Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Installation problems

At last I have finished an installation of five fanlight windows in a posh Glasgow flat/apartment. The client wanted windows that reflected the time the building was constructed. This was during the full flowering of the Arts Nouveau.

There is a nice design in the fanlight above the door that is original to the flat, so I suggested this should be taken and adapted for all the fanlights around the central hall. The photo shows the existing design that I took to make "reproduction" windows.

All went well until it came to installing the windows. The facings on the openings ran from floor to the top of the fanlight. They were impractical to remove. So the spacing timbers had to be pried out of their location between the glass and the facings. Fortunately the glass could be sacrificed. It was truly horrible. I won't even consider putting a photograph up (not that I took one anyway). This then revealed that the size of the space was larger than allowed for by as much as 20mm in some cases.

The windows were manoeuvred into place by bending leads and panels. Then the windows needed extra strips of lead to keep them in place. Also because the spacing timbers had to be destroyed during the removal, I contracted a joiner to replace them. However he did not realise the importance of matching the spacing timbers to the lines of the facings.

The client called me back, because the panels must have slipped or something. In fact the panels were OK except for one which had genuinely slipped. In looking at the placings in the fanlights, I decided the best would be to remove the existing leaded windows, and make templates of the openings to enable me to remake the outside parts of each window. I got the joiner back to help take out the spacing timber.

Now I know how to do it much faster than before - destroy the timber with a chisel, rather than trying to pry it out. It always helps when you know your materials!

I took the templates on stiff card, and rebuilt the outer parts of the panels, using 16mm(5/16") lead came. This enabled me to bend the leaves of the top and bottom cames so the panels could slip into the opening through the facings. Then the effort was to straighten the flanges while in the opening. This is a two person job. One to hold the panel, the other to work the flanges. They all fitted.! One fitted so snugly that the bottom flanges had to be cut off. Now another firm of joiners is coming to fit a shaped spacer that will set off the windows very well.

No comments: