Monthly Archives: May 2009

To Repair or Replace …

Phase I of the Beauport Window Conservation project has presented numerous opportunities to perform minimally invasive repairs or fully replace certain elements associated with the various windows.

While none of the windows have been replaced, the condition of some elements has mandated sensitive repairs by using wood splice repairs – commonly referred to as “Dutchman Repairs”.  Earlier posts regarding the Strawberry Hill and Master Mariner’s Rooms have touched on these repairs briefly.  The following images show wood splice repairs at different areas of various sash.  All repairs were performed with Eastern White Pine (new, although selected for heartwood and tightest grain available) and secured with epoxy adhesive.  (click on any image for a zoomed in explanation)

Rail RepairsStrawberry Hill Rail RepairStile End Repairs  Music Room Stile End Repair

Mid-stile Repairs Music Room Mid Stile RepairMuntin repairs  Music Room Muntin Repair

Returning to the field for installation, it is inevitable that just as the lower parts of the sash experienced deterioration their associated sills were also found to be deteriorated.  In some cases, deterioration was small enough or a part of a structural framing element such that a splice could be implemented.  In other cases, sills were found to be so deteriorated that total replacement was necessary.   The following images detail some of those repair and replace options.   (click on any image for a zoomed in explanation)

Sill Replacement  Sun Porch Sill Replacement   Red Indian Sill

Window Frame Repairs  Red Indian Frame RepairsMiscellaneous Trim Repairs  

Misc Repairs

While all these repairs are done in a conservative preservation environment, none of the damage nor the repairs are unique to this particular environment.  These same problems can be seen in many window installations.  The nice thing about these problems is that they can be fixed relatively easily.  There is rarely a need to fully replace the windows; proper repairs will continue to add years to the service life.

If you would like to make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at the house, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-227-3957, ext. 247.

 


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Carpentry Crew At Work

In anticipation of Beauport’s upcoming public opening on June 2, Historic New England’s own Carpentry Crew works on site finalizing repairs and re-installing restored windows. 

Bruce finishing sill

Carpentry Foreman Bruce Blanchard puts the finishing touches on a replacement sill at the Sun Porch.

 

Preservation Carpenter Dave Maloney nails in a recently restored fixed sash at the Strawberry Hill Room

Preservation Carpenter Dave Maloney nails in a recently restored fixed sash at the Strawberry Hill Room.

Preservation Carpenter Colleen Chapin repairs wood trim at the Red Indian Room

Preservation Carpenter Colleen Chapin repairs wood trim at the Red Indian Room.

 

The list of repairs continues.   Heartwood Building and Restoration and Cousins Contracting will be re-installing more windows this week.  It’s an exciting time at the harbor!

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Mastering the Mariner’s Window

Master Mariner Writing NicheAdded to the house in 1925, Beauport’s Master Mariner’s Room served as Henry Sleeper’s private maritime museum.  The room is filled with celestial navigating instruments, newspapers dating to the War of 1812, scrimshaw, folk art toys and carvings, and a sepia-ink whaling log.  The room was named in tribute to the Gloucester Master Mariners Association and the over 5,000 men who have been lost at sea sailing out of Gloucester.  

While not as striking as the Taj Mahal style window that faces the harbor, the small eliptical window that provides light for a small writing niche was in need of rehabilitation and was thus included in Phase I of the Window Conservation Project as funded by the Save America’s Treasures program and a grant from the Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  

Interior Conditions

The window’s interior finish had suffered from the microclimate associated with the ultraviolet plexiglass protection panel.  Once removed, one could flick off much of the interior paint with a fingernail.  The window’s exterior had suffered from the southern exposure and the ocassional snow drifts piled in front.  While the glazing condition wasn’t as bad as seen on other windows, the fact that structural repairs were required meant that all the glazing and glass had to be removed.

The window frame was made of four sections, joined at the sides with screws and the top and bottom with a bolt.  Only the top bolt survived the weather – the rest of the hardware was severely rusted and had caused significant damage to the wood frame, leaving a gap of almost 1/4″ at the bottom and about 1/8″ of inch at the sides.  These gaps allowed moisture to enter the space.  

Bottom Joint As Found

Due to the amount of damage, splice repairs had to be made at Bottom Joint Repairedone side joint and the bottom joint.  Rather than invite future failure by repeating the use of ferrous hardware at this joint, a a traditional technique of the  hammer-headed key joint was employed.  The key was fashioned from quartersawn white oak and wedged to create a tight joint that is guaranteed not to rust!  


Before and After

If you would like to make a matching contribution to the Save America’s Treasures grant so that we can continue the much needed work at the house, please contact Development@HistoricNewEngland.org or call 617-227-3957, ext. 247.

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