Woman's Club of Concord

The Woman’s Club of Concord (NH) contacted us about restoring the windows from their top floor. This was an involved project — a classic example of what we refer to as “deferred maintenance.” These attic windows had been severely damaged over the years by a combination of UV rays and moisture.

With sash restoration, our goal is always to save as much of the original wood as possible. We were able to consolidate most of the damaged parts with Abatron Epoxy, but some parts were beyond repair. Michael Wise of Woodworks in Portsmouth perfectly matched the original profiles, and milled new stock for us. Once the sashes were reassembled, oiled, primed and painted, you really couldn’t pick out the original stock from the new. Now the original beauty of this stately victorian will be preserved for another generation to enjoy.

We’re grateful to Nadine Miller for entrusting us with this project.

First Church of Concord, NH

We are mid way through another large project — the complete restoration of 32 leaded and stained glass panels from The First Church of Concord, NH. More specifically, they come from the top of the bell tower, a tall and majestic element in the Concord downtown area. This restoration requires complete disassembly, reglazing, and weatherizing of all panels.

Portsmouth Historic District

This is another project within Portsmouth’s Historic District. The windows were a combination of different eras, some that date back to the early 1800’s, others from the 1950’s. They’re all wood, true divided lites that fit the look and character of the house. We did a full restoration, which included steam-stripping, epoxy repairs, oil priming, glazing and new paint. We also installed new brass hardware and weatherstripping to make the windows as efficient as possible. It always feels great to preserve old windows right here in our hometown.

My house is an old colonial with windows of various ages and designs, and very few of them functioned well any longer. After Sash and Solder restored them, they looked almost new and functioned much better than I ever thought they could. In addition, they are much better insulated and close tightly, which makes a big difference in cold weather.  Tom Driscoll was extremely thorough in explaining the restoration process, patiently answered my questions, and was flexible about scheduling the actual work.  I am very happy that I went with Sash and Solder for this process.

— Paul Langford, Homeowner

Union Chapel — North Hampton, NH

We are thrilled to be well under way on an exciting local project. Residents of the Seacoast may recognize, or perhaps even have attended a wedding here. Union Chapel is in the Little Boar’s Head area of North Hampton, NH, beautifully situated between The Fuller Gardens and the open ocean. We are in the process of restoring all 16 stained glass windows, while Bedard Preservation & Restoration is at work preserving the exterior. Check back for updates.

NH State House — Hall of Flags

This has been a fascinating project. During our initial site visit, we assumed the panels were traditional leaded glass. Once we got them back to the studio, we realized they were unlike anything we’ve ever worked on.  

We determined that they were made using a decorative copper alloy that was riveted together. Upon further inspection, we found a thin brass matrix, separating the pieces of glass between the rivets. This kept the glass from cracking during the initial fabrication.

During the documentation process, we discovered that the overlay was stamped with The Metallic Setting Co of Providence RI and a Patent Number 500,587 from April 1894. Working with the Providence Preservation Society, we found an article referencing The Metallic Setting Co and it’s founder, George B. Lee. The article quoted him as wanting to re-establish “line and mass”, that he felt was missing from the decorative arts at that time. His unique approach bypasses the traditional methods of using varying thicknesses of lead cames or flanges.

He invented an entirely new alloy to accomplish his vision. The article also referenced his other commissions, Abbey’s Theater on Broadway in NYC and Keith’s New Opera House in Boston. Tragically, both theaters have since been demolished. The Metallic Setting Company disappeared from the Providence directory by 1897, so the NH State House may be only window that has survived.

With this knowledge in hand, we decided the best course of action was to leave much of the metal work intact. The cracked glass along the edge could be replaced by cutting the perimeter alloy. But any attempt to replace cracks in the interior of the panels would likely result in causing more damage. Additionally, the original glass selection was so purposeful, with individual pieces of glass selected from specific areas of the sheet. All the panels slowly transition from the darker perimeter glass to the light of the interior. It’s a beautiful effect.

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The original putty that acted as a weathertite seal between the alloy had become brittle and was falling out. The remaining putty was removed and new putty was applied to both the interior and exterior sides of the panels. Once cured, this process also strengthens the overall window, making individual pieces part of a collective whole.

Now that the panels were restored, we turned our attention to the frame. The original steel frame was installed into the jamb with only a few narrow stops holding it in place — there was no perimeter frame. This caused the frame to flex in windy conditions, weakening the joints. After being exposed to those conditions for the last 125 years or so, the structural integrity of frame had become weakened to the point of nearly falling apart. We engaged Sona Welding of Eliot, ME to fabricate a new stainless steel perimeter frame and weld it to the original. After a re-sizing, the panels fit perfectly. Upon installation, the frame was dramatically stiffer with much less play. We these improvements, the Hall of Flags window likely won’t need another restoration for over 150 years.

We were all thrilled to have been part of this project. We know we are just a part of the continuum of craftsmen and women who have come before us, but it has truly been an honor to help uphold the original beauty of the NH State House.

New Hampshire State House

COMING SOON: A full rundown of a project we are excited about in the studio. It’s the restoration of a historic window for the NH State House. See below for removal pics of the beauty that welcomes visitors to the Hall of Flags.

Smyth Tower, part two

Continued from Part One

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.

Richards Ave sidelights

This was a fairly typical sidelight restoration. There was some broken pieces, but more worrisome, the support bars had separated from the panels. Sidelights can take quite a beating over the years. But I was able to perfectly match the historic glass and re-strengthen the lead came. They should be fine for another 120 years or more.

"We had been wondering how to fix the leaded glass sidelight panels of our front door in our home since the day we moved in 5 years ago. When we received the Sash & Solder leaflet, Tom came over at our convenience and advised "no worries...I can fix that to good as new" with the same character as our 113 year old home. Tom was extremely professional in explaining the process including the placement of temporary barriers to keep the cold out. The repaired windows were amazing...indeed looking like they'd been around for 113 years and beautifully maintained. Thank you Tom for your exceptional work! You are a true artist in your field!"

- Judy & Gene, Portsmouth

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.