With the old render removed, now is the time to repair any windows that need it.
I'll start by removing the architraves and jamb extensions, clean out all the debris I find in the frame-to-stone gap. I'll retrieve the sash counter-weights as well if they've come loose.
Visible below the inside timber stool is the white block of limestone that is part of the exterior sill and showing all the chiselling marks. I'm thinking this should be left exposed.
At least two windows have majorish problems:
In one window the timber interior stool appears to have dropped a little at one end but, in fact, the whole frame is slightly lopsided and appears to have been this way forever. So this will be fixed but it will require removing and disassembling the entire window including the frame.
On another, which is the only one with a working sash, and the one I'm starting on, there's a gap on the outside of about 15mm at the top left corner between the limestone block cement filler and the frame (photo 41 below shows the corner with gap closed). It was fixed by cleaning out the gap, pushing the top frame corner out as far as possible and re-wedging the frame tight (photo 46 below).
This has exposed another problem with that window. The timber lintel is skewed and protrudes out from the plane of the wall at one end by 15mm (right-hand side of lintel photo 42 below). It has always been this way and the architrave head moulding had been cut (chopped) to taper at the back to allow for it. Simply putting things back as they were will cause problems when I re-render the wall flat, so I've added 15mm width to the side and head jamb extension to bring the architrave out 15mm.
I used strips of wood cut from one of the skirting boards that I removed from another room (photo 43 below) and is the same cedar as the existing jamb extensions. I will then attach a tapered strip of timber to the lintel to give the architrave moulding a flat backstop against the lintel and an edge and seal to render to. The stool has enough depth to take the extra 15mm width on the jamb extensions and will not look any different to the other window stools when finished. Once the wall is rendered there will be no gaps and the lintel will be rendered over and not be seen.
1. There was a 15mm gap in this top corner between the masonry fillet and the green frame. Simply cleaning out the gap, some pushing and re-wedging inside has reduced this to 1mm
2. Architrave and jamb extensions removed. Three wedges can be seen at the top between the frame and lintel and one wedge is used midway up the right side between the frame and the timber nailing block embedded in the wall
3. The jamb extensions made 15mm wider using strips of an old skirting board. Glued, sanded and filled waiting for final sand and re-installation
While cleaning out behind the window jamb extensions another artifact emerged from the rubble in the form of an ink pen. There have always been gaps at the top of the window between the architrave and the wall and this pen has landed in the gap somehow, perhaps thrown there.
4. Another artifact: Ink pen, with fragment of ink well found earlier
Now that I have a solution for the wonky lintel-to-trim interface for the first window and have prepared its jamb extensions for reinstallation, the next job before is to remove both sash, clean them up and open up the access to the counter weights, which have been painted over. The top sash had been painted closed and nailed in position through the horns.
Images 5 and 7 show the multitude of different colours used on the window.
5. Lower sash removed. The upper sash was nailed through the horns and partially painted shut. Required a hacksaw blade between the sash and the frame to cut the nails
6. Both sash removed. A tapered timber strip has been fixed to the bottom edge of the crooked lintel to give the architrave a parallel edge to sit against. The new wall render will cover the lintel and come level with the back of the architrave all around
7. Counter weight access panels removed. The panels (shown on the sill) where so badly mangled by previous maintenance I've decided to make new ones
8. New access panels made from a section of the old skirting board removed from the other rooms because it's the same timber (cedar) and age, made entirely on the table saw
9. A simple innovation I've added this time. Removing the parting bead next time will reveal a hole where a hooked implement such as an Allen key can be inserted to pull the panel out without damaging it
10. The four pulleys with paint removed and cleaned up. The wheel and housing look like they are steel and cast iron respectively and only the face plate is cast brass. The screws are steel also
11. The pulleys are quite heavily built and look like they'll last forever. Because of the potential for oil to collect dust and clog I'm using graphite as the axle lubricant. It doesn't look like they've ever been oiled
12. Paint heat stripped from all surfaces. The slot for the parting bead is a bit mangled also. I want to try to fill and shape the slot edges before new beads go in
13. Sanded, filled, primed and first top coat with new counter-weight access panel temporarily fitted
14. New 8x19mm beads cut from a length of original skirting board out of the "den" and shaped, making enough for five or six windows. Standard beads today are different dimensions at 9mm thick and about 4mm less in height
15. First top coat. I decided to use oil-based full-gloss paint. I'm leaving at least a week between all coats, including the undercoat
The entire frame will be painted before the sash, beading etc. are replaced. Both sash will be painted before reinstalling. The sliding faces of the sash will be left bare.
16. After initial attempt at chemical paint stripping
17. Original exterior colour
18. Original interior colour
The easiest and quickest method I found to remove the old glazing putty is to use a multi-tool oscillating saw. Tried a heat gun but cracked too much glass, not from the heat but from the pressure applied removing the softened putty due to uneven support behind the glass where putty had fallen out.
These sash are in very good condition except for one muntin section where the fillet between the glazing rabbets was so damaged there was mostly only putty and no wood.
I decided to cut the whole fillet away back to a flat face, cut a 5mm deep centre slot using a sharp knife and glue a new strip of matching wood to create a new fillet. This worked very well - photos 19 to 21 below.
19. Damaged muntin
20. Repaired muntin - the fillet is a new strip of wood glued into a slot cut into the muntin, shown primed ready for glazing
21. A reverse angle of the repaired muntin (left of centre) after glazing. This was my first attempt at glazing and I discovered how sensitive linseed oil putty is to temperature
22. Upper sash re-glazed and repainted
23. Lower sash re-glazed and repainted. Replaced a total of four panes
24. Upper sash - interior side
25. Lower sash - interior side
Reassembling the [first] repaired window
All beads were painted separately prior to reassembly.
New sash cords were installed during reassembly following a method that feeds the cord through all four pulleys before cutting to length.
Starting by feeding the cord in through the outer left pulley down to the weight access opening then across to the next pulley in the order: left outer, right outer, left inner, right inner. Then start cutting the cord to length and attaching the weights for the outer sash: left then right. Pull the weights up as far they will go and clamp the cords at the pulleys then attach the cords to the sash as it sits vertically on the sill. There should be minimal slack in the cord. Once fixed, carefully remove the clamps and gently let the weights take any slack. Position the sash in place and check that it has full travel up and down.
At this point the parting beads normally go in but because I have a single access panel on each side that the parting bead runs through I needed to attach the inner weights and fit the access panel before I could replace the side parting beads. Now attach the cords to the inner sash and check for travel.
Finally reattach the interior staff beading.
This method of threading the cord requires attaching a weighted "mouse" only once to the cord at the start and therefore saves some time. In my case I had removed all four pulleys and was able to drop the cord down and out the weight access opening without the "mouse". I also have a single access opening for the two weights on each side and no internal parting slip panel to separate the weights, which simplifies things but just needed to be sure the cords weren't wrapping around each other inside the weights pocket.
26. Cord threaded through all pulleys before cutting to length saves time.
27. Outer sash with cords and weights attached. In this position the weights will be hanging just below the pulleys at the top.
28. Outer sash in its normal closed position.
29. Inner weights and sash reinstalled. Access panels and parting beads reinstalled.
30. Window fully functional again - the new parting beads fitted perfectly in their slots and did not need nailing.
31. With widened jamb extensions reinstalled. Originally these were nailed to the box frame but this time I've used hidden screws. These and the stool will be painted white leaving the staff beading "Wheat" as a pin-stripe border.
32. Externally the colour is all "Wheat" - to match the windows from the extension renovation.
33. Lever catch installed. Not all catches are designed to pull the meeting bars together to close the gap but that is its job.
34. Lever catch installed - oblique view.
Both sash were a very loose fit so draught seals were fitted to the running edges of both sash before final positioning (Raven RP61 - woven pile strip). The seals were fitted toward the outside (of the cords) on the upper sash and toward the inside (of the cords) on the lower sash to avoid having them run across the weights access panel on each side, only because I felt it might otherwise increase wear and reduce the effective life of the seals.
The colour scheme for the windows is "Wheat" on the exterior and white inside but I've decided to leave some parts "Wheat" even though they are visible from inside. They would normally be painted half and half depending on which parts are visible with the windows closed. When the time comes to repaint I disassemble the window again because it's easier overall and the end result looks better.
The jamb extensions originally had been nailed to the box frame so this time I've used screws that will be hidden once the archtrave goes on. This is consistent with the philosophy of allowing for easy disassembly and reassembly during maintenance. Starting with the head jamb extension I used an auger bit to drill two deep pocket holes (about 120mm) at the interior-facing edge through the width of the panel (about 150mm) to take a screw the rest of the way into the top of the box frame. The side panels were then fitted and screwed at about 45 degrees through the interior-facing edge at the top into the head jamb extension and at the bottom to the stool. The architrave will be brad nailed to these edges to hide the screws and the holes.
Similarly, I've used screws instead of nails to fix the frame wedges in place. With expansion and contraction cycles and vibration etc the wedges can come loose and the frame can shift, as it did in the past to open up a 15mm gap (image 1). However, rather than screw through the wedges, all that is needed is to drive a course-threaded screw between the wedge and the lintel as in the images below. If they do come loose it will be possible to tighten the wedges and the screws without removing the jamb extensions, just remove the architrave.
35. Screws driven between the wedges and lintel hopefully prevent the wedges from shifting.
36. A screw driven between the wedge and the embedded wood nailing block prevents the wedge from slipping.
37. New mortar fillet between the sills.
Compare to image 15.
38. On the back of one of the jamb extensions is the name of the building contractor (Samuel Cox) to whom the completed window was delivered.
One of the window jamb extensions from bedroom two was also labeled with this name and I expect every window has the same.
So imagine a cart arriving at the site loaded with eight completed windows (frames, trim and sash). The openings in the stone walls was complete and the frames made to measure but they still needed to be shaped roughly in places to fit some stone protrusions, probably using a hatchet or chisel.