Rebuilding a Sash Window

This guidance is for the final stage in repairing a sash window which began with removing the sashes. You will fit new sash ropes, rehang the windows and refit the beading.

Fit New Sash Cords

You need a length of string and a weight such as a nail or a piece of lead, thin enough to pass through the pulley wheel and into the sash box. This 'mouse' is used to weight the new sash cord. Fix the mouse to the end of a 15-18cm length of string. Feed the mouse over the groove of the outer pulley wheel until it falls down behind the stile. Next, tie the new sash cord to the other end of the string, and pull this over the wheel, thread it down and out through the pocket opening. The mouse can now be removed.

Tie the sash cords to the top of the weights. Use either a flat-finish knot, or bind the loose end of cord so that no knot or lump can interfere with the action of the window.

Pull the weights up about 5cm from the bottom and partly nail through each cord into the pulley stile. This is to hold the weights temporarily in position. Next, cut each cord level with the pencil marks made earlier on the stile.

The outer sash should be positioned so that you can fit a cord into its groove. Line up the end of the cord with the pencil mark on the edge of the sash, fixing it with four or five clout nails, starting at this mark.

Once both cords have been fastened, the temporary nails can be taken out of the cords and stiles and the sash can be lifted into place. Test the sash operation by sliding it vertically.

Refit the parting bead.

Fit the weights for the inner sash in the same way except that these should be pulled up almost to the pulleys.

Replace the pockets, and lift back the inner sash. To ensure that the sash slides smoothly, put candle wax in the two channels and on the edges of both staff and parting beads.

Finally, refit the fixing bead.

Final Stage

Prime any exposed wood remaining. Punch in any nails and fill the holes.

Undercoat as needed and apply two top coats.

Refit fittings such as catches.