OLD WINDOW IN A NEW TIMBER FRAME BARN

We thought finding windows for the barn would be a simple matter of a couple of trips to the ReStore.  We did find the door from the barn into the greenhouse there – a lovely solid oak door with glass so old, it has gone rippley.

But we were up against it for windows.  ReStore will only accept insulated windows, and we didn’t really need that.  The barn walls aren’t insulated, so why should the windows be?  As soon as our house is built, there will be no  need for an insulated space in barn, and it seemed an expensive waste to insulate for a couple of years.  Our daughter also specified NO VINYL.  That cuts out most of the windows in the ReStore right there.

I kept looking every week, and one day we got extraordinarily lucky.  Someone had dropped off three non-insulated, multi-pane windows after hours (kind of like abandoned kittens).  They brought them in and marked them for $20 each.  They were perfect for us.

That took care of the windows on the ground floor, but we were still looking for loft windows and now had a taste for old, multi-pane views.

Eventually we discovered Deconstruction, which salvages neat parts from old buildings, and on our first visit there we found the perfect window for the north wall of the loft.  Double-hung, multi-pane, and the perfect size.  It was love at first site.

...The barn wall with no window -- till yesterday.

Unfortunately, it was a short honeymoon.  I soon realized as I scraped off cracking glaze, re-glazed all four sides of all 32 panes, primed and painted this intricate fenestration, that there was a reason why people now prefer big, single pane windows.  I spent many long hours on that project last fall, hoping to get the loft finished before winter.

But  the window project got leapfrogged by the need to get the greenhouse ready before the ground froze.  Then it was deep winter, that’s the season when we get out into the woods to expand the savanna.

Keep waiting, window.

Then spring in the greenhouse was a whole new world, then parsnip season.

...The drama of a new view unveiled.

And finally we have gotten back to installing the window.

We’d done a lot of prep work, placing a new girt and cutting out the old.  Getting the 4×4 framing complete.  We did not want to start cutting out the barn boards till we knew we could finish the job that same day.

That day was yesterday!

Our timber framer put up the frame, helped us add the roof boards and side boards, and we took over from there.  We wanted windows that are simple and durable.  Doug came up with a pretty good system.

No casings.  No caulk.

...Cutting the bottom at an angle for the sill.

The barn boards above the window feed down onto a piece of flashing that we had made in barn red, which sits outside the window jam.  So water from above drips onto the flashing and then down the outside of the window until it hits the bottom sill.

The sill sits out over the lower barn boards, so they, too, stay protected.  As with the rest of the barn, batten boards cover all the openings.

On the two vertical sides, the window jam simply butts up against the barn boards from the inside.

In a real gully washer a little rain may sneak around the corners, but it won’t get anything wet inside the barn, and the whole structure is designed to breath enough to dry out quickly.

What a thrill to cut away those thick, oak boards and see the view.

Our first view quickly turned into a beautiful sunset, and a race to finish before we lost all light.  We lost that race, but we did leave with the window firmly in place.  Good thing.  Today it has rained several inches.

Getting this window in is like pulling the cork out of a bottle.  Finishing the loft will now flow forward.

It’s amazing how that window is transforming the space.  Now I’m eager to get the east windows in and build the floor and railing.  I want to spend as much time as I can in that bright, light space.

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5 replies

  1. I have an infestation of wild parnsip a few acres in upstate New York where I had little or none as recently as two years ago. Last week I gathered seed heads off the 50 or so mature plants I could reach. I mow weekly but am horrified to see all the little seedlings invading! Will start mowing 2x a week to try to “exhaust” them. Also going to try a broad leaf herbicide where I can’t reach. Unfortunately, that is also where there is milkweed. Worst is that the roadsides are full of it so there will always be seed coming in 😦 Question: how long does the sap stay potent on tools and clothes. If I wash clothes that have sap on them, will that get rid of it? Good luck in your struggle against WP–you have an ally in NYS!

    • Hi Elaine,
      Good Luck with your wild parsnip campaign.
      As to how long it stays toxic on tools — I’m not sure. When I cut parsnip with my scythe, I always finish by scrubbing the blade with a handful of grass. I have handled the blade after that, and never had any ill effects.

      I am quite sure that it washes out of clothes in the laundry, from my own experience.

      Also, my own experience is that once the plants die and the stalks are dead and dry — you can break them up in your hand without consequence, so I infer that dry sap is pretty inert.

      Following this assumption, I have not yet been burned. So, for what it’s worth, I pass it along to you.

      It takes a long time to reduce the numbers. I’ve been at it for 5 years now and some areas are pretty clear, but I still get an occaissional plant popping up. But the occaissional plant is better than fields full.

      Keep cutting,
      Denise

      • Always glad to share war stories, Elaine. Sometimes I do feel like I am bailing out a battle ship with a bucket, but every place that we keep invasives at bay gives natives a better chance, and a patchwork of havens can make a difference. (also it feels a lot better to move around in a space that you feel is not about to scar you for years) good luck, Denise

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