Category: Historic Restoration Carpentry


I was recently asked to remove and restore 2 wooden doors located at the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, MA. These doors are over 100 years old that had seen better days. The doors were covered in paint that hid some beautiful carvings. The fielded panels were cracked and there was damage to the bottom rails.

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The doors were removed and temporary doors were put in.

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After stripping off the many layers of paint the carvings were revealed.

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Because the carvings were so nice it was decided that they should not be covered again by paint.
The doors were put on a bench. The rotted sections were removed and replaced. the panels were removed and re glued.

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After the restoration process was complete the doors were stained a light stain to even out the color and a marine glaze was added to complete the process.

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The summer of 2014, I was rewarded the job of restoring the stained glass windows in a delightful little chapel in the Swampscott Cemetery, in Swampscott MA.

The Andrews Chapel circa 1923 .

Andrews Chapel Swampscott Cemetery

Andrews Chapel
Swampscott Cemetery

The chapel is now empty and is in need of some care. Althought the building is in good shape with a fairly new re- pointing and roof repair. The inside is in need of further restoration.

All of the stained glass was damaged by vandals.

Damage by rocks. A temporary plexi was put up to protect the window.

Damage by rocks.
A temporary plexi was put up to protect the window.

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A piece of plexi was cut and nailed to the outside of the frame to protect the windows from further dfamage. But this also traped dirt and moisture behind the plexi causing more damage to the frame.

The masons who repointed also forced morter behind the trim (supposedly to water proof the windows).

This caused moisture to be leached into the unpainted trim and frame work.

morter added around trim and temporary plexi caused more damage to trim and frame

morter added around trim and temporary plexi caused more damage to trim and frame

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All damaged wood was removed and new framing was made using Spanish Cedar (a decay resistant species).

All rotted sills were replaced with Spanish Cedar.

All wood was scraped, primed with oil based primer and painted. The paint color was the original color that was found when the doors were restored.

With the flat casing removed, loose mortar that was used as fill,  between the framework and the hollow stone cavity, was removed and spray foam was added to fill the void.

casing and frame painted all loose stone removed

casing and frame painted
all loose stone removed

Spray foam added to fill void

Spray foam added to fill void

casing replaced

casing replaced

cement added to fill void next to casing

cement added to fill void next to casing

All the stained glass windows and there sashes were taken to my studio.

All of the windows were rubbed to create a pattern. The windows were then reassembled on to this pattern.

All damaged glass was replaced with new glass that was as close a match that I could find.

The replacement glass was from the Kokomo Studios in Indiana. Altough the color was identical some of the opacity was different and the texture was also not identical.

All sashes were stripped, sanded, repaired and painted.

sashes were stripped, repaired, sanded and painted

sashes were stripped, repaired, sanded and painted

After all repairs were made to sash and window they were installed into the sashes and installed into the restored frame.IMG_2648 IMG_2653 IMG_2655

A vented Lexan Polycarbonate was added to the outside for protection.

This was a very satisfying project to work on.

This beautiful little chapel is on its way to becoming what it once was and what it was supposed to be, which was to offer comfort to those grieving.

I am currently restoring some windows at the Commanders Mansion in Watertown, MA.

The Commanders Mansion was built before the Civil War as  Commanding Officer’s Quarters. It is a stunning example of Victorian architecture. It is one of the highlights of the Watertown Arsenal site, and remains virtually unaltered after over 100 years’ residence by Watertown commanding officers. The three -story brick Bracketed style mansion, approached by way of the tree-lined Talcott Avenue  overlooks the Charles River. Its hipped roof is crested with a wooden balustrade, and chimneys of paneled brickwork add to the irregular silhouette characteristic of the period. A Victorian veranda surrounds part of the house and supporting the porch roof are delicate single and paired Corinthian cast-iron columns from which spring arches of lace-like ironwork. Paneled brick pilasters place emphasis at the corners and a series of brackets supports the heavy cornice.

 It is used today as a venue for Weddings.  Check out the website  www.commandersmansion.com.

There are 7 window in the attic that were in bad shape. On some window animals had gotten in to the attic and chewed the bottom rails and vertical muntins.

I use dutchman repairs and epoxy to repair the sashes.

Here is a great discussion on the value of replacing instead of restoring old wooden windows.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/windows/msg081252553975.html

There has been a lot of discussion if it is worth it to restore old windows or replace.  My expertise is restoring your old double hung or casement windows.

In many cases the old construction of your windows is far superior to windows today. You are also keeping the original character of your home.

By restoring the old to new condition with an addition of a storm ,either an interior or exterior,  you can greatly increase the weather efficiency for your home.

Contact me and I can tell you all about it.

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on restoration of the stained glass windows  at the Cutler Majestic theater.

stained glass restoration

Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston, MA

Cutler Majestic theater — date….