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Working sash windows


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ElgaKoster

I was just wondering...has anybody ever made working sash windows? I would love to make some for my Cape Dutch house, any ideas and tips on how to do it will be welcome. Only the bottom sash needs to move up, in these houses the top sash was fixed with shutters beneath it in front of the bottom sash for privacy. In the photo you can see the measured drawing of the side section through the window showing the shutter as well.

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Wm. R. Robertson

I have done it and am getting ready to do it again. To save a lot of time I use castings for the sash, a inside and a outside sandwiched around a piece of 1 mm glass. I have a friend do the castings.... It has been 30 years since we made the last bunch so this will be interesting.

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ElgaKoster

Maybe my question wasn't that clear, making the sash itself I am not too worried about, I would like the window to be able to stay up in the open position, I know they use weights and pulleys in real life, I was just wondering how to to accomplish that easily in mini.

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Wm. R. Robertson

Ah that..... Easy, just cheat a little. Find a junk watch spring from an old pocket watch, this will be a thin ribbon of hardened blued steel about 2 mm wide. To cut it you snap it with a pair of pliers. When your window is done cut two slots at angles facing each other about 2/3 rds the length of the sash, these are on the edge that fits into the track..... Put a length of the spring between the two slots with just enough flexing out to keep tension on the window. It will help to figure out how much clearance you need before you build the whole thing, I would guess about 1 mm, you should need springs only on one side.

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WeekendMiniaturist

I was wondering if you wanted to miniaturize the weights and pulleys for your dutch house.  Having weights and pulleys in my real house, i can tell you they are not all that great.... they require maintenance, and require the previous home owner doesn't paint the ropes....(WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!)  I think the "ASK this old house" series (it is one of the spinoffs from This Old House) a PBS Television show, had an episode where they re-furbished the ropes so the windows would work again; I'm not that ambitious in real life or miniature, but I applaud you if you attempt.  I have not had any problems with miniature mfg double hung windows staying open from houseworks, carson, miniature home, etc, etc... The Lawbre windows are the most beautiful cast resin windows I have ever seen; however they are fixed double hungs...I would love to have the Lawbre cast windows actually work....perhaps silly for a person to be dreaming of casting her own windows with a vacuum chamber...?

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ElgaKoster

Thank you Bill, I somehow thought you would have a trick up your sleeve for this, that sounds like a great solution and not too difficult to make.

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Bill Hudson

If you can not find watch springs use fine, steel piano wire. I cut a line down one side of my frame with an X-acto knife and then turn the blade over and scribe the cut deeper and wider. Cut the wire a bit longer and bow it and place both ends in the slot. The wire should barely show through. Just enough to hold the sash.

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jackofalltrades

If you don't mind cast resin in place of real wood why not cast the various parts separately.   Sides of the window frame, tops and bottoms, sashes, etc.  It's pretty straightforward.

 

You could use a vacuum chamber but if you do a lot of resin casting you might want to build a very simple spincaster that uses RTV rubber discs.   It uses centrifugal force to push the resin in the mold cavity which forces the air out.  A couple of plywood discs with bolts to hold them together with one mounted to a shaft or motor with speed control.  It's a pretty simple concept and works well with fast setting resin like Alumilite or similar.    I used to make silicone rubber molds for spincasting resin and the only concern was designing gating/runners that allow the air to escape to the center of the mold.   I pre-heated the mold with a infrared heat lamp, sprayed the mold with para-film release agent,  put the mold in the machine, spun at about 200rpm, poured in the resin,   let run for about 10 minutes, stop and remove the parts from the mold and repeat the process. 

 

If most of your parts are too big to fit in a disc type mold you could mount a rectangular mold in something like an investment casting machine.  Lots of ways to speed up the process.

 

I'd opt for wood windows and set up to mill the various parts assembly line fashion.   Cast or machined from solder lead window weights would work fine but might need a latch to keep the window closed.   The watch spring idea sounds a bit simpler and would allow for finer adjustment of the sash in the frame.   Bill's piano wire idea sounds good also since many hobby shops sell K&S .009" piano wire.   I wonder if "styrene springs" made from very thin plastic might work?

 

Jack

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I have no plans to make double hung windows in the foreseeable future, but I'm "Following" this topic because any tidbits I can gather about resin casting are interesting to me. 

 

Plus, I'm avidly following all progress on Elga's Cape Dutch house. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi ElgaKoster

I have made sash windows that work up or down not with weight and cord but just a sliding fit that allows the sash to stay where you put it ,I hope I can put a couple of photo's in to show what I mean.

 

The window is from a model scratch built  Ledge Caravan  1/8th scale,  a side window and rear window ,

hope this helps .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ElgaKoster

I guess if I understand you right Aussieddie, you made yours tight enough not to slip down, I have sash windows in my Victorian house and over time they started to slide down, we have very dry mild winters and fairly wet summers that does influence the moisture content of wood quite a lot.

You are welcome to just call me Elga :-)

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Thank you Elga,   yes they don't seem to stick with the change of weather ,I took the photos two days ago although the photo says

2009 The date was never altered, and it was not my camera until recently, never thought about changing it, to be honest I don't know how.

 

 

Eddie

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Elga,

I've just read your topic here. 

Last year I've made sash-windows for my Dutch Canal house with real glass in it and they seem to stay in place if you open them.

But for pictures you can also put a tiny piece of painted wood on 1 side of the window where it slides.

Jeffry

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Peter Jensen

I imagine that Elga has already found a solution to this old post that I apparently missed last December.  And either of the Bill's solutions are great.  For completeness, since this problem will surely be faced by many others in the future, I want to add that this was a problem that was faced in full sized windows over the course of history and has spawned many proposed solutions that would be historically appropriate in miniatures.  The two most common were a spring loaded pin fitted in a hole in the sash stile that served to both lock the lower sash in a hole drilled in the sash track at the lowered position and also in holes drilled at appropriate positions at various openings.  This was commonly seen the larger windows of the late Victorian period or in cheaper construction where sash weights were not used.  The second was a small cam operated plate screwed to the sash stile and clamping it to the window side stop.  These were made in either cast iron or brass and were popular because they could clamp the window at any desired opening and because they could be installed on the window with a broken sash cord without removing the small window moldings that had a tendency to break when removal was attempted after many coats of paint.  Most of my catalogs are packed away but I will try to photograph examples if somebody doesn't beat me to it first.

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ElgaKoster

Any more info will be more than welcome, I am still a far way from building the windows. When I was in Cape Town a week ago visiting one of the Cape Dutch houses I noticed that they put a bolt on one of the windows, I assume that the sash cords were broken, unfortunately there isn't a lot of funds to restore most of these places which I find rather sad.

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  • 1 year later...

I love this forum! I missed this discussion when it was new, but found it very easily.  I will be trying this soon and appreciate any/all suggestions.  

Like Elga, I only need the bottom sash to work.  I am building a bedroom from a Louisiana plantation home, Aragon.  The windows would have been oversized, about 11 feet tall and in a 6 panes over 9 panes configuration. The bottom sash would have opened from the floor level to allow access onto the large porches. Before I start, I want to take a field trip to measure an actual window, but I have spent a while doing the research and practicing techniques. Lucky for me I have several options to see real working windows of this size and style. So far, my research shows a technique like Elga last reported of a bolt-like piece or other devised stop slid into a hole in the jamb.

Any other window making suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Martha

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WeekendMiniaturist

Martha, I'm glad that you continue working on your dream build...  as it relates to the subject of windows, perhaps you can post a link to the Aragon Plantation... The Google results gave me a lot of options.  What does the exterior moldings and trims look like on the window. 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tamra, Aragon Plantation is long gone, lost to fire.  It was built about 1850 with a Greek Revival style facade.  I'm attaching a picture from the later 1800's.  The molding is not clear and I think there are exterior shutters that hide the trim anyway.  I'm also attaching a more recent and much better picture of the same kind of window from Madewood, another local plantation that is still open as a Bed and Breakfast. It was built in 1845 and is also a Greek Revival style. These are the windows I am basing my windows on. I have made some progress on the smaller window: window jamb is assembled, rails and styles for sashes are milled - now to try to cut micro glass!

Martha in Louisiana

Madewood_house.jpeg

Aragon Plantation.jpeg

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WeekendMiniaturist

Martha a plantation build will be very enjoyable, you can get a really large PP carpet in those rooms, too... How tall are you making the windows, they look like the almost go from floor to ceiling?  Oh, I went up to re-read the post they look like 6 over 9 panes and 11'... that is one big window!    Our windows in our old house are 24" from  the ceiling and 20" off the floor to the window sill, and I think we have 9-1/2' ceilings on the main floor.  I can imagine plantation homes with 14' ceilings.... would be lovely to watch your build.

Neither photo will allow me to enlarge the photos so I can count the window panes above and below.  I was just thinking of the micro glass situation - you must have ordered some?  I found some thin glass in the scrap booking section a while back, and they would work for glass between the window muttins... someone posted in CAMP that one of the dollar stores had really thin glass in the window frames, but I never went to find it.

Will you add the other rooms eventually to make an entire home?  I liked our friend Lisa's approach to this - very smart! 

(Lisa has posted photos in the forum on her home build...)

 

 

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