Sunday, June 9, 2013

Double-hung, Double-Paned Windows From Scratch - Part 3

In part 1, we build our window sashes.  In part 2, we put the glass panes in our window sashes.  Hopefully we've ended up with something that looks like this:

Now it's time to build the window frame.  Referring back to the exploded parts diagram, we can see that the frame consists of parts D and E (the quantities are wrong, we only need 2 of each, not 4).  Start by attaching one of the 1"x6" sides (part D) - carefully apply a tiny bit of wood glue to the side of the upper window sash, and lay the sash FACE DOWN on your work surface.  Position the 1"x6" frame side against the sash so that the top of the frame is flush with the top of the sash.

Allow the glue to dry for a few minutes, then repeat the process for the other side of the frame.

After again allowing for some drying time, apply a tiny bit of glue to the top of the window sash and then attach the top of the window frame (part E).

Carefully, after the glue has dried for a few minutes, flip the entire assembly over.  Apply a bit of glue to the sides of the lower window sash, and place it FACE UP on the work surface.  Gently slide the lower sash into the window frame.  The top board of the lower sash should be slightly underneath the bottom board of the upper sash.  If you wish to model an open window, just slide the lower sash farther beneath the upper sash, as I've done here.

Did you notice the crack in the glass in the lower window sash?  That's what happens when you aren't careful - this is real glass after all, and it will break under stress.  Rather than discard this window as a "mistake", I'll use it and claim that I was modeling a cracked window.  Modeler's license at work.

The final step in assembling our window is to install the bottom frame board (part E).

That's it - you've just built, completely from scratch, a framed double-hung window, ready to be installed in a structure.  Is it tedious work?  Yep, you bet.  Is it time-consuming?  Yep, sure is.  Is it worth it?  In my opinion, there's no question.  Not only is the look authentic and impossible to match using pre-built windows, but it also gives me the satisfaction of being able to say "I built the whole thing from scratch!".

Alright, now let's put this window to use.  I already have a structure underway, and I have one of the walls prepped and ready for windows.  I've already measured and cut my window openings, all I need to do is to make some minor adjustments using a file.

You want the windows to fit snug - not so tight that you have to force them into the openings, risking damage, and not so loosely that you have gaps around the frames.  Don't be too aggressive with the file.  Here's my completed wall segment with all five windows installed - the white one is the one that we just built, the others were built beforehand.

That pretty much wraps up the how-to for building windows.  I know this isn't new to some people, but I couldn't find much information on how to build windows from scratch - I had to figure it out on my own.  Hopefully somebody out there will find this helpful in their own modeling efforts.

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