real experience beyond some DIY.

  23. Thanks for your comments Mr. Quatermas. You have raised some interesting points that I think I can address.
    1. I’m not setting out to impress estabilished joiners, I’m mearly passing on the knowledge and experience I am gaining from my perspective in the hope its interestering or useful to others.
    2. I agree spruce is unsuitable for making windows, “My Choice – the best Unsorted (U/S) redwood, you can find.” . You do qualifiy your statement with “in the long run” which does bring out the compromises we have to consider, like: durability, longevity against availability and cost. I could advise Oak as being superior but there are plenty of 100 + year softwood windows surviving to this day.
    3. I actually state ” In these days of energy conservation the traditional Double Hung Sliding Sash is unsuitable as a replacement window. Unfortunately the traditional design is unsuitable for fitting the double glazing units that regulations stipulate.” I agree Traditional style windows are possible. After all that is what I’m working on, the history I’ve written points out developments made due to changing technologies.
    4. You point out that your windows are “not cheap”, which is why I embarked on this project. I can’t afford them and neither can most folks reading this. However it is possible for some people “without any proper training or real experience beyond some DIY” to make their own.

    What does limit many of us non-professionals is a lack of plans and confidence borne of experience needed to make a start.
    I hope my designs, eventual plans, experience gained, mistakes and successes will inspire others.

    You don’t have to feel insulted, but I can’t help that. Many professionals are happy to help and advise others who have similar interests, others sometimes feel in someway threatened.

    I am a, degree level trained and time served designer, I’m applying my skills to my development of sash windows to fulfill the brief I’ve set myself. This process does entail challenging common conceptions and as such I expect some controversy, so once again, thanks for the opportunity to address your points.

    Regards
    Andy

  24. Thank you for such an interesting article. I have been building a house for the last 3 years and would like to make my own sliding sash windows, presently living in a Victorian building I consider not only the appearance but also the ventilating to be far more preferable than with side hung casements.

    I look forward to your publication, so please advise me when it may be available.

    Kind regards
    Steve

  25. Hiya, i would be very interested in how you got on with this project. I am currently researching sash windows and am completely won over by the timber sash for next time my windows meed replacing!

  26. P.S – Andy, good response to L. Quatermas 😉

  27. Hi Nancy and Everyone who’s interested

    The sash window Plans are on the DRAWING BOARD!
    The Frames and Sashes for five of the finalised design are built and the glazing units are ordered. I’ve been photographing the build so I can add a “How to” section to the plans. Once again appologies for the delay, after a couple of quiet years my regular work has picked up so time has been in short supply.

    Thanks for feedback on the reply, I was bit concered I’d gone OTT.

    Andy

  28. Thanks for sharing your work, look forward to reading more about your own sliding sash windows.

    I agree with Nancy, a well reasoned and fair response to Mr. Q’s comment.

    Ger

  29. would love to see how to make a sash window manual/video

  30. what are the component parts of a sliding sash called and how do you replace sash cords

  31. Steve, I’m working on some new content along with the plans. I might also cover the sash cords.

  32. Hi,
    Interesting stuff!
    We own an 1896 victorian semi. There are 13 sash windows which I would be interested in replacing (roughly speaking: how may hours to build a double glazed replacement sash unit?). The kitchen window is a modern double glazed wooden casement window which is approximately 5′ wide by 3′ tall. How could that window be replaced with something in keeping with the rest which are all taller than they are wide?
    WM

  33. Hi Wayne,
    I’ve not worked out how long they take to make yet. It’s something thing that I’ll to list of info I need to provide. But as a very rough estimate 16 hrs.
    Have you consdiered renovation of original widows with good seals? It can be quite surprising what can be repaired and the difference modern seals can make.

    The 5′ x 3′ window, I suspect, isn’t an original 1896 opening and definately not the right proportions for a sliding sash. There are a number of options to look at. I would consider:
    a) Arts and crafts style (chunky) casement.
    b) Yorkshire Sash.
    c) Dividing the 5′ so only centre portion is a sliding sash.
    d) Changing the size of the opening.

    Hope this helps
    Andy

  34. Hi Andy,I have a house in Bulgaria and want to install some box sash windows.I cannot get into the attachment to find out how to layout and build the the sashes.Could you possibly send the infomation to my personal e.mail address. Many thanks Keith

  35. Hi Keith, There is no attachment yet, I’m still working on it.

  36. Here is a very cheap fix for rattling sash windows that I have come up with.

    It reduces drafts and noise.

    I found it worked well even on refurbished windows.

  37. Interesting. What I can’t see from the description on your site is, how the sash will slide easily against the end of the machine screw. OR do you have to unscrew it. In which case it could also act as a security device. Simple, cheap and effective.

  38. I would love to see the plans of the sash windows. I have been receiving quotes for new ones to replace the delapedated ones in the G2 we are buying. My bank manager is on the way to A and E !

    Daniel

  39. Andy,

    Have you seen this page?

    http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/caring-for-your-sash-case.pdf

    I found it an interesting read and very informative

    Daniel

  40. Hi Daniel, I need a kick up arse to get the plans sorted. I’ll get back to you when they are done.
    Did the Bank Manger split his sides laughing?
    Andy

  41. Very interesting stuff. I’ll return to see how you’ve got on!

  42. But the window tax 1696 – 1845 was brought to finance a replacement coinage. The Excise Tax (glass tax) 1745 -1845..was quite a diffent tax and for a hundred years they coexisted.

  43. Thanks David,
    I should have cross checked my research. I’ll be amending the incorrect page shortly.
    Apart from that, do you think I’ve got the rest of it right, is there much I’ve missed out? Does it give an insight to the developement of fenstration from a design technology perspective.
    Cheers Andy.

  44. Correction to http://www.idostuff.co.uk/sections/DIY/Sash%20Windows/Sash%20History%205.html made.

  45. Well I’m waiting for this design to see if its any good

  46. Hi
    I have rad your page and am really interested in your project. I am a keen diyer and want to build my own sash windows.You mentioned in your blog that you have plans of the design. It would be great if you could make them available. I look forward to seeing them and getting on to make them.

  47. Hi Salv,
    I’m still in process of writing and drawing up the plans. I am making a concerted effort at the moment to get them finished. I’ll let you know as soon as they are available.

    Regards
    Andy

  48. Hi Simon,
    It shouldn’t be much longer to wait for the plans now.
    Andy

  49. Hi Andy, I’m really interested in making a sash window as I’m putting back the originals in my house. How’s the plans coming on?

    Cheers Joe

  50. Hi Joe, The plans are underway, unfortunately I keep getting distracted by my regular work. I’ll email your self and anyone else who shows an interest as soon as I’m getting close.

    Andy

  51. please let us know when your plans are ready we will be very interested as we have a lovely old house but need to replace a lot of 1700 windowns, thaks

  52. Will Do.

  53. Hello Andy,
    Please put me on your list for the sash plans. C’mon now, don’t let two years go by!
    Tony

  54. Hi Andy
    Like you were, we’re too broke to pay (recent quote) 1k per window. I’m handy with wood, so I would love to see how far I get with your plans.

  55. Thanks A May-Zubel, The plans are on a slight hold at the moment whilst I’m checking if any design protection is worth sorting out first. I’ll post as soon as there is some progress.

  56. Niall Rhys Evans on April 9th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Hello Andy
    Saw you great vid in the PT 85. It has its downfalls but for the price and space saving looks like a good buy. Just one thing most of the reviews on this say the fence is poor and some people have made their own fences or made mods to it. As I am about to buy one i am sure that the fence will let me down but if a good mod is out there then i can make the changes myself. Any ideas. Thanks
    Niall

  57. Hi Niall, Good to hear you found the review useful. The fence mod I use is about as simple as it gets. It s a length of squared up 2 x 4″ hardwood, that a clamp to the out feed table. For the odd occassion I need this facility it works fine. If I’m jointing boards I tend to use the table saw as I find it easier to get a staight and square edge.

  58. J. sent this comment in by email:

    I’ve now found your web page and I read your blog on making a sash window with interest. You certainly did a very thorough job which looks very good and it was very interesting to see how double glazed units can be squeezed in.

    I have just made a sash box frame too, but used the old sashes that were already there. The frame was in terrible shape which is why I rebuilt it. The back of the house has subsided so the frame had twisted and was very rotten, but it did give me template to copy construction details and dimensions. One thing that strikes me is how basic the box frame on my house is compared to the one that you’ve made. It really is bits of planed timber nailed together. Only the pulley stiles which have a groove for the parting beads, and sills had any machining as such. However I still ended up with a very sturdy frame.

    Also I don’t know if this is interesting to you but on my house the detail of the original box frames around the arch are slightly different to your window, and help to make the windows look a bit more “period”. Down the sides of the window there is a scotia bead nailed to the front linings to cover the gap between the window and the brickwork. There is also a horizontal scotia bead mitred to the two vertical ones and nailed to the top lining on the window head so that the top edge of the bead spans the brick arch. A wooden arch filler is then nailed to the top lining through to blocks behind so that is is flush with the scotia bead and therefore infront of the main window box. This then fits into rather than behind the brick arch at the front. It could be that the detailing of windows in your area is different, but round the midlands that is a pretty standard way of doing things. I’ve included a photo of a rather ropey but salvageable window from my house. (the one I’ve made doesn’t have the sashes in yet)

    Also If you haven’t already seen them (I guess you probably have) there is some very good info in period joinery books which in fact describe construction very similar to your very high quality construction. Haslucks “carpentry and joinery” and also “modern practical joinery” by George Ellis which is available new are very interesting.

    Also I have used a simple but I think effective way to deal with the pocket pieces which might be interesting to you. I just cut top and bottom of the pocket pieces on a 45 degree angle all the way through to the parting groove. Then took a rectangle of 3 – 4 mm hardwood maybe around 2″ by 1″ and cut a recess in the back of the pulley stile to glue and screw the hardwood piece into so that is overhangs the top of the pocket piece hole by about an inch. A corresponding 1″ recess in the back of the pocket piece means that the pocket piece sits in its cut out and is held in place by the hardwood plate at the top and is screwed with 1 screw at the bottom. To me it is a bit neater than trying to cut angles in the pocket piece. Of course the method I described is not so suited if the pocket piece is in the centre rather than the back of the pulley stile. What do you think?

    I am of to read some more of your page now.

  59. Good to hear from you J.
    I’ll have to look up the thread to remind myself when I get a moment, was it something about the gaps and tolerences?

    The frame design I eventually used is a combination of old designs with a few new/modified details that I decided would have some benefits. Particularly the stile to cill joint that is often the the first parts that shows signs of rot. Other details help to fix the dimensions that I needed to ensure a consitent gap for the seals to work in. So yes there is some added complexity. It great to see a good frame, like yours, can be built with just PSE.

    The scotia bead is like you say a way of covering gaps. It also adds a bit fancy detail, some I’ve seen really go to town with the beading and mouldings, I can imagine the the “window salesmen” of the day upselling all the add ons they could. I’ve seen the infill board used around hear as well it allows a standard fram to be used in an arched opening. I just choose to make make the outer lining tall enough to fit behind the arch so the extra piece wasn’t required.

    The pocket cutting is an interesting one, I’ve seen and heard about them being done many different ways, as far as I’m concerned as long as works it doesn’t matter how they are made. One thing I did come across in my research was a special pocket cutting chisel. I fashioned my own version and gave it a go. Pocket Cutting Chisel. With this chisel I can see why the “old time” design ended up as it did. (see the illustration on the page, not how it is on the video).

    It’s certainly all interesting stuff, trying to work out how and why things where made as they were.

  60. Hi,

    I recently came across your site, and have to say you are providing some great information, not commonly available otherwise. I have been looking for info on how to build sash windows for about a year now so I am hopeful that you will have plans available? Either way keep up the excellent work, it really is appreciated.

    Mike from York (now living in france)

  61. Hi Mike, Thanks for your comments . The Window Plan are “work in Progress” unfortunately the day job plus the whitby cottage renovation is knocking it back. I’ll let you know when Ive made progress.

    Regards
    Andy

  62. Hi Andy, Watched your 4 panel door with great appreciation , terrific!
    I too, like Mike from York, think It would be great see you do a sash window? If it turns out to be as good as the door it too will be terrific .

    pls keep me in the loop
    Alan (Australia originally Oldham)

  63. Thanks Alan, The windows write up and photos are in pipeline. It’s a long pipeline though with all the time I’m spending on the cottage. I could do without the day job for a few months. I’ll let you know when I’ve made any progress. In the meantime if you do “Facebook” we have a page where I post the links to anything that I have managed to cover.
    All the best
    Andy

  64. well done excellent

  65. I’m really impressed with your videos. I made a box sash at college once and would love to see if i could create something of quality for home. I look forward to seeing your designs and having a go. Keep the motors running!
    Cheers, Patrick

  66. Thanks Patrick, As soon as my day job eases up a bit I’ll be on to it.
    Andy

  67. I’m interested to see how your project turned out. Were you successful? I see some very old comments on this but I don’t see where you updated the blog to show your results. I’m interested to see how the windows turned out.

  68. They have turned out very well and having gone through a few winters now I can say with confidence they are performing and holding up well. I’m hoping my day job quietens down a bit so I’ve chance to update things and get working on the plans.

    Thanks for looking and commenting
    Andy

  69. Hi Andy, I’m in a similar position in needing to make windows as purchase is just not an option at current prices!
    I hope you get the time to do the plans at some stage, you made such a lovely job if the picture is anything to go by. So please make a note of my email and let me know as soon as they are available.
    Best wishes, Dave

  70. Will do Dave. I’m planning on semiretirement from my day job soon, the plans are high up on the list of things to do in the extra time.

  71. Hello Andy, just found your site and found this blog most interesting. I didn’t realise there was so much interest in the sliding sash.
    I worked in a C & J Department in a FE College and had to make up some box sliding sash windows for the students to have a go at re hanging weights and minor repairs etc. I still have a setting out rod for the side boxes if you are interested, it’s on MDF but i can re set out on lining paper and forward to you if you are interested or of any use. It could be easily scaled either way and might be useful to anyone who is interested.

  72. Hi Garry,
    Apologies for the late response. Setting out rods are something I’ve thought about covering at some point. If you could send me a photo of yours I might be able to use them. Rods tend to be specific the stock sections either bought or “home made” and for others to print out to scale would be difficult so it’s probable best to show how folks can make their own. You can email me at idostuff@idostuff.co.uk.
    Cheers
    Andy

  73. Hi Andy,
    Many thanks for all your time and effort with this – assume it’s a labour of love.

    Completely agree with your response to L. Quatermas. While i can understand his point of view and his need/desire to protect his skillset and tradition (and i truely hope he does so), i find the whole traditional window industry protectionist (read over-inflated prices, often with little to justify it – actually, the best craftsmen can justify it, the rest just copy the prices and think the wealthy will be happy paying for it). The closest industry i can think of is Swiss Watches – everyone knows they are hugely inflated just to protect the industry. That said, i hope both industries remain and keep doing it the proper way.

    But for me, i’ve paid for two different window manufacturers and both were rubbish (glued on pieces here and their, staples, softwood (3 piece) cills etc) so i’m taking matters into my own hands and building my own – i have a window here to model from (not copy, because as far as i’m concerned, i’m not going to make their mistakes/shortcuts and will improve on some of their designs). As an ex-engineer I’ve CAD’ed up my design (happy to share it) based on readily available U/S Redwood sizes from my local timber yard. If it works out well, will consider re-doing it all in sapele or iroko. As for Douglas Fir, i’ve never seen or heard of any windows or even quotes in that (though may not be looking in that end of the market), let alone cedar (other than my parents’ house near the sea in Sydney which is all W/R cedar due to the harsh environment).

    On a side note, my understanding is that any window manufacturer must supply the overall U-values for their windows for building regs, but can you honestly tell me with all these ‘old-school’ trandional crafsmen that learnt it from their fathers, they are taking their windows to the testing labs to get accurate figures??? i’d be suprised, and have yet to get any formal certificate from the two manufacturers that have made windows for me so far.

    Back to the point, i found your site because i’m exploring designs for pockets…appreciate your method, but prefer my fancy tools over my hand-skills so will be doing something more akin to ‘J via email’ and artificially make the reverse angle cut with a backing piece.

    Great work, we need more people like you to share their time and experiences.

    Cheers,
    Lucas

  74. Hi Andy, I find your Whitby Cottage restoration very interesting and inspiring. It’s good to see that practical skills and necessity combined lead to some brilliant solutions, clearly you’ve researched and thought through each challenge in depth.

    I am currently refurbishing our Victorian terraced home and trying to restore some of the features lost to modernisation and in the future wish to replace the current pvc windows with original sash windows as part of the long term plan.

    Long story made short, any progress on the windows plans?

    Ian

  75. Hi,
    Firstly, compliments and many thanks for sharing.
    I am extremely interseted in your sash window design. This year I am making some windows for my property which I hope will be a confidence builder for a couple of sash windows I am going to attempt later.
    One question I have (possibly my most concerning one) is possibly more a decorating one but is something I would like to cover during manufacture. I live in the South West (UK) and am coastal. All windows suffer terribly from the environment and bleaching from the sun. I have considered soaking my timbers in a piece of guttering filled with some kind of preservative for a couple of days, is this silly?
    Regards,
    Mike

  76. H Mike, The plans are still in a very long pipeline, life and work keep getting in the way. Preservative will only help with fungal and possibly insect damage. As it has taken me so long at least I’m gaining first hand knowledge of how linseed oil based paints performs over years. So far I’m really impressed, no cracking, blistering or flaking. Cosmetically the surface does degrade over a few years but the protection is holding up. Timber expands and contracts following ambient humidity levels and paint does the same with temperature changes. The linseed handles it, I am a convert.
    Andy

  77. Thanks Ian, Really sorry I had not got back to sooner, I’ve got a massive spam problem that I’ve only just had a chance to plow through (one advantage of the snow, I’m in the office instead of on-site or in the workshop). Glad you found the cottage stuff interesting, having finished that I’ve had a full refurb to do in a victorian terrace and half way through another semi. I’ve got so much material to write up, I could do with break which I might get in about 6 months.

    Long story short, no progress on the window plans but at least I’ll be able report long term performance of the design. I post any progress.

    Cheers
    Andy

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