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Kick out the plastic

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JohnMcM17/10/2007 16:00:00
134 forum posts
38 photos

I wonder how many other woodworkers would like to have a stab at replacing their old rotten or hideous plastic windows. If they could combine all the benfits and security of modern double glazing with the beauty and warmth of traditional oak casements, and save a fortune into the bargain then how many would love to give it a go?. Is it in the realms of hobbiest woodworker. Trouble is there seems to be a complete dearth of information on how to make windows. I reckon it would make a cracking series for a magazine. I bet iIm not the only one waiting for it.



Gavin Shaw22/10/2007 16:39:00
98 forum posts
23 photos
This sounds a great idea to me John and can we include some information on how to fit sash window boxes when you have built them and ripped out the dreaded upvc replacements
derek willis16/01/2008 16:13:00
2314 forum posts
1 articles


If you fitted boxes into the rebates of upvc windows you would have to use balance spirals as weight boxes would take up much too much room and you would be excluding your light. Much better to use casements which can be completely draught proof stripped and contain sealed units fitted with beads, made of oak or similar finished with oil they would outlast any other and I agree they would look much better, but more expensive. Given a router table or spindle moulderwith the proper tooling window making is not beyond the average woodworker.


Gavin Shaw21/01/2008 16:33:00
98 forum posts
23 photos


Thanks for the advice, I guess I didnt make my self very clear, the house had sash windows that had been ripped out and replaced with upvc, so it was a case of taking out the nasty plastic winows and removing the infill bricks back to the origional hole for the box and then fitting a new box. As I dont have acess to a spindle moulder and because I was quoted a very good price I took the easy way out with the first window and had it made, but now I know how easy they are to fit I am trying to persuade my wife that if I invested in a spindle moulder and made the rest of the sashes and boxes we would save money in the long run and I dont just want to buy a new toy!

thanks,  Gavin 

derek willis22/01/2008 13:11:00
2314 forum posts
1 articles
Gavin, go for it, and good luck!
J D Architectural Joinery22/03/2008 18:29:00
41 forum posts
7 photos
I recon there could be a seperate mag for joinery, such a broad spectum to cover in just a few pages.
Ivor the engine01/04/2008 17:10:00
270 forum posts
46 photos

Gavin,   Go to thats one on sash windows, If  not on Google go to search punch in "weights for sash windows" and you should get up lots of Web sites on sash windows,

Good Luck,


Gavin Shaw01/04/2008 20:33:00
98 forum posts
23 photos

Ivor, thanks for the info, at the moment I am still in negociations with the wife about the merits of buying a spindle moulder, but once I persuade her its a vital piece of kit and we will save fortunes, I will get back to the windows!



Robbie06/04/2008 18:17:00
129 forum posts
34 photos
Hi I know its been a while on this topic but I used to make Sliding sash windows at my old company, they are very easy to build and I was turning 1 off windows around easily in a day. No need for a spindle moulder because Travis Perkins sell the sash section off the shelf very reasonably priced!!
derek willis06/04/2008 19:13:00
2314 forum posts
1 articles


as do most good merchants, as i mentioned way back in this post, you can buy all the components, but, at a price, the object of being a woodworker is that you make it all.


Robbie06/04/2008 19:44:00
129 forum posts
34 photos

Quite right and well said!!

I would be interested to see some pics if or when you do it.

Woodchip07/04/2008 10:14:00
380 forum posts
7 photos

I agree with JD Architectural Joinery.

Joinery is a completely separate field as we all know and there is so much to learn if we 'cross-over'. A specialist magazine would be a good idea, but is there a good customer base? George Ellis's book, 'Modern Practical Joinery' is one good source, if you are the sort who can learn like this and you want to use genuine retro-techniques.

As for wooden window frames, I had it up to my hair roots with sash windows in the 1960's. I worked for a guy who had a council contract, for repairs and replacements on buildings that were over 100 years old then.  I got tired of codging. Having to replace  rotten sash-frames and  boxes, and then re-fit the old window; hanging new doors into rotten door-frames or replacing frames and re-hanging the old door. It was mainly the fault of incompetent 'Building Inspectors' who were trying to keep down costs, but it caused me a lot of headaches and guilty 'codging'..

Plastic might not suit the modern trend for retro-fashion, (and it is only a fashion),  but I am glad I had the rotten wooden frames ripped out of my house, which was built in 1971.

Gavin, good luck to you, but had I replaced with oak, I might now be forever caulking around them. Wood moves and causes draghts. The Missus might not be so charmed by quaint oaken frames then!

And I wonder... Which horrifies the greenies most? Pollution from the manufacture of plastics, or decimation of our oak trees, to build wooden frames?  Now there's a thought. 



Andy Bell12/09/2008 14:38:00
156 forum posts
43 photos


I think we could be going along the same lines except I'm opting for softwood. I came across the same dearth of information. I Started a thread a while back [b]Designs for up to spec box sliding sash[/b]. Thanks again to everyone for advice etc.

I've negleted the forum for a while due to almost finishing my loft conversion. Ive got a blog about it if anyone interested.  Also I've been working on the window designs.

I did loads of research. The Trada web site has a great section "High Performance Wood Windows" (don't know if the link will work, you might have to log in.) this give advice on design and seals principles.

So far I've drawn up the designs and made a small working mockup. I've modified traditions designs to incorporate 24mm Double glazing and managed to keep the box width down to 160mm. I've designed in hidden brush seals and kept all the proportions as traditional as possible. The design is for tradtional weights, it will cost a lot in lead, approx 40kg per window. I'll post some photos of the model/test piece.

I've tooled up with a bench saw, planner thicknesser and router table. I did look at a Spindle moulder but the price of tooling put me off. I have made all the sections from scratch with a small set of 1/2" router tools. The next stage is to make the first full size window to test the design fully before I make the rest.

Andy Bell12/09/2008 15:53:00
156 forum posts
43 photos

I've just been out and taken some pictures of the test window.

The proportions look wrong because its small only about 600mm high, all the sections are actual size so I could test out how to make the joints and get the clearances right

It works well and slides beautifully

The weight boxes are designed to take 50 x 50mm lead weight, on the final windows these will be around 600mm long.

This shows the brush seal on the meeting rail. This is the only seal that will be visible, only with the window open.

Gavin, I got about £1200 of new tools authorised by the missus. Only trouble is, I've got to make all the windows now.

I hope my efforts are of interest.


Mike Garnham12/09/2008 17:40:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos


congratulations on getting clearance for that much new woodworking kit!! It looks like you know what you are doing with it too.......well done so far.

Do the sashes slide between seals, or is it just a timber to timber contact?

I know it is only a mock up, but I have mentally strectched it out to full size......and I wonder if your timber sections in the sash are a bit chunky?  Old windows had a very "fine" appearance, particularly with the glazing bars, but also with the casements. Keep them as slim as you dare!

Anyway, well done......I look forward to seeing the first ones in situ.


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