The following is excerpted from “Doormaking and Window-Making,” by anonymous.
As the Industrial Revolution mechanized the jobs of the joiner – building doors and windows by hand – one anonymous joiner watched the traditional skills disappear and decided to do something about it. That joiner wrote two short illustrated booklets that explained how to build doors and windows by hand. And what was most unusual about the booklets is that they focused on the basics of construction, from layout to joinery to construction – for both doors and windows.
Plenty of books exist on building windows and doors, but most of them assume you have had a seven-year apprenticeship and don’t need to know the basic skills of the house joiner. Or the doors and windows these books describe are impossibly complex or ornamental.
“Doormaking and Window-Making” starts you off at the beginning, with simple tools and simple assemblies; then it moves you step-by-step into the more complex doors and windows.
Every step in the layout and construction process is shown with handmade line drawings and clear text. The booklets are written from a voice of authority – someone who has clearly done this for a long time.
During the last 100 years, most of these booklets disappeared. Booklets don’t survive as well as books. And so we were thrilled when we were approached by joiner Richard Arnold in England, who presented us with a copy of each booklet to scan and reproduce for a book.
VENETIAN, or, as they are sometimes called, marginal light, windows are very fashionable at the present time, having in a great measure replaced the bay window, although the same style is sometimes adapted to the bay, instead of the usual upside-down sliding sashes. These windows are, as may be gathered from the drawings, of the casement variety, and the sashes should be made to open outwards if possible, this being the better way to keep out the wet.
In Fig. 108 we show one of these windows fitted with four lights or casements, the two outside ones being hinged to the jambs, and the two middle ones, which fold together, being hinged in like manner to the mullions. The casements in this frame run from sill to head, the upper part being divided into small squares as shown, which is the simplest way of forming an artistic window.
Another method of filling in these window frames is shown in Fig. 110, which shows the filling between the mullions. Here the casements are in two heights, the bottom pair being hinged in the ordinary way to the mullions ; the other, which is wide enough to fill the whole space, is hinged at the top, and opens outwards, the bottom rail of this fitting to the others either as section, Figs. 111 or 112. The former is the simplest way and least liable to get out of order, but the latter is best as regards the stopping out of wind and water; but when the window has been repainted a few times it is apt to work badly.
Windows made in this way are very convenient, as it is possible to have the top only open, or the whole, as required. The folding casements in either style of window come together with a rebated joint, as Fig. 113.
Suitable sections for head and sill for these frames are shown in Fig. 114, the grooves in the latter being to form a cement key under, and to take the window board. It will also be noticed that the bevel of the sill finishes with a hollow, forming an undercut rebate ; this should not be omitted, owing to its use as a water trap.