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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Window Repair 101. Part Two.

Now that the linseed oil has done its work I am ready to fill the gaping hole on the bottom of one window and re-build the corner of another. The latter window had been removed from the dining room at some point and used as a window in a basement partition. It had a corner removed so that it could accomodate some copper plumbing pipe.

The first step was to cut some wood so that it could be used to fill the bulk of each area to be repaired. I cut some pieces on our antiquated table saw and put them in place. Since I don't have clamps I used a screw to hold the one piece on the corner after gluing it. I could have probably got the wood to be a perfect fit but I am much better with a paint brush than a table saw so it didn't have to be perfect. Bondo would do the rest! Here are the "Before Bondo" pictures.

Bondo is a two part epoxy used for auto body repairs. I have used it on numerous occassions to repair woodwork around this place. It hardens very quickly, within 20 minutes and it can be sanded after it hardens. When you mix it, it is quite runny. Not like putty at all. So you have to apply it to your surface in several layers in order to get a smooth finish, sanding between each application. The first application can be quite thick but don't even try to make it smooth. Here is a picture of the rotted edge after the first application of Bondo.

This was then sanded with a palm sander and 100 grit paper. It sands easily and quickly. When it was sanded flush with the wood there were a few dips in the surface and at the edges. A second batch of putty was mixed and applied with a putty knife over the depressions. With each application you need less and less Bondo. The end result was this after 4 applications and sandings.

Once these are painted or faux finished and covered with shellac you would never notice the repair unless you were to strip the window again. How likely is that?


At 1/13/2006 5:57 AM, Blogger Ms. P in Jackson said...

Oh, I have sooo many questions! First I'd like to say that looks fantastic! You make it look so easy. Linseed oil. Do you soak the entire window sash with the oil? Okay, maybe I need to go back to your Part 1. Sanding. My aunt says that the bondo/epoxy gets as hard as a rock and isn't sandable. How long do you have to sand it nice and smooth? Perfect edges/corners. How do you get them so beautifully straight? By not buying new sashes I can just imagine how much money is saved. Like I said in my earlier post, I dread having chunks of putty fall off/out when the window is lifted.

I look forward to seeing how you finish the window with paint and shellac.

At 1/13/2006 8:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Gary - another window question for you. Do you have sash weights in your windows? I have them and have replaced the ropes on a few of them but am curious if there is a suitable replacement mechanism for them so the space where the weights are can be replaced with insulation to conserve heat. I have used bondo too - works great!

At 1/13/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger Ms. P in Jackson said...

I thought I'd jump in here to add my 2 cents. Merideth over at HOUSEMADE http://housemade.blogspot.com/2005/07/ropes-pulleys.html had a house that had the sash weight pockets but never used them and she needed a way to hold her windows up. She went to this site http://www.windowrenu.com/main/default.asp and found they sell a kit for old double-hung windows that uses tension strips to hold the windows up thereby eliminating the need for the weights. I'm sure Window Renu isn't the only source for this stuff but it's a start.

At 1/13/2006 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice walkthrough. Thanks for the tips. I'll be tackling my first window restoration before long and this will be a great reference.

At 1/13/2006 4:08 PM, Blogger amanda said...

Patricia W.- Bondo is definitely sand-able. We used it to repair interior trim in the townhouse that the dog chewed b4 we bought the nightmare. You'd never know anything happened to it when we were done. I am not trying to be rude in any way, but please don't take everything your aunt tells you as the absolute last word. Her input should be just part of the process in determining what to do. I used to be like that when my dad would tell me something, but experience has taught me that doing your own research and trying out your own experiments will pay off in the long run. Good luck with your window repair.

At 1/14/2006 12:01 AM, Blogger Gary said...

There are "spring" sashes that are nailed to the sides of the jamb that will hold a window open. If you are worried about heat loss then be sure to caulk around your window frame and molding. To eliminate draughts eminating from the sash pulleys you can pull the cord down 2 inches and insert a piece of sponge foam at the hole. Release the cord and the foam will be drawn into the hole. I saw that on "This Old House" a while ago.
How many windows has your aunt repaired herself? The linseed oil/turpentine mixture is brushed on with a paint brush and can be applied to the whole window. Sand the window first because the linseed oil will clog sandpaper after it has been applied. With a palm sander the time taken to sand each surface smooth was no more than a couple of minutes, usually less.

At 9/09/2007 9:22 PM, Blogger Olde Windows said...

Nice job on the repair. Bondo can be used but there are some other products designed for restoration or wood. One of those is Abatron. I have used this on dozens of sash repairs in my restoration business with great success. beacuse it is a 2 part resin product, you do not have to apply in layers. It is sandable, planable and cures in 24 hours. They also have a Liquid Epoxy product to apply to rotted wood which consolidates the wood fibers by penetrating the wood and makes a good bond to the Epoxy paste to complete the repair.

At 1/23/2011 11:44 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Quite an ugly window problem there, Gary, but you sure restored it beautifully! I wish I had your DIY skills. Clumsiness runs in the family, so I stay away from those projects.

When we had a similar window dilemma that took a toll on the house's temperature, we sought for the experts in replacement windows (LA-based). They made me select which window I would like, and I chose the Los Angeles replacement windows that had temperature-regulating properties. That actually cut our energy expenditures!

At 10/24/2012 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wood has to be primered with a penetrating epoxy before putting 'bondo'. The stuff doesn't bond to linseed nor any other oil. Doesn't bond to wood either, especially rotten wood. 'bondo' is just a filler. Your windows won't last more than a year, unless you don't use them.

At 10/24/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I love anonymous comments from "experts" who think they know everything. These windows are in their sixth year of functioning as windows thank you very much! I am glad you didn't find this site six years ago. You might have frightened me into believing that I was an underachiever ....

At 3/06/2014 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common misconception- Bondo is NOT a 2-part epoxy. It is a 2-part polyester resin. Much different in chemical make-up. Polyesters contain liquid solvents that evaporate during the hardening process, causing shrinkage and allowing for moisture penetration. As "Olde Windows" said earlier, Abatron's products are designed for this type of repair. Give them a try if you haven't already.


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