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Exterior Restoration of South Section of 1913 Prairie Box House

View of house with vintage windows

By: Sam Packard

  • Removal of aluminum fascia covering original eves, and rebuilding of eves.
  • Removal of 24 aluminum storm windows and building of 24 traditional wooden storm windows based on research and the design of the 1 surviving storm window included with the house.
  • Rebuilding and weatherstripping the original upper and lower sashes on the 24 windows: paint removal, original glass use and sourcing of old glass to replace broken panes and glazing of glass.
  • Painting of exterior of stucco house, painting exterior window surfaces, and staining and varnishing of interior window surfaces.
  • Fabrication and installation of storm window standoffs.


Top – left to right: West facing 2nd story view of original glazing windows and aluminum storms, South facing 2nd story view of original glazing windows and aluminum storms, & South facing 1st story view of original glazing windows and aluminum storms.
Bottom -left to right: Southeast facing 1st and 2nd story view of original glazing windows, aluminum storms, and window air, Southeast facing 1st story view of original glazing windows, aluminum storms, and original air conditioning unit, & Southwest interior view of 2nd story sunroom view of original glazing windows, broken glass panes, wire molding, aluminum storms.


Top – left to right: After careful removal of glazing and glass, then paint with Speedheater, removal of bowed upper meeting rail and refabrication of replacement. On all sashes not already having it, bronze weatherstripping bent, grooved for and nailed in place for efficiency. Stack of completed sashes next to a window recently removed and ready to start work on.
Bottom – left to right: Slow oil primer hand brushed on after glazed window sets for a few days. Then two coats Sherwin-Williams latex exterior. Man-O-War spar Varnished sashes drying next to storm window wood seasoning.
Right – large photo: Penetrol and turpentine pretreatment of wood then glazing of an upper sash. Whiting then used to clean and remove oily residue off glass. I scoured the local used building materials place for a number of months to find old sashes to use the glass out of. I then have the glass cut at Lincoln Glass (or the local Ace Hardware for smaller pieces). We know each other very well at Lincoln Glass due to the number of trips I have taken there for their services. I have found I make a frustrating mess out of trying to cut glass myself.

Left to right: Rebuilt sashes temporarily installed and exterior paint removal, carpentry, wood pretreatment, priming, and painting of exterior. (Used Sarco putty on the banister project to seal nail holes). Rebuilt sashes temporarily installed and exterior paint removal, carpentry, wood pretreatment, priming, and painting of exterior. All ropes were replaced and window pockets vacuumed and covers reinstalled. Rebuilt sashes temporarily installed and exterior paint removal, carpentry, wood pretreatment, priming, and painting of exterior. (Used Sarco putty on the banister project to seal nail holes).

Top – left to right: Windows boarded, exterior paint removal, carpentry, wood pretreatment, priming, and painting of exterior. View from rented articulating crane. Windows boarded, exterior paint removal, carpentry, wood pretreatment, priming, and painting of exterior. Raided an neighborhood old house remodel dumpster filled with straight-grained, low knot studs with knob and tube wiring on it. Denailing of wood, jointing and planing to get wood close to the final dimension before final dimensioning for wood storm windows.
Bottom – left to right: Rails for one of the sets of 5 south facing storms, dimensioned (jointing and planing then table saw ripped) to 1-1/8” thick, 2-1/4” or 4-1/4” or 1 -1/2” wide depending on the part, then use of the sash shaper bit for glazing rabbet and moulding. Stile Mortises – Layout of all parts done at once using a knife and pencil to darken lines – Moldings are coped (not mitered), but this picture does not show a finished coped joint. Storm window checked for square, then pinned (no glue), and horns cut off and then hand planed and sanded before Penetrol pre treatment.

Left to right: Upper haunched mortise joint and storm window hardware. Meeting rail mortise joint.

Left to right: I’ve found it’s easier to fit the window to the jamb first, trimming the edges for fit, then hang with the hardware, and then do glazing and final paint work. Leaving about 3/32” all around the window if possible.

Left to right: Glazed storm window using as much of the glass out of the aluminum storm windows as possible to save on cost. Finding all the glass required for old-glass required for the number of storms being made would be out of the picture (It is ok with me that only the inner sashes have the original or old wavy glass, but not the storms). Storm in slow-oil primer.

Top – left to right: A neighbor down the street has storm window standoffs on their traditional storm windows, and they loaned me one to copy and then make – the short end closes the window and the long end stands the window off to let in air in the spring and when it’s nice out. I ordered 45 of these brackets to be made at a local metals fabrication place, and I bend the wire on the vise for the finished bracket. Standoff installed operating in closed position. Before “permanently” installing the inner sashes, bronze weatherstripping bent and nailed to the parting beads for efficiency.
Bottom – left to right: Upper storm windows installed and 3 of the east facing storm windows in stand-off position. Installed low-e glass on the 5 upper south-facing windows – original sash locks steel-wooled, Penetroled, and reinstalled for operation. Upper storm windows installed and 3 of the east facing storm windows in stand-off position – glazed in low-e glass on the 5 upper south-facing windows for efficiency and temperature in upper sun room.

Top – left to right: Rikon Mortising machine for the 3/8” storm window mortises. ca. 1930 Delta shaper with window sash shaper bit (molding and rabbet). Easel for sash and storm cleaning (using whiting), priming, and painting.
Bottom – left to right: For lead paint and paint removal, Speedheater Cobra, Proscraper, and a backpack HEPA seem to work pretty well on that task. Rebuilt 1970’s Rockwell planer for dimensioning the storm window stock. Rockwell Jointer for straightening and dimensioning storm wood.

Top – left to right: 3 parts Penetrol and 1 part turpentine to pretreat the wood before glazing glass in. Layout, marking, and fitting tools for storms. Rebuilt Rockwell 3HP Unisaw for dimensioning storm window stock.
Bottom – left to right: 4th bucket of Sarco Multi-Glaze type M used on all sashes and storms (and other exterior putty work) purchased from SRS Window Hardware. Point driver shoots 3/8” diamond shaped points to secure glass in place during glazing.

After – Finished Section

Top – left to right: South view of 2nd story and just installed 1st story storms. View of Southwest sunroom completed storms, first story storm, and uncompleted 2nd story aluminum storm on the docket for next summer’s saga. 1st floor storm windows installed, south banister, and completed porch floor and deck (not completely all installed by myself).
Bottom – left to right: Southeast view of sunrooms with installed storms and finished sashes. Front view of 1st and 2nd story sunrooms portion of house – thanks to John Leeke from Historic Homeworks for his personal guidance and books – the saga of the rest of the house continues next summer! 2nd story completed southwest view of sunroom’s rebuilt original sashes, and newly built storm windows.

Left to right: 2nd story completed view of sunroom rebuilt original sash, and newly built storm window. 2nd story view of completed east rebuilt original sashes, and newly built storm windows, and storm window hardware. 2nd story completed east view of sunroom’s rebuilt original sashes, and newly built storm windows.

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Appreciating the Beauty and Charm of Vintage Windows Through Restoration

By: Carlos Moo Koon Chean

My window restoration venture began earlier this fall after a $9k estimate from a new window manufacturer to replace all 16 windows in my 50-year old ranch house seemed a bit too much. This house was bought as an investment property and I figured that it wouldn’t make much sense to spend almost a year’s worth of rent just to replace the windows.

I contacted several handymen and their replies would always fall into one of two categories: either they didn’t work on this type project or they just didn’t want to spend that much time doing it. I realized that, even if I found a professional that would restore these windows for me, the price would also be prohibitive. If I wanted this restoration done, I would have to do it myself. All I wanted was to replace the old, dried out and cracked glazing in my old wooden windows and I imagined it would be an easy job. However, as I started this project, I soon came to the conclusion that it would take much longer than I thought. Below are the steps that were done for this project:

  1. Remove storm windows: since I was not going to remove the windows due to lack of time and skills, all storm windows had to be removed prior to starting this project. Smaller storm windows were being held by 9 screws and larger ones used 13 screws. I used a power screwdriver for the job. The challenge here is that I was working alone and, and my house is a raised ranch, so for some of the windows I had to use a 16-foot ladder and once all the screws were removed I had to be very careful as the only thing holding the storm window was the metal frame around it. I had to hold it with just one hand while using the other hand to hold on to the ladder. This step took about 15 minutes per window.

  2. Remove old glazing: in some areas the old putty would fall off just by staring at it, but everywhere else it was still attached. After trying several different tools, I decided to use a hammer and an old putty knife as a chisel. The right amount of force in the right spot was very efficient in scraping the dried putty out. Time: about 60 minutes per window.
  3. Sanding: With the old glazing out of the way, it was time to sand the sashes. The wood was darkened in some spots and it had a funky smell which indicated there was some mildew growth going on. From bare sanding sheets, to sanding blocks and even an electric sander, I’ve tried them all and the most efficient method was a multi-function oscillating tool with the sanding attachment, as its pointed shape was better fitted to sand each frame. I used mostly 80 or 120  grit sandpaper, but some areas required as low as 40 or 60 grit.  I also sanded the entire wood surface of each window, some of them were in really bad shape for being exposed to the harsh weather condition in North Carolina during all these years. This was the step where I broke most glass panes, as I might have been hitting the oscillating tool too hard. Anyway, at the end, I broke 15 panes out of 192. Not too bad I think. Time: about 60 minutes per window.
  4. Priming: I used one coat of primer. At first I tried with a 1” brush, but it was too messy. I used a small “Shur-Line” edger brush from Home Depot and it worked better. This tool has a small rectangular foam-type brush at the end. My mistake here is that I used Zinsser’s “Bull’s Eye” water-based primer instead of an oil-based primer. Not only the frames, but the whole windows were primed. Time: +/- 45 minutes.
  5. Glazing: this was the step that took me the longest. At the beginning, I had to figure out the best way to handle the putty knife and apply the putty. This was my first time doing this and I wasn’t sure how much force to apply or at which angle should the putty knife be. Fortunately, I used SARCO dual glazing which is a VERY forgiving product and it makes you feel you’ve been doing this for years. I tried to run the putty knife at a 20 degree angle in order to improve aesthetics and save on the amount of putty. By the 4th window I got the hang of it. I have to say that SARCO glazing is an outstanding product. Time: between 60-90 minutes per window.

  6. Curing: each window was labeled with the date as I finished glazing them, this would help me keep track of how long the glazing was curing for. I decided that I wanted to wait at least three weeks before I started painting.
  7. Sanding/Taping: after the glazing has cured and formed a skin, each window sash was lightly sanded again to remove excess glazing around the edges. It was then brushed to get rid of excess dust and painters tape was applied in each glass, leaving about a 2-3mm gap over all the perimeter of the glazing’s edge. Time: 60 minutes.
  8. Painting: each window was painted with “BEHR” oil-based semi-gloss enamel. The manufacturer advertises this paint as being UV and mildew-resistant. The paint was thinned in a 5:1 ratio and three coats were applied using a natural bristle brush. I waited for an interval of 16-20 hours between coats. There is some dripped paint in the glass that will be removed with a razor scraper. Time: 30 minutes each coat.

What started out to be something that needed to be done, evolved into a pleasant and rich experience where I could connect to my house and made me learn not only about the techniques involved in this restoration, but also taught me to appreciate the beauty and charm of vintage windows. Even small defects along the way, like missing wood splinters or dripped paint, just added more character to these old windows.

P.S.:  As the project isn’t yet finished till the deadline for entering this contest, the latest pictures that I submitted still show the painter’s tape attached to the windows.

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Window Hardware from SRS in Bach Woodcraft Window Restoration Project

Kin Schildbach shows off how he used SRS traditional wooden window hardware including our PBB 225 series ball bearing pulleys, American made sash chain, SL 01 forged brass sash locks, SLC 40 recessed sash lifts, and BS 16 stop bead adjusters. Used in concert, this elegant hardware allows 30-pound insulated glass sash to operate with one finger! First-rate work, Kin!

Before Photo

In Progress Photo

Completed Photos

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Restoring Double-Hung Sash Windows on a 1925 Craftsman House

I started restoring old double-hung sash windows on our 1925 Craftsman house. We bought our first home March 2015, in need of major renovation from pier and beam foundation work to all new utilities including electrical, plumbing, and central HVAC systems. With extra care taken to preserve as much original character and details such as original wainscoting, trim, wood lath and plaster walls, heart pine wood floors and of course original double-hung sash windows! I began the task of restoring the lower sash windows first, with only one large pane of glass to replace per sash versus the upper sash 12 pane windows.

With 11 double hung windows downstairs and 14 double hung windows upstairs, the project is quite large for a first-time window DIY-er. There are also the 13 double hung windows in the upstairs sunroom and just as many in the downstairs sunroom. Needless to say, there are a lot of windows in need of TLC. At this point, all lower sash windows have been refinished with new glass, putty, and paint not including the sunrooms. I began by scraping the sash windows of old paint, one coat of primer and two coats of paint with the new Sarco Glaze putty sealing the glass.

The end product is probably not quite 100% professional quality, but good enough for a DIY-er with a limited budget. Please find attached a few photos of the project, and I’ll just mention the house is a still a work in progress. There are many 12 pane upper sash windows to restore in the near future, with another batch or two of putty of course. Thanks for your time, it’s been a chore but a very rewarding learning process.


Before Photos – self-explanatory

Before Photo - Front of 1925 Craftsman House Before Photo - Front of 1925 Craftsman House

Before- Old Lower Sash Exterior view in need of Lower Rail work Before- Old Lower Sash with old Plexiglass pane

During Photo – This photo shows several lower sash frames scraped with a Proscraper. After a light sanding, I used liquid epoxy and wood epoxy to fill in and strengthen portions of the frame. Once the epoxy dried the frames were ready for one coat of oil-based primer.

During- Scraped Window Sash ready for Paint

During Photo – Sarco Glaze Putty being applied to lower sash frame once the new glass is set. The frame was prepped and primed with a coat of oil-based primer to get ready for the glass to set. After paint drying time, the glass is set in a bed of putty and the exterior putty seal is being applied. Once the putty set, I cleaned up the residue with a white powder and let the putty cure for several days to ready for two coats of paint.

During- New Glaze Putty

After Photos – self-explanatory

After- Photo of House Front View with Restored Lower Sash Windows After- Lower Sash with New Glass, Putty, and Paint

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Vintage Window SRS Hardware Sorting Process & Job Preparation

In this video, Chris Gustafson of Vintage Window Restoration demonstrates the well thought out and in-depth sorting process they’ve developed for their inventory of SRS Hardware to prevent job site confusion and missteps. These in-shop measures virtually eliminate costly errors and wasted trips. Their clever color coding protocol for tool identification is impressive as well! For more information and examples visit Vintage Window Restoration at their website