Rotten Sill **Now with Pics**

General wood working tips, tricks and ideas. Anything that doesn't belong elsewhere can be discussed here.
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thallow

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Post by thallow » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:17 am

Having stripped back another of my old sash windows, I have discovered that the sill on this one is rotted to nothing at each end :o taking the frame out is not an option - any other ideas? it is too big a space to fill with filler and the middle section of the sill is intact bit the ends are comletely random shapes where I have pulled away all of the rot?

I will try and post some pics this weekend! :)

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Post by 9fingers » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:33 am

Hack back to reasonably sound wood and use the ronseal rot killing plugs and resin hardner (can't recall the name of the system). Then let in various pieces of wood and use the filler for the rest.
The other 'proper' way of doing it is to cut off the sill back to sound wood and fit a new one screwed & glued into the bottom of the frame/remains of the sill.

I've done both and once painted you would never know. the ronseal system might seem a bodge but it has lasted well so far - about 5 years I think.

Bob
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royclarke

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Post by royclarke » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:24 pm

Why is it not an option? It could be the best way to do it.

thallow

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Post by thallow » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:51 pm

Posted by royclarke on Today at 5:24pm
Why is it not an option? It could be the best way to do it.

True, but because I have just spent few months decorating the room inside ::) before I even gave any thought to the windows :-/ on the outside......and swmbo would not be happy with what I would imagine to be a HUGE amount of mess and dirt by taing out a 100 yr old sash window? ???

Posted by 9fingers on Today at 8:33am
Then let in various pieces of wood

This is my problem, I have hacked back the rotten wood but am left with a stump either end :o (imagine a head of brocolli) so how do I attach to that when I cannot cut it back to a perfectly flat and square edge? >:( due to it being in situ

Yours thoughts as always greatly appreciated!
Thanks
J

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Post by marky » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:06 pm

Take a look here.

http://www.window-care.net/

I use dryflex rp all the time and it will do exactly what you want.

The site is in dutch but look at the top for the uk flag.....

You will need no more than 1 set (1 normal mastic tube & 1 half size tube)

It is not like filler but wear rubber gloves, clean off while wet with baby oil..

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Post by 9fingers » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:56 pm

Posted by 9fingers on Today at 8:33am
Then let in various pieces of wood

This is my problem, I have hacked back the rotten wood but am left with a stump either end :o (imagine a head of brocolli) so how do I attach to that when I cannot cut it back to a perfectly flat and square edge? >:( due to it being in situ


J[/quote]

How about fixing a couple of temporary battens to the good parts of the sill and then use a router to create the flat surfaces you seek?

Bob
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royclarke

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Post by royclarke » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:01 pm

.....and swmbo would not be happy with what I would imagine to be a HUGE amount of mess and dirt by taing out a 100 yr old sash window? ???
If I do any job, I hate working dirty. Though the average builder type may see a mess as unavoidable or even a desirable macho trait, I am a right pansy and can use a chasing cutter in customers' furnished rooms, without dust sheets, and the place stays clean.

Think about it, plan the way to do it, and you could probably do it without too much trauma. That way you can do a repair that will last another hundred years, rather than one that might just scrape 10, (or about as good as a uPVC window).

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:49 am

thallow

the procedure is as follows, cut out both stiles above the weight pocket

cut out the outer cheek about 400mm up from the cill. remove the rotten cill, cut a new cill complete with all the housings and install

make new stiles, weight pockets and outer cheeks, you will almost certainly need to replace some of the box back as well


use pu glue where necessary, use biscuits for alignment and foam the back


dont forget to prime all the timber before re installation, modern quick grown timber needs all the protection you can give it

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:08 am

this method is not for the feint hearted.

but it is the ONLY way to do the job right

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:16 am

this method is not for the feint hearted.

but it is the ONLY way to do the job right
Except if you are going to that amount of trouble it'd be much easier to take the whole thing out and do it on the workbench.You do see splices done but it's nearly always for bays or others where removal is not an easy option. An ordinary window is very easy to remove, and on the bench you could renovate the whole thing and do a perfect job without splices or filler etc

cheers
Jacob

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Post by telurian » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:26 am

this method is not for the feint hearted.

but it is the ONLY way to do the job right
Except if you are going to that amount of trouble it'd be much easier to take the whole thing out and do it on the workbench.You do see splices done but it's nearly always for bays or others where removal is not an easy option. An ordinary window is very easy to remove, and on the bench you could renovate the whole thing and do a perfect job without splices or filler etc

cheers
Jacob
Jacob,

Why is removal from bays not an easy option?
Interested in this thread as I have a few windows where I am going to have to fix some rotten sills, some of which are bay windows.

Cheers,
Tel

thallow

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Post by thallow » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:26 am

Posted by marky on Yesterday at 8:06pm- Re reading the worries about the end's, make up shuttering with bits of perspex (or any rigid plastic, prefebly clear) to the end, bottom and face all attached with mitre fix or superglue. Fill with the dryflex and tool off to the top surface. Leave to dry and break off the shuttering, the plastic will not stick to the resin and it will hold as if a spliced end was fitted.

I like the sound of this stuff but am not sure I could get right into the corners where the sill meets the side boxes? ???

Posted by Jacob Except if you are going to that amount of trouble it'd be much easier to take the whole thing out and do it on the workbench.

???But how much mess would this actually create - I mean are we talking a few bits of plaster or will there be a 5-6 inch crevice all the way around the inside wall where the sash was/is currently sat?

I must admit following on from the wealth of experience on here, I am leaning towards taking the whole thing out and doing a 'proper job' but as always there is the time factor ie never enough of it :-[ plus I can only work on it weekends really so whaddo I do meanwhile have a boarded up window? I could live with that for a few weeks but i dunno bout swimbo :-/ I will deliberate for a short while and then decide......either way I will try and post some pics!

Thanks again for input, v much appreciated ;D

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:14 am

Except if you are going to that amount of trouble it'd be much easier to take the whole thing out and do it on the workbench.You do see splices done but it's nearly always for bays or others where removal is not an easy option. An ordinary window is very easy to remove, and on the bench you could renovate the whole thing and do a perfect job without splices or filler etc

cheers
Jacob
Jacob,

Why is removal from bays not an easy option?
Interested in this thread as I have a few windows where I am going to have to fix some rotten sills, some of which are bay windows.

Cheers,
Tel
Cos sometimes (but not always) they are part structural

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Post by telurian » Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:58 pm


Jacob,

Why is removal from bays not an easy option?
Interested in this thread as I have a few windows where I am going to have to fix some rotten sills, some of which are bay windows.

Cheers,
Tel
Cos sometimes (but not always) they are part structural
Ah, I thought the answer might be something along those lines as I remember a news story from several years ago about people having bay windows replaced with the awful plastic and then finding that the whole bay structure starting to collapse.

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Post by jfc » Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:12 pm

I did a top floor part of a bay for a friend of mine a few years ago . The house was a town house split into four flats and the front of the building was the timber bay . i replaced my friends bay and put new patio doors in for the flat above so they had a small roof garden . The flat below replaced his a few years later with UPVC and very shortly after they where fitted you could see the glass bowing .

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:54 pm

it is very very unusual for box sashes to be part structural

the only period of time im aware of that lintols where routinely omitted from over windows was the latter parts of the second world war and into the early 1950s due to material shortages

AND because of material shortages / cost box sash windows went into terminal decline at this time as well



box sashes frames are traditionally hung from an internal timber lintol, the extenal lintol tends to be stone or a brick arch

royclarke

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Post by royclarke » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:01 pm


I must admit following on from the wealth of experience on here, I am leaning towards taking the whole thing out and doing a 'proper job' but as always there is the time factor ie never enough of it :-[ plus I can only work on it weekends really so whaddo I do meanwhile have a boarded up window? I could live with that for a few weeks but i dunno bout swimbo :-/ I will deliberate for a short while and then decide......either way I will try and post some pics!

Thanks again for input, v much appreciated ;D

You can make a frame from 4x1 (edge on if that makes sense). The frame goes over the whole opening. Cover the outside with polycarbonate sheet, and the side facing the wall fit a strip of 2" thick foam. Once the frame is out, hold the temporary "window" over the opening, and tie it to a couple of wooden bars which stretch across the opening on the inside. So you won't be boarded up.

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:05 pm

mr grimsdale your comments about taking the whole box sash frame out are unsderstood

but this is where reality and practicallity and finite bank accounts collide


most of the time it is the painter who finds out the problem and it is ALWAYS when he is doing external work

the customers VERY rarely have a bottomless pocket to then take on complete internal redecoration at the same time as the cost of external redecoration (which probably includes scaffolding as well)


moreover you can almost gurantee that if one window has this problem ALL the windows on that elevation have the same problem

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:09 pm

mr grimsdale, i do understand that the only TRUE way of doing the job right is total removal to a bench

the method i use is the closest thing possible without removal to a bench

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Post by marky » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:40 pm

ONLY & TRUE...

I agree that the best option (true) is to remove the window to bench and replace rotten parts.

I would'nt say that to replace parts in situ is the (only) way to perform this repair.

It always comes down to both a mixture of money and how much time and possible decorating is required after.

I think that whilst in some cases removing the window is best, Thallow mentioned that he had decorated and was reluctant to add to his workload.

Of course in the end what ever method is used I think thallow will do a great job...

Marky

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:52 pm

thallow is the same as most customers, he needs it done insitu to save cost

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:00 am

it is very very unusual for box sashes to be part structural

the only period of time im aware of that lintols where routinely omitted from over windows was the latter parts of the second world war and into the early 1950s due to material shortages

AND because of material shortages / cost box sash windows went into terminal decline at this time as well



box sashes frames are traditionally hung from an internal timber lintol, the extenal lintol tends to be stone or a brick arch
I meany bays - sometimes you can't easily extract an individual sash case from a bay like you can a single one.
I wouldn't say there were "hung" from a lintel, they basically sit on the sill on a bit of packing /mastic etc and are wedged at the head side to side. Are easy to remove once you have chipped away enough plaster and/or removed architraves. May be easier if you take out the inside linings first. You could board up, with or without temporary glazing, from the inside and hold it in place with wedges/battens or whatever. BTW it's all done from inside, even finishing of the outside with mastic is easy to do from the inside, before you re-hang the sashes themselves.

cheers
Jacob

thallow

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Post by thallow » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:27 am

Pics as promised, can these be repaired in situ???? :-/
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r117/Thallow/IMG_2295.jpg

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r117/Thallow/IMG_2294.jpg

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r117/Thallow/IMG_2293.jpg

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r117/Thallow/IMG_2292.jpg


Thanks for input so far, WIP will hopefully follow once I have decided on best course!

Many Thanks ;D

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Post by 9fingers » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:49 am

Edited to insert pics - Hope you don't mind
Bob

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:46 pm

the answers are

yes

yes

and...............

yes

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:14 pm

here is a picture of a stile cut out and cill repair done last year

Image

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Post by dirtydeeds » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:15 pm

this sash was only about 30 years old

the picture gives some idea of the work you need to carry out




i dont have pictures of the method.

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Post by royclarke » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:00 pm

The brickwork >:( >:( >:(

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Post by dirtydeeds » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:59 pm

the house was built in 1889

the bricks are semi soft reds on the most exposed elevation of the house

the place was repointed some time ago and they didnt rake out the old mortar

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Post by royclarke » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:36 pm

That's about the same age as our house, though we were fortunate, the repointers hadn't got to it. It's a sad reflection on so called "professionals" in that they do work in a way that increases the problems. If only they wold lime mortar (that's assuming it was necessary in the first place) it would add to the life expectancy. There are so many places round here where they have done cement pointing, and the cement is still there, just the bricks are disappearing.

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:19 pm

Yes spot on - the mortar is too hard for the bricks and they are deteriorating fast by the looks of it.
9 finger's mortar looks OK - DON'T REPOINT!!
Part of the problem there is that the sash has come away slightly from the masonry which often happens with brickwork but not so bad with stone jambs for some reason. You get a ratchet effect where a bits of mortar or brick spall drop into the gap and wedge it slowly wider.
This is another good reason for taking it out entirely - you can put it back properly, although sometimes you can push them back up tight without first removing them, as they are already a bit loose. But it can be difficult to get at the wedges.

cheers
Jacob
PS what was it covering the gap - it looks like a bit of something was removed?

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Post by dirtydeeds » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:10 am

part of the outer cheek has been removed because it was rotten. in this particular case the horn and back of the box was in good condition

if the level of rot in the cill is worse and the horn has gone you have to replace the whole cill

note well, if you dont replace a rotted out horn two things happen, water penetrates into the house and in 5-6 years you will have a MAJOR repair because the horn is holds the weight box / frame construction together and the box starts falling apart.

to replace the whole cill you remove about 400 of the outer cheek and about 600 of the mortar and some of the box back (if that hasnt rotted away already)

the removal is necessary to install the new cill and give enough play to get the 3D jigsaw of box back, outer cheek and pulley stile back into place

ive never yet found any wedges. mortar removal is done with a 200mm bakuma pry bar used as a bolster

in my experience only bakuma pry bars can take this level of punishment

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:30 am

Well I've always found wedges though they are not always conspicuous. There is usually at least one at one end of the cill and usually one or a folding pair at both ends of the head. This is the standard trad way of fixing a sash. No other fixings are used except for the plaster.
Re back of boxes and mid feathers - I see you have both in your example. Box backs are often left out in stone buildings as they don't serve any purpose - and ventilation is better without. They are needed in brick buildings cos of the build up of debris - bits of mortar etc but if this is really bad the back of the box tends to rot and everything fails, they just delay it a bit. Mid feathers are a textbook thing which are often omitted - again they don't serve much purpose other than stopping the weights dinging each other. But they create a problem when they become detached and can jam up the works no end.
I've always worked in oldish buildings so hard mortar is not common which makes removal of an an old window a lot easier. Lime mortar is more breathable which helps with the longevity of older joinery.
NB proper lime mortar is traditional slaked lime plus sand etc which can be bought in bags wet mixed ready for use. It's not the familiar mix of cement, sand, hydrated dry lime.

cheers
Jacob

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Post by dirtydeeds » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:00 pm

jacob

i dont know where you work but here in london south of the thames and out into kent wedges are not / were not used in these areas, the oldest frame i worked on was 250 years old, the youngest about 30 years old but the majority are in the 100 to 150 years old

all are hung from the horns of the inner cheek nailed to the inner timber lintol, most frames are fixed in place with a weak type of plaster mix bulked out with wood shavings and sawdust.


box backs do serve a very important purpose, they are a structural member of the frame, boxes without backs flex and move

the parting slips are not "just a text book thing" and their purpose IS NOT to stop the weights dinging. they have a far more important job, they stop the weights getting hung up on each other

and when the parting slips have rotted out they do get hung up

scotland is the only area of the country where parting slips are ommitted from the consturction, scottish sashes have wider parting beads (13mm not 8mm) mainly because of more severe weather, so the weights are further apart in the box

scottish weights have conical tops to stop the weights getting hung up, if it was just a case of dinging they wouldnt have conical tops

the only area im aware of where there are not backs to the boxes is pimlico but here the splayed inner cheeks of the building are used as a structural part of the box

some buildings in kensigton have slatted backs but they are still a structural part of the box

all modern (box sash) frames have backs and all (to my knowledge have) parting slips

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:12 pm

jacob

i dont know where you work but here in london south of the thames and out into kent wedges are not / were not used in these areas, the oldest frame i worked on was 250 years old, the youngest about 30 years old but the majority are in the 100 to 150 years old

all are hung from the horns of the inner cheek nailed to the inner timber lintol, most frames are fixed in place with a weak type of plaster mix bulked out with wood shavings and sawdust.


box backs do serve a very important purpose, they are a structural member of the frame, boxes without backs flex and move

the parting slips are not "just a text book thing" and their purpose IS NOT to stop the weights dinging. they have a far more important job, they stop the weights getting hung up on each other

and when the parting slips have rotted out they do get hung up

scotland is the only area of the country where parting slips are ommitted from the consturction, scottish sashes have wider parting beads (13mm not 8mm) mainly because of more severe weather, so the weights are further apart in the box

scottish weights have conical tops to stop the weights getting hung up, if it was just a case of dinging they wouldnt have conical tops

the only area im aware of where there are not backs to the boxes is pimlico but here the splayed inner cheeks of the building are used as a structural part of the box

some buildings in kensigton have slatted backs but they are still a structural part of the box

all modern (box sash) frames have backs and all (to my knowledge have) parting slips
Interesting. I've done 100s of sashes all over the midlands and also in Ireland. Average age about 150 yrs. They were all wedged without exception. Non were "hung" with nails. Do you mean by "horns of inner cheeks" the top end of the inside lining?
Box back linings I've encountered have always been a bit flimsy - just rough sawn 1/4" scrap, which often has come loose and blocked the weight movement, and they are often omitted altogether. Without them makes a sash much easier to fit - the inner linings are left off until after fitting the frame and so are not easily joined to the box back lining if present. NB this is good tip for fitting sashes - leave off the inner linings until last, you can then scribe them to fit the masonry and make the whole thing a good fit
"Parting slip" here is called "mid-feather" and is not at all common. I've met a few when they have come detached and I've had to extract them to free the weights - which work OK or better without them. As you say - they must have rounded ends, but if the right size and vertical then they don't touch. Or if they are that close then a mid-feather creates friction and wears out - which is why they fail, but after a long time.
Parting "bead" comes in all sizes from 6 to 12 mm. praps 5/16" most common.
Most of the "correct" text book details seem to get used in better quality later windows circa 1900 but by then they were just going out of fashion altogether. Also get pocket pieces in the middle of the pulley stile with the parting bead going through. A difficult and pointless detail IMHO.
Some of the most interesting ones I did were about 1810 and in Co Mayo in a big house. they had all sorts of original, functional but unusual details - such as a reduced cill only half the width of a conventional one i.e. they left off the front edge which is most prone to rot. The front edge of the bottom sash rail projected infront of the front of the cill IYSWIM, so weathering the whole thing from top to bottom.
If I'd lived there they would have been just about renovatable, but not possible at a distance so were made back here and taken over.

cheers
Jacob

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Post by jfc » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:01 pm

jacob

i dont know where you work but here in london south of the thames and out into kent wedges are not / were not used in these areas,
Yes they where . I've lost count of how many sashes i have refurbed and replaced in and around London . They all have had wedges holding them in .

I have a theory that the nails in the head where a temp measure by the fitters while they wedged the sash in place as nearly all the windows i have removed the nails have rusted through if any atall .

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:50 pm

Glad to hear it's not just me and the wedges. Was beginning to wonder if I'd been hallucinating over the last 25 years. (I was a bit but that's another story :o )
Perhaps dirty d hasn't seen too many wedges cos he does repairs in situ?
I've never worked much south of Derby, perhaps there is a north south divide in sash designs. It'd be south of Leicester I guess - or some other god forsaken southern 'ole ::) ;D

cheers
Jacob

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Post by dirtydeeds » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:59 pm

good job i use galvanised screws ;) foam and clamp them in place while the foam goes off

is there any need to scribe, you generally fit architrave round the windows

the other thing is there is 2 to 3 inches play both sides of the box which would make for very wide inner cheeks

yes i call the inner and outer linings cheeks

there could be something in doing repairs insitu and not seeing wedges

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Post by mrgrimsdale » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:33 pm

snip
is there any need to scribe, you generally fit architrave round the windows
snip
Most of mine were in stone buildings with wide reveals. So the linings would butt up to the masonry, then you'd get plaster or panelled linings or even great constructions of internal shutters. Architraves on sashes in brickwork where the sash inside lining is flush with the wall, or sometimes a bit of lining and then an architrave.
The benefit of wedges for removal is that once you have chipped away plaster and removed window boards you can often loosen the wedges by a bit of tapping and/or pull them out with pliers - at which point the whole window can crash easily to the floor without any effort on one's part except for dodging out of the way :o
This is usually accompanied by a mushroom cloud of 150yr accumulation of fine dust, soot, birds/rats nests, squirrels' hoards, lost hamster corpses, hibernating butterflies and wasps, spiders, dead beetles etc

cheers
Jacob

dirtydeeds
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Post by dirtydeeds » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:35 pm

thick stone walls explains a lot of the differences in our techniques and approaches

id love to work on such a building because the work is so much more complicated

i love doing work nobody else will attempt







for that experience ill even use wedges ;)

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