New to woodworking (need help)

happycthulhuAugust 19, 2008

I've never done any wood working, unless you count shop class in the 7th grade and the picture frame I made that my mom just loved.

I've been tasked by the wife to build 29 wood storm windows for our old house and I need to find some how-to's on what the steps would be.

I've got a table saw and a router, a good hand saw and chisels.

Could you guys help point me in the right direction?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Might try getting a new wife that doesn't need 29 windows made. Ha

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 7:06PM
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Do you want to gain woodworking proficiency, or just "get R dun"?
Do you plan to move in a few years?
Are you averse to buying several expensive new tools, and have the shop space for them?
You could make passable storm windows with some 1x "pine" stock from the Borg, (HD) half lap joints, plexiglass retained by polyurethane sealant and a small moulding.
Or you could buy a joining tool (Festool Domino, or a hollow-chisel mortiser, or a kreg jig), get some weather-resistant wood that would cost a bit more in outlay and prep time, but last five times longer, and learn a bit more about custom woodworking.
The difference in building really good storms will show visibly in a few years when the ones built with inferior materials and joinery start to deteriorate.
I'm sure I sound like a snob; I'm not trying to do.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 8:04PM
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Take my wife....please! (haha)

I guess that I should have been a little more detailed.
I'm looking to make windows that will last a life time.
Not go the cheap and easy route.

My house is an 80 year old home in an historic district.
They will be one over one with 1/4 inch glass and weather stripping.
I need advice on the kind of wood I should use. The types of tools I need to get that I don't already have. And advice on the types of joinery that I should use to make them last.
They will be numbered to match a specific window as my windows are probably not quite square anymore after 80 years.
This will be a labor of love. Both the house and the wife.
Oh, and know me as Schag. I'm a snob too as you probably already know.
Purists have to stick together.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:23PM
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Another option is to use the BeadLock jig for the corner joints. I have both the starter and pro models and think the starter will work for you for just a few dollars (save the money you might have spent on a Domino :-) Use a type III PVA or epoxy on the joints.

As for wood, whatever is the standard "outdoor" wood in your part of the country, e.g., Cedar. I would make the frames and use a 3/8" rabbetting bit in a router to route out the glass channel.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beadlock starter.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Have them made at Adams Lumber. (If theyre still in business)
LOL, I used to work in LR.
In AR, you should be able to get cypress fairly easily. That's your best local wood that fits the bill for stability and weather resistance.
Nothing can beat a mortise & tenon joint for longevity. But they are also beyond the tool selection you have to work with.
I personally hate beadlock, but If you can master it better than I, it is a satisfactory joint; it's essentially a loose-tenon system that uses a jig to drill out the mortises with a brad-point bit, and loose tenons which are made in a beaded shape to fit the wavy mortises without further squaring up. You can buy ready-made beadlock tenon in strips, or buy a special router bit to make it yourself. The advantage would be making cypress beadlock rather than the beechwood(?) stuff that comes ready-made.
1/4" glass is plate glass! It's heavy. Do you mean 1/4" plexi?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 10:40PM
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I'd use cypress. It weathers well and can be painted easily.

I would also use pinned mortise and tenon joints----they can be glued and that joinery does not need glue when done right. Any joinery for exterior construction needing glue as the main strength factor can fail due to weather changes and handling(installing/removing/storing).

You will need a benchtop mortiser and bits(around $300-$400) for the mortises, the table saw for cutting stock to size and shaping the tenons, the router for profiling the decorative edge details, clamps for assembly, and a drill/bit for drilling the peg holes. You will also need some pegs made from the same wood as you use for the frames.

Be sure to prime---an oil based primer is tougher, IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Mortises can be easily cut with a drill bit and then cleaned up with a chisel. They can also be cut with the correct sized (or undersized) bit in the router. Look up 'mortise and tenon' online to get about one billion different ways to do it with the tools you already own.

The pinned m&t joint would probably be your best bet. If the glue can be a bear to fix, pegs you can just tap out and replace.

I would recommend getting a book or two out of your local library about woodworking. Also see if they have any with storm window plans.

Good luck with your project ;-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:15AM
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I went out to the library last night and picked up Working Windows and The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery.

I haven't gotten to read through them yet, but that and your advice should push me in the right direction.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 1:18PM
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I've been looking through that Joinery book and here's my next question.
Would a Bridal Joint be a good strong joint for the corners of the frame?
If so, would it be advisable to put a couple of wooden plugs all the way through the joint to strengthen the joint?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 12:56PM
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Bridle joint-- not bad, can be done nicely with just a table saw. Use a really good epoxy glue, and pin it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 5:16PM
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Great. I found an article on how to make a jig to help cut both sides of the joint.

I also think that I'll use the BeadLock jig for the cross member.

So, if I have this correct, I'll cut my bridal joints and use the BeadLock jig, put them all together and then use my router to make the channel for the glass.

That sound about right?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 7:41PM
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If you set the glass in a channel, you won't be able to replace broken glass. One side of the frame should be rabbeted to accept the glass, which should be held in place with retaining strips fastened with brads.

BTW, in case you didn't notice Casey's earlier comment, 1/4" glass is crazy heavy (and expensive). Standard window glass is fine.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 7:49PM
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Sorry, I meant rabbet instead of channel.
I still haven't decided on the glass thickness, or whether to get gray or bronze tinted glass yet, that's still far off.
I do know that I won't be using plexi though.

Should I put the frame together first before I cut the rabbets?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 7:54PM
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Just my 2 cents but I noticed a recommendation for cypress which I completely agree with provided it is a good grade of heart cypress. A good grade of heart cypress will last a lifetime properly maintained while fence grade cypress (more commonly available and has little heart) won't last from the installation of the first panel to the last, regadless of how well you maintain it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 5:54PM
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