In Which There is a Sill

Hey there, it's been a while. Stuff has still been happening on the house, I just had a little thing I was busy with, plus it's summer which is construction season, so work is super busy. I'm not complaining; I still remember the summer of 2009 when I and 15 million of my colleagues were unemployed or underemployed.

Anyway, let's talk about the windowsills in the front two bedrooms, on the east side of the house.

One day I went to the house and the east window in the front bedroom looked like this:

Front bedroom window boarded up

I mean, I feel like this window has spent most of its time with us boarded up, so it kind of works for me. Woody had pulled out the sashes to work on the sill.

One thing that became clear to us when he took the sill apart was that at some point, there had been some wood in there holding the sill at an angle of about 12 degrees off the horizontal, and somebody somewhere had removed that wood. I know it was before our time because those sills were flat when we moved in.

The sills themselves were beveled so that the front and back sides were vertical when the sill sat at that angle, plus the sides of the window were cut to meet that angle, so it seemed pretty obvious. The key was to put that supporting wood back in so the sills sit at the correct angle once again.

Mocking up the sill end

Woody made some mockups of the ends of the sills to fit everything perfectly. The new wood for the sills is old-growth redwood salvaged from another building, big enough pieces to be really expensive and not something he wanted to experiment with.

The slope matches perfectly

Here you can see the slope of the sill matching the beveled end of the sash guide. Part of this was replaced during the sash replacement, and that will need to be cut to match the old slope, which works just fine.

New sill installed

I think the new sill looks pretty amazing, don't you?

The other exciting part of this is that every sill on this side of the house is a different size. Isn't that awesome! So each one of them is going to require the same tedious attention to detail and fitting because none of the work can be duplicated from window to window.

A perfect fit

And you can see that once it is sitting in the right place, at the right angle, it fits perfectly against the existing sash guides.

Pilasters disassembled

In the meantime, there's all this, which is a pile of the disassembled pilasters from the east side windows.


A lot of the wood on these pilasters is too rotted to be repaired, so they'll have to be replicated and replaced. Work like this is why this whole process is taking so long. Well, that and Woody's perfectionism, combined with a busy summer construction season that means that half his crew got better-paying jobs elsewhere.

Hopefully sometime in the next week or so we'll have some more exciting stuff to show you, but I'm not holding my breath.

posted by ayse on 06/23/18