Sash cords - metal or rope?

graywings123July 8, 2011

What do you prefer to use for replacement sash cords? I see the ads for the long-lasting metal chains, but if the rope has held for 90 years, I'm wondering whether metal is worth the investment.

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brickeyee

Chains use slightly different pulleys.

A rope pulley is a smooth groove, while chain pulleys originally had a groove in the surface to help guide the chain.

Flat chain is not as dependent on the groove.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 9:38AM
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badgergrrl

Chains are noisier as well.
Go with cotton or waxed cotton.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 10:41AM
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arlosmom

Hi graywings,

We're in the process of replacing our sash cords with chain...14 done, 10 to go. We have a carpenter doing it for us, and he fits rehabbing our windows in between his other jobs so the progress has been slow.

So far, we've been really happy with the sash chains. I don't notice them being loud, and the windows open and close smoothly and effortlessly. Our pulleys are just ordinary pulleys that previously had cotton cord.

I'm attaching an old thread that I started when we were thinking about getting started. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: previous post

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 7:37AM
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graywings123

Arlosmom - thanks for linking that thread. I am really undecided about cord vs chain. Do you recall which of the sash chains you purchased from Kilian?

I have been internet shopping around for the waxed cotton cord that badgergrrl mentioned. It seems to be sold by British dealers. I'm not seeing any US sites that sell it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kilian sash chains

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:26AM
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arlosmom

We got the #25 solid bronze. Killian has been great to deal with.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 10:00AM
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sacto_diane

I'm in the cord camp and have switched from 100% cotton to Spot Cord. Still cotton but with a nylon core. Some of the local windows restoration folks sold me on spot cord. The nylon core gives the cord a longer lifespan but you get the cotton look/feel.

Diane

Here is a link that might be useful: Spot Cord

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I replaced all of mine, 23, with regular nylon rope. It will outlast my children and then some.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 5:43AM
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brickeyee

"Still cotton but with a nylon core."

This is the best stuff.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 11:02AM
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columbusguy1

Cords with just nylon, I've read, will stretch over time, something you definitely don't want in sash weights!

Go with the traditional cotton or 'spot cord'. I've not tried chains, but I don't see why a special pulley would be needed?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Carol_from_ny

Instead of chains or rope I have a few windows with thinly cut sheeting of metal. At least the metal kept the nutjob who lived here before us from CUTTING the rope sashes which she did in almost every single room!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:28PM
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columbusguy1

Carol, I'd wager the thin metal strips are 'spring balances' an entirely different system. Not seen them in action, but I think you can still get replacements if you need them.

At least with those type, you can insulate the weight pockets!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 7:54PM
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marcolo

I doubt those sash cords are actually 90 years old!

We replaced all the rope in our old place with flat brass chain. No problems with the pulleys, no noise, perfect function. In fact, I used to demonstrate raising and lowering my windows with my pinkie, just to shut up the replacement crowd.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:07PM
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brickeyee

"thin metal strips are 'spring balances'"

Pullman manufacturing still makes them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Balances that work

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:16AM
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antiquesilver

Regarding the above comment about nylon cord stretching, I used braided nylon cord about 20 years ago & haven't seen any evidence of stretching.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:27PM
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brickeyee

If you set the cord length correctly to start with it is going to take a LOT of stretch to cause a problem.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:42PM
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catperson

Our house was built in 1898 and has many of the original sash cords still intact, showing they can last longer than 90 years. I'm sure they are original to the house because there are some that are broken, so I believe none of them were replaced over the years. Almost everything was still intact in our house when we bought it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:19PM
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