Window work
Pictures in the top part of this page are
the basement windows for the 1828
Below those are the reproduction sash
for the 1784 Edward Dromgoole house
in process.
Joinery is faithful, but modern
machinery is used where possible to
save time.
Fortunately, there were a
few pieces of this original
basement window left in
this one opening to provide
a plan for reproduction.  
The others were missing
completely.
Below are pictures of the process of making exact reproductions of the 18th
Century windows for the 1784 Edward Dromgoole house.  Fortunately, there
were a couple of the originals left in good enough condition to see how they
were made.  Click on any picture for a larger version.
A supplier of antique Heart Pine was found who
had an accumulation of years worth of short
pieces that were "too good to throw away, but not
normally anything that anyone would need".  This
wood is normally in the Unobtainium category.  It's
all fine grained, straight grained, mostly
quarter-sawn pieces with no knots or old nail
holes. The majority of it from beams that were
milled in 1830.
Whiteside Machine to match the
profile exactly of the original sash.  
This is not the normal procedure for
making sash.  The new ones will be
mortised and tenoned together
exactly as the old ones were-not
simply glued together like modern
sash.  A custom top was made for
each 3-1/2 hp router from synthetic
bowling alley flooring.
Each machine was set up with a hold
down fence with pickup for dust
collection, and an air intake with a PVC
riser.  Dust collection was complete with
no more than a Shop Vac.  Pieces
were sized to a thousandth of an inch, so
a hold down to fit exactly worked just right
without the normal feather board pressure
fingers.
Normally, the cope is cut first on  
larger pieces before the muntins
are milled to profile, because
tearout on the sides of the cut for
a cope is a problem.  This
making Boxwood carriers so the
cope could be cut last allowing
complete fine control on Muntin
lengths.  Boxwood is about 2-1/2
times as hard as Hard Maple.  
One of the custom cutters is a
"negative" just to make these
carriers.
To the left are rails, stiles, and
muntins ready for the next
steps of cutting shoulders,
tenons, mortises, and rabbeting
the backs of the muntins.  
Muntin faces are cut with a full
profile cutter, so they would fit
perfectly in the carriers.
ends of siding boards just before they go into place.
The surviving sash that are left
were under the porch roof to the
right of the chimney.  The porch
roof is long gone, but it protected
the old sash long enough to leave
us enough remnants so that we
can know how they were built.
Shoulder cuts are made on
the Radial Arm Saw.
Tenon cheeks are cut on the
table saw with a tenoning jig.
Tenons are cut a couple of
thousandths more than the size
of the mortise cutter.  The
Hollow Chisel Mortiser fuzzes
the inside of the mortises in the
old pine, but after a few rubs
with a Japanese wood file inside
the mortise, the extra couple of
thousandths makes a tight fit.  
Contrary to the normal way, we
cut the cope last.  In this picture,
the cope hasn't been cut yet.  
This was the first joint to see if a
couple of thousandths was the
right number. It was a good
guess.  The mortise & tenons
are fitted tightly, but not too
tight to be able to get them back
apart with light persuasion.
This is the most complete
original sash left.  
make to the original design is a
structural one.  All sizes and
shapes are to the original.  The all
the way through. This left very little
wood at this
intersection and may well have
played a part in limiting the life of
the originals.  Of the remaining
sash, this one was the only one that
didn't have a break here. We are
making these mortises only deep
enough to accept the stub tenon of
each of the short horizontal
muntins, with tenons and mortises
a bit narrower to leave more wood
across the bar, and more strength
in the bars.  Notice the mortise in
the bar
does not go all the way through,
and leaves an 1/8" shoulder along
the
back length of the mortise, leaving
the bar full width there-different
than the originals.
tenon needs a little hand work to
fit just right.  The old pine
doesn't mill as cleanly as
hardwood, or what softwood so
allowances have to be made to
leave a little dressing by hand.
With six router tops each set up for one
task, the tenoning jig and
tablesaw dedicated to tenon cheeks,
radial saw dedicated to shoulder cuts,
and two mortising machines, it's
easiest to just cut the rail tenons to
width by hand while sitting at the bench
fitting tenons. With a sharp backsaw,the
width can be cut right without needing
adjustment.  
The stub tenon on the stile end of
muntins is full width of the 3/8"
profile, since the stile has plenty
tenons do have a little more
length than the tenons where the
muntins join the bars.  This is
how the originals were.
Muntin into stile fit.
Ready for assembly.
No glue or metal
fasteners needed,
just like the
originals, and very
strong.

The bottom rail is
left wide on
purpose to be
fitted to each
irregular window
sill.  Most bottom
rails will finish
about an inch
narrower than
seen here.
hand made window glass
Sash Window Early History
Another view of the
Another view of the
new design for the  
mortises.  Only one
of the remaining
sash
had a single long,
vertical muntin that
was not broken at
this joint.  The one
complete mortise in
this picture has it's
mate in that bar
broken.
All parts of the
reproduction windows
match so closely, that
parts are interchangeable
between the new and old
windows. New parts were
made to repair some old
sash using the setup for
making the new ones
without any modifications.
All pictures on this
page are thumbnails.  
You can click on any
picture to get a larger,
more detailed view.
History of Window Glass
Pegs are easily knocked
out of the old, or new,
windows so that any part
can be replaced.  This is
something that can't be
done with modern
windows.
A second, small
mortising machine
was set up to cut the
newly designed
mortises in the
mullions.
As many power tools as there are
needed for this setup, the build still
requires each of these hand tools.
Dedicated rail coping sled
with boxwood backup to the
sash profile.
Outer muntins need to be
individually fitted.  With
the hard, Heart Pine, you
cannot cut them a little
long for an interference fit
like can be done with
White Pine, or soft woods
as are so commonly used
to make sash.  Only by
cutting the cope last is
this possible with Heart
Pine.
Prices for sash made
from the Perfection
grade Heart Pine
quarter-sawn with fine
grain are:

4 light      $675
6 light        725
9 light        750

Custom made set of 5
carbide cutters to match
a different profile run
around $1400.

Sash made from an
easier to work with and
cheaper, but not
necessarily authentic
replacement wood, such
as White Pine, or Walnut
would be about half of
these prices.

In this part of the
country, all 18th and
early 19th Century sash
are made from, what we
call today, Heart Pine.