THE WOOD WINDOW RESTORATION PROCESS
In a day when conservation more important than ever too many historic wood windows are thrown into landfills and replaced with inferior replacement windows than is necessary. The windows on many historic buildings are an important aspect of the architectural character of those buildings. Their design, craftsmanship, or other qualities may make them worthy of preservation. This is self-evident for ornamental windows, but it can be equally true for warehouses or factories where the windows may be the most dominant visual element of an otherwise plain building.Evaluating the architectural or historical significance of wood windows is the first step in planning for wood window treatments, and a general understanding of the function and history of wood windows is vital to making a proper evaluation of an existing historic structure. Here is a sample of what can be done to restore historic wood windows:
Old Wood Window Sash before Restoration by CWM Custom Wood Windows:
CWM Custom Wood Windows was asked to restore the wood windows at The Maritime Museum in New York City. We were asked if it was possible to restore these sash and the leaded glass. The answer was: Yes.
Old wood sash with glass removed prior to refurbishment and repair.
The first step in the wood sash restoration was to remove the paint and examine what was left underneath. In almost all cases there is more than meets the eye.
Original windows in older buildings were constructed from first growth wood that if cared for will last for centuries. Taking out an old original historic wood window, throwing it in a landfill and replacing it with a new wood windows made from wood that grows as fast as straw is unnecessary, wasteful and diminishes the character of the building or home.
The old wood sash is inspected for missing pieces and in this example, the entire corner was missing. This corner was replaced with recycled wood. It is called a Dutchman repair. The new wood is fitted and joined.
The old wood sash is sound but damaged with missing wood. Keep in mind, this is a hundred year old sash cut and made from a tree that was standing for at least three hundred years.
The old wood sash in this photo also shows a missing section. This area is cleaned up and we use some recycled wood to make and fit apart into the sash that is being restored.
This is a close up of the Dutchman corner on the old wood sash which could have been thrown away. The lighter colored wood on the upper right is the repaired corner. The sash is then sanded and treated and some additional treatments will be made. The result of the bare wood repaired sash follows:
The reapaired wood sash in this picture came from a building over one hundred years old. The wood in the sash came from a first growth pine three that was over three hundred years old. Most of these sash end in landfills.
Glass sorted to be dismantled, cleaned and reassembled using new lead came.
In this case of the wood restoration process, we recycled the old glass and re- glazed them with new lead came. The old lead was recycled. The wood sash are waiting to be putty glazed and then painted. The result is:
The completed sash restoration will last longer than the original. Still thinking about throwing away your old windows?
Here is where the restored window was installed: in the Battery Maritime Building in New York City.