(First published Sept, 2020)
How is singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat like an Artisan Army working on windows??
Singers who know and understand not only the song, but music in general, can sing in rounds by joining in at designated intervals to create a chorus and symphony of sound that enhances the music and the quality of the performance.
Artisans who know and understand the key concepts of Archetypal Window Craft that we teach at the Wood Window Museum, can work the same way, joining in at designated intervals to combine their movements in a way that enhances both the project execution and quality of the performance.
Singing a song in rounds works like this. A person known as the Leader begins the song and sets the tempo, perhaps singing the verse in its entirety and starting over. A second person, known as a Follower, joins the song at precisely the right moment to add to the song’s complexity and beauty.
Then a third person, another Follower, joins at a designated time to add to the song, and then another, and another, as many is as practical to create a beautiful chorus until which time the Leader falls out to conclude the performance, followed by the others falling out in the same sequence they joined until the song comes to an artful and beautiful close.
In the same way, a small Army of Artisans can perform in rounds working on a house full of Archetypal Windows. There is a Artisan Leader who begins the performance at the first window by updating the operating mechanisms in the Mechanical Makeover.
The Leader, usually a carpenter, (perhaps with a helper) then scrubs the original exterior paint finish from the frames, and makes any necessary wood repairs before sealing the frame with oil based primer. The Leader then moves to the next window. To understand more about what it means to scrub a window frame, watch this embedded video about Window Frame Prep.
As the Leader moves to the next window, the First Follower joins the performance (Reader, please understand we are not speaking or hierarchy, but order of occurence). This Follower’s job is Prep and Paint, performing all the steps of blemish control to create a proper foundation for the frame’s protective paint coating .Once the foundation is adequately prepared, the Artisan paints the frame so that it performs as is intended, shedding water to the outside of the house, and is polished to aesthetic perfection, both inside and out.
Finishing the second window, the Leader moves on to the third window to perform the mechanics, frame scrub and seal, the initial Follower moves to the second window to perform the prep and paint, and the Final Follower joins the performance at the first window to anchor and begin closing out the sequence of rounds.
The Final Follower is tasked to Track and Tune the window. Tracking is reinstalling the sash into the window tracks, followed by tuning and tightening everything so that the window functions optimally. The Artisan weatherstrips, adjusts window stops, turns the screws on the hardware, touches up the paint and puts a final clean on the glass.
This efficiently mobilized team of three Artisans cycles through all the windows performing their rounds until the Leader arrives at and completes the final Mechanical Upgrade, Frame Scrub and Seal cycle on the last window. Completing this final performance, the Leader joins the first Follower to assist in what is left of the Prep and Paint cycle until that round comes to an end. Second round completed, the first two Artisans jump in to help the Final Follower close out the project until all cycles are complete.
When vocalists who know the song and how to sing in rounds get together and perform such a tune as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, the result can be not only entertaining, but mysteriously magical. It’s the same way to see Artisans work together with synergy. The work seems to develop a life all its own that plays out like a small orchestra. Of course, such synergy takes competence as well as practice, as would any symphonic endeavor.
In the same way that many voices and many hands can turn a performance into a masterpiece, One person singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and one person working through a house full of archetypal wood windows can be long, boring and grueling to endure. Both are much better with people. That said, in the same way that one person singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat very well will always sound better than a group of American Idol rejects that nobody had the heart to let them know they couldn’t sing, nothing can mess up a house full of windows faster than a bunch of untrained amateurs bent of flipping houses. Better to have one well trained Artisan take forever and do it right than have weekend warrior real estate wannabees ruin it overnight.
Did you know that upgrading an archetypal window’s mechanics and a complete frame overhaul can happen at the same time? We have a First Friday of the Month window workshop coming up where you could learn that and a whole lot more. We love teaching people the best and most practical window craft methods available, along with demonstrating all the tools and materials necessary to get the job done yourself. We’d be honored to be your mentors for all your historic window rebuilding needs, from the most basic mechanics to the most advanced sash making.
Let us know how we can help you. Contact us at WoodWindowMuseum.com
Sign up for our next First Friday workshop here.