Wood Sash Pegs (with Video)
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Wood Sash Pegs (with Video) Reply with quote

(update: 11/26/12 locating pin)

Here's how my dad taught me to make pegs, and how I do it in my window work:


Video: Wood Sash Pegs; split, shape and set the pegs in sash joints. 10 minutes.


Photo: Shaping pegs on a bench hook at the bench.

Almost any decay resistant species or selection of wood will do. Cross-cut a piece of wood so the dimension along the grain is the length of the pins you want. Then use a mallet and chisel to split off little slabs that are as thick as the diameter of the peg hole. (I just eye-ball the thickness) Pack the slabs back together and split off the pegs (3 or 5 at a time) with a thickness that is just slightly less than the diameter of the hole. On the bench stop use the chisel to pare off about three-fourths of the 4 edges and sharpen the peg slightly at one end. Leave the "head" end of the peg square, which helps to bind the peg into the hole holding it in place. I can make 5 or 10 pegs a minute with this method.

See the series of photos here:

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/workshop/windows13.html

On "high-end" fancy sash made in the 18th & 19th centuries I've seen the pegs set in lead paste. We simulated this by thinning putty with a little linseed oil to make a paste. But, most sash was made with the pegs driven in dry, and that's the way I usually do it. Jade's method of oiling the pegs is a nice touch. (Lately I've been treating all the interior surfaces of the mortise and tenon joints with borate preservative during assembly. Then, after joint assembly, treating the lower joints and rails with a paintable water-repellent preservative, keeping it out of the glazing dado.)


Window Sash Pegs

Procedure:

1. Cut off peg stock.

2. Split out and shape pegs.

3. Clamp up sash to tighten the joint, assure the sash is square.

4. Layout location of peg on sash joint.

5. Drill hole for peg.

6. Tap peg into hole.

Materials:

-- wood, decay resistant, selected for clear, straight-grain heartwood, at least 20 growth rings per inch



Tools:

-- cross cut saw

-- chisel, sharp

-- mallet or hammer

-- drill

-- twist bit

-- bench hook

Description:
Common practice during the 1700s for hand-made sash and during the 1800s for factory made sash, was for a very tight fit on the mortise and tenon joints and then assemble the sash just once, clamp, drill & peg.
Traditionally the peg is only intended to hold the joint together, it's the joint that holds the stile and rail together and takes the stress.

Draw Boring Sash Joints:
Putting the sash together to mark the peg holes for draw-bore then taking it apart to drill the hole in the tenon then re-assemble, would loosen up the mortise and tenon joints quite a bit. To do a draw-bore on sash would require putting the joint together to mark the offset for the draw, then taking it apart to drill the hole in the tenon. This would loosen up the joint for the final assembly; or, it would take a lot of time accurately lay out and bore the off-set hole without pre-assembly. When you see old pegs that have a crook in them, it may look like that was draw-bored, but it's usually from the wood expanding and shrinking over the decades that stressed the peg.

Clamping:
When making all new sashes I set up a square-clamping table and bore the holes and set the pins while tightly clamped up. This method could also be used when reworking old sashes.

Locating pegs:
Traditionally pegs are set as near the corner of the glazing rabbet as possible, so the nexus of glass, wood, putty and paint is as stable as possible, and still allows for the expansion and shrinkage movement of the stile and rail, away from the nexus. The further the peg is from the corner of the rabbet, the more likely movement is to stress and crack the putty at the corner or the paint at the joint.
To layout the peg locations on the bottom rail joints, this usually works: draw a diagonal line from the corner of the glazing rabbet to the corner of the sash, divide the line into quarters and drill for the first peg at the quarter mark nearest the glazing rabbet. If it needs a second peg, put it on the half mark.

I usually try to set my wood pegs "on the quarter" nearest the corner of the glazing rabbet. See the video on setting pegs for more peg location details. Steel pins are slimmer so I'll try to sneak them in a little closer than the quarter.

Sizing pegs:
For ordinary residential-sized sash the peg can be 1/8 to 3/16" dia. if using a hardwood peg, 1/4"-full if using softwood.


To assure the pegs stay in:

-- Shape the pegs so the "head" is square, which will bind into the round hole.

-- Size them for a tight "press fit", but not so tight it splits the wood of the sash.

-- Dry them out after shaping by setting them on the radiator or near the heating stove for an hour. This will shrink them, and they will swell back up once inside the hole.

-- Dip the peg in a slurry of putty and boiled linseed oil just before driving it in for a weather seal and to help hold it in place.


Good old Henry Westcott knew how to make window pegs by the barrel full back in 1848.



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Last edited by johnleeke on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:35 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Harold Pomeroy



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 25
Location: Chesham Station, NH

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this post, John. This offers an insight into industrial history, showing the transition from on-site window construction by carpenters to water powered factories.

When restoring window sash, I have noticed the difference between the older and more modern pegs. Later ones do not look hand carved, but they also don't look like dowels.

I would like to know more about best practices for re-pegging window sash. I have seen people use hardware store dowels that work their way out to the exterior in several years. Also, using birch that rots fast isn't smart. I use rot resistant wood, taper the pegs, and drive them from the interior to the exterior.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you
Harold
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi harold...

NEWRA (new england window restoration alliance) members were discussing this topic today...some of us use poplar, oak or salvaged pine for our pegs...we set up a stop on the workbench and use a sharp chisel to create a new peg that is not perfectly round...often the holes were offset during fabrication so as to draw the mortise and tenon together for a tight fit...over time the pegs became worn and the holes expanded...often we will drill a new hole a bit larger and plane/whittle a peg that is slightly larger than the hole...i dip the pegs in a 50/50 mixture of linseed oil and turpentine and make sure a brush the mix on/in the mortise and tenon as well...

there are other ways to do it, but that's what works for me.....

...jade
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's how my dad taught me to make pegs, and how I do it in my window work:



Almost any decay resistant species or selection of wood will do. Cross-cut a piece of wood so the dimension along the grain is the length of the pins you want. Then use a mallet and chisel to split off little slabs that are as thick as the diameter of the peg hole. (I just eye-ball the thickness) Pack the slabs back together and split off the pegs (3 or 5 at a time) with a thickness that is just slightly less than the diameter of the hole. On the bench stop use the chisel to pare off about three-fourths of the 4 edges and sharpen the peg slightly at one end. Leave the "head" end of the peg square, which helps to bind the peg into the hole holding it in place. I can make 5 or 10 pegs a minute with this method.

See the series of photos here:

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/workshop/windows13.html

On "high-end" fancy sash made in the 18th & 19th centuries I've seen the pegs set in lead paste. We simulated this by thinning putty with a little linseed oil to make a paste. But, most sash was made with the pegs driven in dry, and that's the way I usually do it. Jade's method of oiling the pegs is a nice touch. Lately I've been treating all surfaces of the joints, the peg holes and pegs with borate preservative. Then, after joint assembly, treating the lower joints and rails with a paintable water-repellent preservative (keeping it out of the glazing dado.)

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John

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by pen and thought best words are wrought
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the new video of wood sash pegs:



Also, see new details of the work in the message at the top of this discussion.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might be seeing pegs made with a dowel plate. Another traditional method for sizing wooden pegs is to split the peg roughly over size and then drive it through a hole in a metal plate, which rounds off the peg exactly to the size of the hole.


(Credit & Source: http://www.basiccarpentrytechniques.com/Woodwork%20Joints/Woodwork%20Joints%206.html)


(Credit & Source: http://chestofbooks.com/home-improvement/woodworking/Design-Construction-Wood/Taboret-Part-3.html)

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Tom King



Joined: 17 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back when my only table saw was a builders saw with metal legs, I drilled holes in the legs to make pegs. Now that my main table saw is a cabinet saw, I had to get fancy and drilled holes in a separate piece of metal for making pegs.

I got a good laugh when I saw a supplier selling a peg making block of metal with holes in it.

As we are cutting stock for a project, I set aside short pieces that have tight grain to make pegs out of.

Split out chunks with a chisel, and drive it through a hole.

You waste very few pieces by driving it through a metal hole. Ends for draw pegs are shaped freehand on a belt sander.

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