Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Storm Windows Part 2

A few comments in my previous post require a bit of clarification and comment. Christopher over at Shaker Heights mentioned that he had seen others hang their storms from their basement ceiling to keep them safe. This is indeed a great idea, if you happen to have casement windows. Many houses of our vintage would have had wooden casement windows, hinged at the top. Of our storm windows, only ten are casement windows. Based on the lack of marks in the exterior window frames, I can say that we never had more than ten casement windows, although it is entirely possibly that more have been added over the years.

Building storm windows is going to be a bit of a learning experience. It wasn't too many years ago that a person could go down to their local lumberyard and have wooden storms made. Those days are gone now though. Now that big box stores have put most of the small, family owned lumberyards out of business, wooden storm windows are a specialty market.

When we lost our storm window last spring to rot, I put the pieces in the back of the car and took it to a local place that specializes in custom doors, paneling, milling and planing. It's a great place with gorgeous doors, wainscoting and fireplace mantels. But it turns out that they don't make windows. They referred me to a carpenter that they occasionally subcontract to.

I drove over to his business, which is located in a four stall garage in a residential part of town. Nobody was around so I stepped out of the car and walked into the garage, shouting hello as I went in. There were boards and sawdust everywhere. I recognized a lot of the boards - maple, oak, pine - but there were others I had no clue about. And they were stacked everywhere.

Nobody answered, so I kept walking in towards the smell of fresh cut wood and cigarette smoke. Just about the time I saw the Penthouse calendar with the pet of the month hanging on the wall, John came from around a corner and introduced himself.

We chatted for awhile and when I explained to him what I wanted, he came out to the car with me to take a look. After looking at it, it was clear he was hesitant to take the job, as he figured it would run $300 to $400 dollars and I could get an aluminum storm window at a big box retailer for a lot less than that. In his mind, it would just be a waste of money. He also didn't know anyone local who still made wooden storm windows. There was no market for it.

For $300 to $400 I should be able to get a good router, router bits and a router table. Combined with the table saw I recently received, I should have all the equipment I need to build storm windows. I'm inclined to use something like cedar as the wood, because it is rot resistant. I also need to ask a few glass places around here if I can get either double pane, Low-E glass inserts, or if I can get single pane Low-E glass. Then of course I'll need to do a mock up on some cheap pine, before I actually start.

Once I get the soffit repaired, the storm window is one of the next three projects. I've been stuck on the soffit project for the last few weeks, trying to figure out what to use to cut through the beadboard attached to the underside of the joists. Looks like I'm going to be purchasing a new tool soon.

1 comment:

garageguy said...

You might want to rethink using cedar for your storm windows. Cedar will not withstand the rigors of installaton and removal. Clear pine would be good.