Make wooden window frames

Some fundamentals to work wood

Safety : Learn from someone who knows what to do to get the right gesture, you need to be focused on your task and not let yourself be distracted, you need to organized and have noticed where are the emergency buttons to turn off the devices in cas of before you start, to work wood with your hands (and even with devices) never put your hands on the trajectory of the tool

Here are crudely described the steps and tools we have used to build the two frames for two sash windows :

A solid and stable work bench.

A screw-clamp with a board and a screw screwing into the work bench helps to attach the working piece of wood straight onto the work bench. Otherwise pneumatic clamps are really convenient and useful to attach several pieces in the right position and later one to clamp assemblies that were glued for drying.

We plan with a planer the wooden strips to obtain plane surfaces on the sides and we measure those using measuring blocks that enable quick verification of the thickness.

To cut along the length a good part of the strip we use a disc saw on a table which enables thanks to a guide on which is pushed the strip to cut the piece along its whole length.

A backsaw enables to cut the pieces of wood at a fixed angle and to repeat the operation until all the pieces are cut the same length. It is screwed onto the work bench to provide great stability and precision in the repetition.

The wooden strips are cut along the length with one side plane and at a 90 degrees angle at each end.

To connect the pieces of the frame together, we made tenons and mortises. Those are marked straight onto the piece thanks to a marking gauge, a precise tool that allows to draw parallel lines to an edge (there needs to be a very straight edge, thanks to the backsaw for example) and report those measures several times in a precise manner on several pieces in order to ensure a good fit between the tenon and the mortise.

Then thanks to handheld saws, we saw inside the lines for the mortise and outside the lines for the tenon in order to get a tight fit. To remove the last piece inside the future mortise, we use a small scroll saw.

We finish with the wood chisels to remove the excess and ensure that each internal surface of the mortise and that which are in contact on the tenon are well adjusted. We verify progressively with the wood chisel thanks to a sliding right angle or just a corner that all surfaces are plane to ensure a maximum of contact surface between the tenon and the mortise for a good adhesion.

Note : To realize a solid assembly that resist traction, one can use dovetail guides, trapeze type pattern fitted together that enable to create a very strong joint in one direction.

A ripper on a table is used to create the grooves within some strips of the window to enable the glass to fit there later.

The assembly is done once to verify that everything fits. If some pieces need to be planed, that is the moment.

Then each piece is varnished and then set to dry in order that a minimum of surface is touching the support. The varnish used here is 1/3 oil to protect from exterior conditions, 1/3 solvant and 1/3 linseed oil. For the pieces that would be inside, the varnish used would have been water based rather.

Each piece of the assembly is plastered with glue and quicly reassembled. The wood glue is particularly efficient on the length of boards glued together. Once the assembly is glued, it is held tight together with clamps in order to maintain it in place and under tension during drying.

Where necessary, there is a wood grater that enables quick corrections of several mm and even cm.

Brass screws are used where they will be visible because they are more beautiful and don’t rust. When there is a need to screw in the wood, think to pierce a hole before to avoid spliting the wood.

It fits, the frame is finished!

Some considerations regarding the wood

If you are working on green wood, then it is going to dry and has a risk of cracking. This isn’t necessarily an issue during the construction for example but if you are working on a beautiful piece of furniture, it may be better to take wood which is already dried up even if it is then harder to work on.

Count about 1 year of drying per slice of 25mm thick but it all depends on the drying conditions of course.

Cedar is an interesting wood because it resists insects and weather and smells good but is rather fragile.

The cherrywood is harder to work on but is more solid. However it is not insect resistant so fits better for interior furniture.

The white oak is a good wood for outside and works as well for furniture.

Thank you the Woodpecker!!

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