Smyth Tower, part two

Broken panes were replaced with reclaimed, historically-accurate glass. Replicas of the original pulleys was fabricated by Architectural Resource Center in Northwood, NH.

In Spring of 2018, we reinstalled the windows and finished by replacing the exterior trim. 

Smyth Tower, part one

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I went to look at a job in Manchester at the VA Hospital. On the property, a stone tower was built in 1888 by then N.H. Gov. Frederick Smyth. It had fallen into disrepair and squirrels had taken up residence. Because the tower was on the National Register of Historic Places, it was essential to maintain as much of the original sashes as possible. In total, 22 sashes and 7 porthole windows were in need of complete restoration. We started in February of 2017.

Some individual parts were beyond repair. But thanks to the manner in which traditional sashes were crafted, replacement pieces can be incorporated into the original sash. (This is not possible with new construction windows. When one piece fails, the entire unit requires replacement.) New knives and router bits were custom-made to match the original profiles and new pieces were milled from FSC Red Cedar.

(Continued in Part two)

Marcy Street

This was another project within Portsmouth Historic District. The windows were in tough shape. Previous owners had given up on them and spray foamed them shut. The window wells had also been spray foamed, making them permanently inoperable. The new owners had wanted to replace them, but the HDC wanted them to be restored. I was able to demonstrate how they could be saved through a careful restoration and installing Pullman Tape Balances to make them operable. In the end, the clients were thrilled and unique windows were saved.

Sash & Solder is the perfect resource for anyone that owns an older home, and wants to preserve the historic value and integrity of their original windows while ensuring they're air-tight and functioning properly. Tom Driscoll's expertise is second-to-none. We had windows in our Queen Anne Victorian home with a variety of issues due to neglect to improper care over the years. Others thought they were beyond repair, but Tom was able to take them to his studio, bring them back to life, and reinstall them to function perfectly.  Replacing them would've cost more than restoring, and their authenticity and charm couldn't have been replicated with new windows. - (Jackie Lucas, Homeowner)

Rochester Sashes

The owner of a beautiful spanish revival home in Rochester NH was interested in having me restore her remaining original windows. It was a pleasure to work with Kathleen, a passionate preservationist, to retain some of the original features of her home.

 

"Tom recently helped me with the preservation of my c.1938 windows. He responded to my inquiry in a timely manner and provided a detailed explanation of how he would restore and winterize my windows. He completed the job as promised, arriving on time and working without making a mess. I definitely would recommend Tom for window preservation and winterization."

Kathy M.
Rochester, NH

BACK BAY PIANO WINDOW

This was a great project from the past that I never got around to posting. I loved this little window, right on Beacon Street in the Back Bay. My client called it her piano window. (It was directly above her piano.) I don’t know if that’s a technical term, but I like it regardless.

Porter Square Windows

I am working with a client that owns multiple building in Cambridge MA. We have set up a multi phase restoration plan for her windows. I have completed the minor restoration on two units. The first only required an extensive onsite cleaning, putty, and re-glazing. The difference is striking.

The second set are double hung stained glass panels in a stairwell. Luckily, they are higher up the wall then normal and have escaped extensive damage. There was some slight deflection on the lower border that needed to be addressed.

The panels were cleaned, puttied and glazed.

Another future project will be fabricating new stained glass panels to replace the originals that were lost. We were able to find archival photos of the home at the Cambridge Historical Society that showed the original Oriel windows. We designed new windows that are an excellent match to the originals.

Islington Double-Hung Windows

With all the new condos going up on Islington Street, a client was bothered by drafty windows and noise pollution. She was having a difficult time modulating the heat between her office, located in the interior, and the patient’s room, located in a sun room. I was able to weather-strip the windows in the patient room to keep it much more comfortable.

Ebenezer Thompson House

Another long term project within Portsmouth’s Historic District. This has been a multi phase, multi year long project. I was able to work within the clients budget and we set up a schedule that worked well for both of us. The sashes had literally hundreds of years of paint on them. I’ve been able to strip them to bare wood and expose the beautiful original profile. No more unstable paint binding the windows shut. All the windows have been made operable with Pullman Tape Balances. When these windows were originally constructed, operability meant lifting them up and placing a stick under them. They now glide within their weather-stripped jambs.

Miller Ave Window

Besides entryway door windows, stairwell windows tend to be the most damaged due to how exposed they are. I was able to find a near perfect match in both color and transparency.

Tom Driscoll of Sash and Solder did a fantastic job repairing our antique stained glass window. He was able to open up the colonial lead and replace the cracked pieces of clear glass as well as the gold ribbed stained panels. Tom safely removed the window and did the repairs at his shop and reinstalled it in a timely manner. Very professional.
– Angela,  Portsmouth, NH

Watertown Stained Glass

A beautiful set of windows from a grand Watertown home. The stairway window was resized and stabilized to fit a new opening. The entryway door panel was in rough shape. The daily opening and closing of the door has destabilized the entire window. Cracked glass was replaced and all the support bars we re-soldered and strengthened. Both of these key pieces of the home will continue to shine for many more years.

Newcastle Home

In the winter of 2015, a client experienced a massive flood in their antique cape in Newcastle NH. They embarked on a year long complete restoration of the home. Per the clients wishes, it was absolutely necessary to retain as much of the original character of the home as possible. This included all the original wooden sashes.

They opted for complete restoration including steam stripping to bare wood. It was very important to them that the profiles were not entirely buried in ancient layers of paint.

Walking through the completed home, you get the sense of history that this home has accrued and will continue to make.

Marlborough Rondel Windows

Last summer, I got a call from a colleague — a painter’s ladder had fallen through a window. I had a lovely drive out to Marlborough. After meeting with the clients and understanding their desire to not have the windows brought back to my studio, I agreed to come back and restore them onsite. The main problem was finding rondels of the same diameter and clarity of the originals. That was when I learned they had a glass blower in town.

I met with Jordana at Hot Glass Art Center and brought along an original rondel. She assured me she could replicate them. I picked them up a few weeks later and they were perfect. And I mean perfect. It’s extremely difficult to replicate the transparency of glass. It’s always different. Glass that is mouth blown has the bubbles, swirls and streaks of the artist creating it. It’s almost a signature. It’s remarkable what Jordana was able to do.

I was able to repair the window on site and reinstall that day. Needless to say, it was a fantastic view.

Somerville Sister Windows

I was contacted by a client after 2014’s ice dams. Remember those? After having their home inspected for damage, the condition of the windows and sashes became apparent. A fairly normal combination of neglect and years of homeowner repair needed to be addressed. There were signs of serious deflection (when the window is bowing out or collapsing onto itself). But except for two sashes, it was all repairable. The work involved fabricating two new sashes to match the original wood and profiles. All the missing and cracked glass was replaced with nearly exact matches to the original glass. This can be one of the most time consuming parts of the job, finding the correct color and texture of the existing glass. Previously, painters had siliconed and painted over the border glass, completely obscuring these parts of the windows. All of this was removed. The windows were puttied, cleaned and re-glazed into newly painted sashes. They should be problem free for another 80 years or so.

When the sun is out, it shines through my rejuvenated stained glass window in such a brilliant way. The colors dance! What a difference your careful attention has made.

Belcher Mosaic Windows

This was an interesting project. A high Victorian in Newton, MA had some original mosaic windows made by Henry Belcher, some time between 1950-65 (we’re guessing.) Belcher constructed these by sandwiching tiny pieces of glass between layers of asbestos and then pouring lead over it to create a lead matrix. It was an experimental technique that ultimately proved to be problematic. When I went to see the windows, glass pieces were literally falling out of the sashes. Once the windows were back in my studio, they took 6 weeks just to flatten out. I was able to stabilize them but I needed to find a way to keep the glass from falling out again. After a lengthy consultation with the owner — whose desire to preserve the windows did not come with a limitless budget— we landed on a solution wherein I used clear, conservation grade sheets of laminate, adhered to the exterior of the window. It was a time-intensive approach that supported the window without sacrificing the view. More importantly, the windows are back in their rightful place and the client is thrilled.