2020’s Ranch Chore: Window Triage

Elizabeth weeded out the hillside iris bed while I triaged the bedroom storm window.
The window shop is perfectly located (in the back yard under the tree and in earshot of the falls), but it needed to be a bit higher. 4 splits of firewood, two old corral panels, 6 screws.
This short little door to the ice-house Hendrixson-ed me again- so hard I clacked my teeth, so I came up with this hopeful little invention that hangs lower than the brim of my hat.
The oscillating tool cuts through the caulk seal, followed by removing 6 rusty drywall screws pinning it in place. Caulking the bottom seam has trapped moisture between the windows since forever (1980’s), mostly as perpetual steam on the glass.
Ranch-gross is always waiting. This collection of bug-yuck found entry from behind a tin can used to triage a rotted-out corner.
See the steam still misting the upper glass panel?
In 2015 I scraped and painted the windows after coming across the exact color in a return bin. In ranch-logic I used silicon caulk from painting the house the prior year as triage for the old glazing having fallen away. Ranch fixes like this can lead to future headaches- never use silicon to seal a window because it is just too good at its job. I got one pane out clean, but the second pane snapped.
Here we have a perfect little bit of ranch triage from a bygone era. A lid from a tin can cut to fit the corner with little nails hammered daintily and perfectly. Why was it necessary?
If the bottom of the window is sealed to the sill with, say, window putty and/or a bead of latex (that I dug out from the under the inside sash as well), moisture condenses between the windows from temperature variations inside vs outside the house and will lead to rot.
A window is held together with joinery only, allowing the wood to move with heat and cold. I begin the process of adding new wooden bones, drilling a few inches into good wood.
An oak dowel is the stainless steel hip of window reconstruction. The mortise-joint on the rail board has rotted as well- the tenon has atrophied to nothing.
Dry-fit.
A pure resin that soaks into the rot and hardens out has cured for two hours. During that time the sash was cleared of all the old paint and I added a secondary smaller dowel for stability. Wax paper separates the bottom rail from the inside lining-board, which will allow the window to shift as it is meant to. The dowels punch through the paper, and are wood-glued into place within the bottom rail and cut just past flush to the outside of the lining board. Most especially- the form wall: duct tape.
Bondo-time.
The green layer of fiber reinforced bondo is sanded down, and I added a wood-resin layer over the top as the detail layer.
Still need to sand this flush…the frame has drank in many layers of linseed solution and now will rest in the tool shed for three days.
Late Lunchtime!
All that moisture trapped between the windows for 40 years is extra reason to strip them down. Heat gun and scraper, then the 3M-pad orbital paint-eater, then linseed solution. A pro would remove the entire sash from the frame, but really? I’ll eventually remove and replace the window glazing as well, as it is dry and falling apart.
Getting down to wood is a long process.
A heat gun and a passel of scrapers and persistence.
80-90% fixes things. Trying for 100% is guarantee of ruin. As good as can be.
9 hours of futzing brings the triage a long way today.
Elizabeth saw the Oriels arrive yesterday, and snapped this while he was hidden in the top of the willows at day’s end.
Next morning, I pull the other storm window. An actual storm is due at noon, so I store the window in the tool shed and set about clearing the sash.
Morning sun with a cool breeze keeps me heating and scraping.
Linseed solution in multiple layers for both bays.
The plan is to make the R window operational top and bottom. If I can keep from breaking another window pane when freeing it from the silicon, I’ll have enough glass to fix that upper R broken pane (I brought one extra). The storm arrives at 11:48.
2 comments
  1. Karen Gerhart said:

    Operating windows?! Who will recognize this strange phenomena? In what distant time did it last occur?

  2. I could feel Dad cringing as I pulled off the kitchen storm windows- he told me NEVER to try it- and without my passel of power tools and utube vids I can see his point. The paint colors are a good timeline for when the windows last opened. Original paint was oil based- blue, then green, then red (which is uncle Bud), then Dad must have done the light green in the 80’s?- it is still lead based, as the dust sticks to everything, and I color matched it in 2014ish with acrylic. Did you do a layer too when you repainted the house? The windows look to have been painted shut with the green paint, or at least became difficult to operate. The red has mostly shown up on the storm windows where Bud scraped back to raw wood, and the oil paint stained the wood. I think they were painted shut with Bud, as the living room screen-door has no red layer, but the glass insert does. Also, I found the screens for the kitchen and their frames are in the original blue and green. So, 60 years since the windows opened? Maybe more…

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