Repair Bowed Meeting Rail (final)

Wood repairs for sashes, frames and sills.
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Joined: January 8th, 2012, 1:53 pm
Full Name: David Gibney
Location: Smithsburg MD
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Repair Bowed Meeting Rail (final)

Postby davidgibney » February 19th, 2012, 10:24 am

Status: [] submitted work method, [ ] proposed treatment standard, [x] final treatment standard
Author: David Gibney
Contributors: John Leeke

Title of Treatment: Repair Bowed Meeting Rail
Class of Treatment: [ ] Maintain, [ ] Stabilize, [x] Repair, [ ] Upgrade, [ ] Exception
Type of Treatment: [ ] Traditional, [x] Contemporary, [ ] Conservation

Condition to be Treated:
Meeting rail is bowed.

This treatment is appropriate when the upper and lower meeting rails do not meet up enough to keep the weather out and for proper installation of the sash lock. If this method does not result in a rail that is straight enough, try again using the same methods, or make a new rail.

Typical Procedure:
1. Remove the bowed rail by first removing the wooden pegs or steel pins by drifting them out with a steel punch.
2. Make a relief cut into the existing rail so that it can be bent straight, taking the bow out.
3. Temporally connect a straight rigid board to the rail with clamps. Then glue in a wedge-shaped dutchman within the relief cut and allow the glue to cure.
4. Remove the clamps and temporary board. Usually this results in a straight meeting rail.

Alternate method:

1. Attach a straight rigid temporary metal brace using clamps to the bowed meeting rail.
2. Steam the rail with a portable steamer and a custom attachment for one hour. Leave the rail in the brace for 48 hours.
3. Remove the clamps and brace. Usually this results in a straight meeting rail.
4. Reinstall the meeting rail into the sash and re-pin or re-peg the joints.

• Epoxy adhesive
• straight metal angle iron brace or straight stiff board
• wood pegs or steel pins

Quality of Results

Best Work: Perfectly straight meeting rail.

Adequate Work: A major improvement in rail straightness so the rails meet and sash lock will operate properly.

Inadequate Work: Meeting rail still has a bow in it

Posts: 49
Joined: June 9th, 2011, 9:43 pm

Re: Repair Bowed meeting rail

Postby sschoberg » March 13th, 2012, 1:09 pm

I have repaired a few warped meeting rails using the abve method, however milling a new meeting rail is without a doubt the easiest piece of a window to make.

It can be done on a regular table saw and is just a matter of using the original piece as a pattern.(cut the old bent meeting rail to a length that gives you a straigtht piece) Use this piece as a guide against the fence and adjusted to the blade. Simply do this for each cut out and voila you have a new meeting rail stock. We make extra when we mill these and have an assortment of meeting rail stock to use when needed.

We try to cut our meeting rail stock so that when its attached to the sash the vertical grain of the wood will lay vertically. Milling the meeting rail to the vertical grain of the piece of wood will give more strength to the meeting rail and help prevent warping. (especially for the extra wide sashes.

jay treiger
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Joined: February 15th, 2012, 12:53 am
Full Name: jay treiger
Location: ashland, oregon
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Re: Repair Bowed meeting rail

Postby jay treiger » March 19th, 2012, 10:49 pm

I too have used each of the aforementioned techniques to straighten an warped or bowed upper sash meeting rail. An alternate solution can be using a salvaged meeting rail from a surplus sash. In my region folks are still removing good old sash and replacing them with modern windows. Not only is this a good source for antique glass but the sash stiles and rails are useful for repairs
Stay sharp.
Best Regards,
Jay Treiger
Ashland, Oregon

Posts: 49
Joined: June 9th, 2011, 9:43 pm

Re: Repair Bowed Meeting Rail (draft)

Postby sschoberg » March 20th, 2012, 8:30 pm

We haven't always had old salvaged sashes to use parts off of, but we're building a fair amount of these and I would agree using salvaged parts is a good practice.

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