Build Window Transom
Home repair expert Henry Harrison helps a guest recreate a transom for her older house using an original transom as a pattern and using salvaged wood to better help match the original.
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On his elbow grease scale of one to four, Harrison gives this job a three.
Materials and Tools:
5-in-1 painter’s tool
large drill bit
1. Using a ladder and folding rule, climb up and measure all of the dimensions of the transom; length, width, height and position of the pinion holes for the hinge pins.
2. Trim any damage from the recycled lumber with a miter saw. Be sure to wear a dust mask and safety glasses when using power tools.
3. Cut lumber to match the transom dimensions. Cut the lumber in half down the center to make the stiles and rails.
4. Mill the decorative profiles and groove for the window into the lumber using router table. Lay the wood out into its final form and mark the edges with P’s and W’s for profile and window side.
5. Change the router head to make the mirror image of the profile. Use a scrap piece of lumber as a test piece first to see if you have the settings right.
6. Mill the counter-profile into the ends of the vertical pieces to create a cope joint. Apply wood glue to the joints, then assemble the transom on a flat work surface and clamp together with bar clamps until dry.
7. Drill holes into the ends of the transom and insert glued dowels to secure the joints. Trim off the dowels with a pull saw to fit flush with the frame.
8. For added strength, drill holes through the sides of the frame bisecting the first dowels and insert smaller dowels to act a pins.
9. Sand down the pins and joints with an orbital sander.
11. Fit the glass into position and use glazier's points to secure it. Use several points along each side, then press them into the frame using a painter's tool.
12. Apply glazing to the glass where it meets the wood.
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