Our kitchen is occupying the space in the house that appears to have been a kitchen for the better part of 250 years. That is great in that it has character and has probably seen more meals than a McDonalds at rush hour, BUT styles and equipment change with the times and our new kitchen necessitated some window reconfiguring. When we got the house the windows in this section were screwed and painted shut with cracked panes, missing glazing putty (the stuff that holds the windows in the mullions/muntins) and the lower panes were blocked by cabinets and looked in under the sink. We considered what felt like hundreds of different layout options but in the end realized that we just couldn't give up the counter space, but we also didn't like standing on the porch and looking through the lower window panes under the cabinets. With that decision made we started looking for replacement windows, custom windows, side sliders, the list goes on and on but none of them looked right. We are talking about original windows in one of the oldest parts of the house, we just couldn't muddle it with something that wasn't true to the original. That is when Carol had a brilliant epiphany - why not cut the original window down to a shorter height and rebuild the bottom sill? This epiphany could only come from someone with immense confidence in their millwork skills.... and that is what she did. We have the original window but at a counter height with the original hinges and some of the original glass... can't get much truer to the heart of the house than that!
At some point we will get around to doing a proper post on old window repair/rebuilding, there actually aren't many good sources of info out there on it. For now we will just go over the basics. The individual panes are held in place by metal points and glazing putty. Over time the putty dries out and the points work loose and the panes get loose, or sometimes they get broken by forgetting to open the window before throwing something out (another story). The re-glazing process takes several weeks because the putty has to dry and then be painted and then set aside to cure, so that is pretty much what happened over the winter months, those same winter months we had a lovely sheet of plastic for a window. While Carol re-worked the window and glazed it we had to frame in a new window sill. This is not terribly hard as long as you build with water in mind. Make sure there are no places for it to collect and make sure the shape allows the water to be shed. Carol again put her millwork skills to use by salvaging old wood framing from other demolished areas in the house to create the new window sill and frame; it matches the other windows perfectly. She even managed to find a piece that was stamped with one of the original owner's initials and used it for the window sill, it is really a great little touch of history.
With all that heavy lifting done it was just a matter of waiting for a sunny day, then all three of us pulled the old window out of its winter storage corner, found some good new screws, and put the window in. A true testament to Carol's skills in that it worked on the first try and swings perfectly. Now for some new hardware and it will be good to go for another hundred years.