Updated: Feb 22
Window making in 2021 is all but dead unless you are a big fat corporation. And their windows are designed to fail. And they make them so that they are almost impossible to copy. And the commercially available bits are off just enough so that they make you hate making windows. But me? I say screw you big window corporation! And screw your corporate shareholders.
I’ve broken the code! I don’t care if you are trying to keep the little guy out. I don’t care if you are trying to kill the individual artisans, worthy woodworkers and passionate painters. I’m gonna stand up and fight back. I’m going to do good work and teach others the same!
There was a time when every carpenter worth his salt had a sash plane in his tool kit.
There was a time when a person could cut down a tree, saw it into boards and assemble it into something useful. The carpenter would honor the tree’s sacrifice by putting the wood into the highest, long lasting use imaginable. The artisan didn’t make things to fail so some unwitting consumer could just go out and buy another one again, and again, and again.
That spirit is all but dead. In America the chances of finding a company like ours, are slim. You are four times as likely to encounter a tiger roaming freely downtown. With a tiger, at least you know you could go find one in a cage somewhere.
When I started Wood Window Makeover out of my detached concrete block garage at my 1925 bungalow in the historic Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, I kept my activity secret because I felt that if anyone saw what I saw, that working on old windows was an untapped market, someone would come in and try to take it all away. 15 years later, I realize now that, after being constantly surprised at how hard it is to even get someone to join me in working all the old windows, people competing with me wasn’t ever the issue. Nobody was doing the work because all the big window corporations had pushed all the little people out so they could keep the market all for themselves.
Realize with me, that just in my very small part of the country, that there are over 80,000 buildings with archetypal wood windows, built at the turn of the century. If each of those buildings average 20 per building, that’s 1,600,000 windows, just in the turn of the century housing stock. That’s a lot of profit for the big corporations. That’s a lot of work for the little guy. And it’s like that all over the country.
So I’d like to teach you how to make a window sash. I’d like you to help me fight back against the big window corporations by learning how to do this and passing it on. Pass it around as widely as you can so we can put the local artisan back on the map and build and Artisan Army.
The first thing you need to know about my sash making system is that I designed the entire set up to fit inside a 10 x 10 square. Remember that I started the business out of my garage and had limited space.
Second, I designed the set up to use easily obtainable tools, the kind you can easily find at the home stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Last of all, the secret is in the dedicated set up. I have dedicated set ups designed for milling, for making tenons, for making mortises, and for making the profiles. I’ll get into details about those set ups in future posts. Don’t want to overload anyone.
Make sure and comment and ask questions so I know what I could be clearer about or what I missed altogether.
Thanks everyone for reading and I look forward to sharing the best of what I have with you.