Sash lies deep into joiner's territory. Sash making has long been a specialty trade in woodworking. A person who would think nothing of building his own home would still probably buy his windows readymade. Sash doors are used in furniture as well, and the principles for making them are the same.
Like a panel door, a basic window sash is a rectangular frame of four sticks: two vertical stiles and top and bottom rails. The space within the frame is divided into smaller rectangles by narrower muntins. The frame and the muntin have a shoulder called the glazing rabbet, planed into one side to take the glass
and the putty. The molding on the inside of the sticks reduces their visual obtrusiveness, but little of their strength.
Strength figures in another aspect of the window. Study a wooden window and you'll probably see that the vertical muntins are continuous and the horizontal ones are in segments. In sash doors, hung from hinges on one side, many choose to leave the horizontal muntins continuous and segment the verticals. In either case, the segmented muntin always gets made as one long piece, molded and tenoned, and gets sawn apart only as the final step before assembly. The most familiar molding for sash is also the inset quarter-round ovolo. I will describe making a four light sash with rails tenoned into the stiles. The upright muntin will be a single long piece, and the cross muntin will be cut into two sections before assembly.
As in panel doors, the molding adds some complexity to the tenons. Rather than two level shoulders, as on a common tenon, the tenons on molded sash sticks have shoulders at three different levels. If you look at the profile of the tenon, you see that it butts against the fillet above the ovolo, all around the ovolo, and against the glazing rabbet.
If you are making more than one window of a given size and pattern, make a pair of guide sticks for laying out both the vertical and horizontal pieces. The vertical guide stick holds measurements for the stiles along one edge and the upright muntins along the other edge. The process, then, is to lay out all the pieces while they are still square and unmolded. Cut all the mortises, but saw just the shoulders of the tenons. Then plane the moldings, finish the tenons, scribe the copings, and assemble the sash.
It starts with the wood. Saw and plane all of your stock to the finished rectangular sections, trying to orient the growth rings of the wood perpendicular to the major surfaces. This minimizes distortion and windows that stick in the summertime. Mark all of your pieces so that you can maintain them in the same up-and-down, left-and-right order in which you laid them out.
Set the points of your double-toothed mortising gauge to the width of the mortising chisel, perhaps 1/4 or 3/8 of an inch. This must also be equal to the width of the fillet or listel (the square shoulder) between the ovolo and the glazing rabbet. Adjust the fence of the mortising gauge according to the molding made by your sash ovolo plane. Gauge all the way around the interior edges of all pieces and on the outsides of the stiles where the mortises will come through.
Now set a single-tooth-marking gauge to the face width of the ovolo molding and run that line all around the faces of all interior edges. Reset the gauge to the width of the glazing rabbet and run that line all around the back faces. Better to have these gauge lines than to rely on the adjustments on your planes.
Mark all the mortise and tenon locations from the guide sticks, leaving extra length for horns on the stiles to strengthen the ends during mortising. Chop all the mortises and then saw only the shoulders of the tenons.
American pattern "stick and rabbet" planes cut both the molding and the glazing rabbet at the same time. British practice uses a sash molding plane to cut the decorative profile, and a sash fillister plane to cut the glazing rabbet. The
Begin by making guide sticks marked with the mortise lengths and tenon shoulders.
Begin by making guide sticks marked with the mortise lengths and tenon shoulders.
left: Set the muntin in the groove of the sticking board and plane the first ovolo to the gauged lines.
right: Flip the muntin and finish the second ovolo.
sash fillister differs from the ordinary fillister in that its guiding fence mounts on arms like on a plow plane to ride against the face side (the molded side) and lets the cutting body reach over and cut the other side. Fencing from the face side, the sash fillister throws any variation in stock thickness to the outside of the house. A plow plane can also cut the glazing rabbet, as can a plain fillister or a rabbet plane.
The stiles and rails of the sash are stout enough to mount in the vise or on the bench top for planing. First plane the rabbets to the gauge line, then plane the moldings as done earlier when making the panel doors. You will be planing up to the edge of the mortises and through the sawn shoulders of the tenons.
Muntins are too tipsy to just mount on the bench, and need a special cradle, a "sticking board," to hold them as you work. The sticking board has shoulders and grooves along its length to seat the muntin firmly for each of the four steps in planing. The lower shoulder of the sticking board holds the muntin in two positions as you work the glazing rabbet. The groove then holds the muntin as you plane the ovolo on both faces.
When all the pieces have been fully molded, saw the horizontal muntin into two pieces, right between the paired saw cuts made for the tenon shoulders. Keep track of their order and orientation so that they can go back together the same way. All that remains is to finish the tenons and assemble the sash. On the rabbeted sides you can just saw or split away the waste from the cheeks. On the molded sides, though, you scribe away enough of the ovolos on the tenoned pieces to fit exactly over the ovolos on the mortised pieces.
A miter begins the scribe. Using a template or a good eye to guide the paring chisel, slice off the corners of the tenon ovolos at 45 degrees. Now turn these mitered tenons sideways and undercut them by pushing in from both sides with a scribing gouge. On the broad tenons of the rails, you can slice off most of the molding on the mortised piece, leaving only a half inch or so of the ovolo toward the inside. The ovolo on the tenoned rail or muntin gets scribed back only as much as is necessary to house the little piece left on the mortise face — the same technique used earlier in making the frame and panel. Sash goes together
in much the same way as a panel door. There are more pieces to keep track of, but guide sticks and consistent moldings will make the work easier.
Easier has always been the object of the American inventor. The stick and rabbet plane combines the sash molding plane with a rabbet plane so both elements get cut at once. Since it is usually two planes held together by screws, you can insert spacer blocks to adjust the gap between the rabbet and the molding.
Another American device that attempts to stick sash molding into its ditty bag is the combination plane. More commonly known as the Stanley 45 or 55, these nickel-plated assemblies are more like a Civil War surgeon's kit than a plane. They come with a passel of interchangeable irons, including sash-molding, tonguing, grooving, beading, reeding and so forth. Because it uses skates instead of a proper sole to hold the wood down until it's cut, it makes a good plow plane, but a mediocre everything else.
Many workers use a 45 regularly, but only for grooving with the grain for mechanical joints. In a pinch, you can grind an iron to match an odd molding profile and mount it in a combination plane. A simple scratch stock, just a scraper filed to the wanted profile mounted in an L-shaped wooden block, will probably do a cleaner, albeit slower job. If you want fine moldings fast, you need molding planes, and there are plenty out there.
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There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.