Sash Cord & Chain Renewal, weights & pulleys.
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johnleeke
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:03 am    Post subject: Sash Cord & Chain Renewal, weights & pulleys. Reply with quote

Here is the basic procedure to replace broken sash cords:
(update: 4/4/13, added link to shared weights discussion)

-- Remove the lower sash, by taking off one of the interior stops at the side of the window that holds it in place.

-- Remove the upper sash, by running it down to the bottom of its tracks and removing the parting beads. If the sash will not run down, remove parting beads first.

(See the Save America's Windows book for detailed directions and a tool list for removing sashes:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Windows)

-- Check the pulleys, clean, oil, repair or replace the pulleys as needed.

Tools for Sash Cord Renewal:
- Screwdriver
- Dikes (diagonal cutter)
- Pointed Pliers
- Hammer
- Utility knife
- Vacuum cleaner
- Fish scale (for weighing sash)

Supplies:
- Light Machine Oil for pulleys
- Paraffin wax (candle wax) to lubricate the sash tracks
- Wood screws for pocket doors if they need to be replaced
- Sash cord or chain, to match the size of the pulleys
- Sash weights, if not still in the pockets
- Sash pulleys, if not reusable

Here is the discussion on sash cord types and suppliers:
http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1228

-- Remove the weight pocket cover, which is located in the track of the lower sash. It is usually held in place with two screws, one at the top and one at the bottom. It may be held in place with brads or small nails.

Here is a discussion on what to do if there is no weight pocket cover:
http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1859

-- Remove the old weight and cord through the weight pocket opening. Cut off the old cord and clean the weight. If necessary, clean debris out of the bottom of the pocket with the vacuum.

-- String in the new cord. To string the new cord into the pulley, first run a narrow chain (or string with a narrow lead fishing weight) over the pulley and down into the pocket. Keep hold of the end of the chain or string so you don't loose it down the pocket. When the chain or string appears below, inside the pocket opening, pull it out. Fasten the upper end of the chain to the end of the cord with tape or a hook on the end of the chain. Keep loose hold of the end of the chain and cord going over the pulley, and pull the chain coming out of the pocket opening, which will draw the chain and end of the cord from above into the pulley and down through the pocket. Unfasten the chain from the cord and set the chain aside.

-- Tie the end of the cord to the weight. I usually tie the same knot I found in the old cord, since I've never seen an old knot that failed so they are usually good to use. If in doubt use a bowline knot or a square knot that is "tumbled" on the standing part. Do not use a granny knot, a slip knot, or a half-hitch or a bow. Trim off the tag end of the cord close to the knot with the dikes or the utility knife, so it does not get tangled with the other weight.

--Test and service the pulley. Put the weight in the pocket. Pull on the cord coming out of the pulley to test the cord, knot and pulley. Keep the cord in line with the pulley so the cord does not get jammed in the pulley. Oil, repair or replace the pulley as needed.

-- Fasten the other end of the cord to the sash. Determine the length of the cord (see below). Tie a simple half hitch knot in the correct position along the cord. Cut off the remaining cord with the dikes or knife. Put the knot in the knot hole in the edge of the sash, and run the cord up in the groove in the edge of the sash. Be sure the knot goes all the way in the hole, and none of it sticks out past the surface of the edge of the sash. The knot can be held in place with a screw, small brad or wooden peg. Sometimes the knot does not have to be fastened in, especially when the hole is deep and drilled on an angle.

-- Lubricate the sash track by rubbing it with paraffin wax. Be sure to rub some on the edges of the stops and parting bead.

-- Put the sash back in it's track, then fasten the stops back in place to hold the sash.

Tune up the sash for easy operation. Adjust the side stops so the sash is held loosely and runs up and down freely and then fasten them in place. Side stops are fastened to the frame jamb by brads, small nails, screws or stop adjusters. Stop adjusters are metal fittings set into the wooden stop that allow the stop to be moved closer or further from the sash and then held in place with a wood screws. Lubricate the
Here is a side stop adjuster discussion:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6981

Window Specialists described their methods for determining the length of the cord:

"My process is to pencil mark on window frame jambs where the sash knot will be when sash are in closed position, send end of cord down through pulley (sometimes weighted with a piece of sash chain), tie cord onto weight outside of the pocket, pull on cord to lift weight into pocket, let weight drop a few times to tension knot and stretch cord, pull on cord to hold weight up off the bottom of the pocket a few inches, mark cord to correspond with pencil mark on jamb, making sure it will not bottom out (upper sash) or hit the pulley (lower sash) , cut cord a little past the mark to allow for knot, tie knot at cord mark, trip end of cord close to knot and insert knot into sash knot hole, sometimes I nail the knot to hold it in the hole with a 3d nail on upward angle if hole is shallow." -- Steve Swiat

"I take the end of the rope from the hank or reel and use sash chain to pull the sash cord over the pulley to the bottom of the weight pocket. I then knot the end of the cord to the weight. I then reach up beside the pully and pull the rope taught until the weight is just off the bottom of the pocket. I grasp the rope where it exits the pulley and cut just past where my fingers are grasping the rope. KNOT the end and I'm done. No measuring, marking or pre-cutting. The only time I found this method did not work was in some rather heavy windows with extra tall weights in which I had to leave a couple inches of extra cord to ensure sufficient travel of the sash. Try it, you will like it." --Dave Bowers

"If you still have the old cord, or both pieces of a broken cord, you can make your new cord the same length and it will usually work just right." -- John Leeke

Working with Chain


If the spiral that holds the chain in the hole in the edge of the sash is wedged or rusted in here's a method to get it out. Use heavy-duty needle-nose pliers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Needle-nose_pliers) It's OK if you gouge up the wood around the hole a bit, in fact, you can drill a 1/8" hole in the wood right outside the spiral at the bottom of the hole to make a space for one side of the nose of the pliers. Grip one loop of the spiral with the pliers and twist the spiral as you pull. The twist should make the spiral slightly smaller in diameter so it "peels" right out of the hole and you continue to twist and pull.

Fasten the chain to the weight by running the end of the chain through the hole at the top of the weight, then fasten the free end of chain to the standing part of the chain with clips, hooks or hog rings. Special clips or hooks are supplied along with the chain. Experienced window specials have seen the clips and hooks fail, so they use hog rings. Hog rings and the special pliers to apply them are available at automotive and fencing suppliers.

Sizing Weights:

If the weights are missing, weigh the sash, divide by two, and that's the working weight for each weight. For the lower sash round down to the nearest pound, to make the weight a bit light and help keep the sash down and closed. For the upper sash round up to the nearest pound to make the weight a bit heavy and help keep the sash up and closed.

An angler's fish scale is handy for weighing the sash. I use one that weighs up to 20 pounds, the
WestonGear Spring Scale, Model No. 14-0302-W, about $20.
Source:
Old Will Knott Scales
http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/weston-sportsmans-20.html


Read more: http://chestofbooks.com/architecture/Building-Construction-V2/Windows-Part-4.html#ixzz1lT9wxKyD


Depending on the type of weatherstripping used at the sides of the sashes there is usually enough friction for the weights to be plus or minus 1.5 pounds from the working weight without causing any problems.

Here are typical local sources for second-hand window weights:

- within the walls of the building you need them for
- junk yards, scrap metal dealers
- architectural salvage stores
- Habitat for Humanity, Re-Stores
- vinyl window pirates, be willing to pay a ransom of $5-10 each

When we can't find what we need, or what we need is unusually large or a strange shape, we have them fabricated out of mild steel bar stock at the local welding shop or machine shop. Another possibility is custom cast out of lead. We got the idea for this when I was teaching a windows training course at the Enfield Shaker village in New Hampshire, and we took apart a couple of windows to find lead weights with wood-grain pattern on the lead surface. Usually a local old-fashioned welding shop can cast weights out of lead. Sometimes we can talk the local arts-sculpture school into doing it, which will be setup to use a casting pattern.

Shared Weights
Discussion on two windows sharing a weight:
http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8778#8778

Click on "post reply" to leave a comment or ask a question.

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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 Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:40 pm; edited 36 times in total
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Skuce



Joined: 08 Nov 2009
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Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe add in there the addition of the Kilian/Harwick Stop Adjusters to facilitate perfect adjusting?
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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 569
Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question. How do you guys and gals string the cord through the pulley, down the weight pocket to the weight pocket door?

I know how I do it, just want to know if there a quicker way.?

And what kind Kanott do you tie to the weight?

And do you assist the cord in anyway to hold in place, or do you rely on a kanott in the hole to hold?
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sswiat



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
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Location: Cambria, New York

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am using sash chain over the pulley down the weight pocket. I tie a Boland(Bowline) knot which tightens under stress.

I mark the measurements on the jamb where my sash knot holes are in closed position, pull the weight up to the corresponding measurement , quick Sharpie mark on the cord where the knot has to be tied, cut the cord to the Sharpie knot plus enough to tie it and let the knot hold at the pulley, (unless it is a really heavy weight then I use a spring clamp for assistance).

I use a pair of electrician dikes to cut the cord as if I put the knot in the opening on the dikes it gives a good amount of tail that won't get in the way of operation but won't slip out of the knot either.
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sschoberg



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Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the best tool in my tool box are my dikes. Not the cheaper hardware type but the 35-40 buck pair of real electricians dikes. Mine belonged to my dad (the electrician) and they still look and perform as well as they did when he used them.

I assumed I was the only person that uses them (other than electricians of cours) Now I know your OK sswiat. haha!
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sschoberg



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Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a piece of string with a small screw tied to the end. I use electrical tape to attach it to the sash cord. The only prob I have is sometimes the string gets off the pulley and gets tangled on the side. Dang, hate when that happens!

Jeff uses a piece of sash chain also.

I think the chain works better, but will stick with the string just so I don't look so high tech. haha

I don't think I even know what a bowland or bowline knot is?
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
what a bowland or bowline knot is?


Let's see...the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree then dives back down in the hole? Guess I don't know either. I have found dozens of different kinds of knots used and never seen one that failed, so I always just used the knot that was used before, or I tie a double half hitch (not a granny), tumble the knot on the standing part, tug it tight, trim the loose part and call it good.

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sswiat



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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good John. You know the method!

I believe the bowline is a nautical knot for anchoring in a current(?) as long as the current is pulling the boat, the knot will stay tight. If you head into the knot it will loosen...ahoy mateys!
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DBowers



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Shortcut to sizing the sash cord Reply with quote

I do not cut the cord to length but take a loose end of the rope and using sash chain (similar to others in this post) to pull the sash cord over the pulley to the bottom of the weight pocket. I then secure (knot) the end of the cord to the weight. I then reach up and pull the rope taught until the weight is just off the bottom of the pocket. I grasp the rope where it exits the pulley and cut just past where my fingers are grasping the rope. KNOT the end and you are done.
No measuring, marking or pre-cutting. The only time I found this method did not work was in some rather heavy windows with extra tall weights in which I had to leave a couple inches of extra cord to ensure sufficient travel of the sash. Try it, you will like it.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've all worked with sash cord and sash chain, but have you ever seen sash ribbon:

http://chestofbooks.com/architecture/Construction-Superintendence/238-Sash-Cords-Chains-And-Ribbons.html#.UPh9hvI5BqN

This is not the "clock spring" Pullman-type balances, but a direct substitute for chain or cord that uses a special pulley and weight.

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CStanford



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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John - just getting into a project in my early 1940s home and think my windows have metal parting beads. Does this make sense? I want to make sure I'm not misinterpreting what I'm seeing.

Thanks!
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have seen and worked on window like that. There were several different innovations on sealing the sash to the frame. If you need help figuring it out, attach photos to a message.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:19 pm    Post subject: Sizing Pulleys Reply with quote

Sizing Pulleys

If you have missing pulleys or are building new windows you may have to figure out what size pulleys to use.

Determine your sash weight (glazed and painted).

Divide by two to get the number of pounds for each weight.

Select a cord size that can take that weight. (probably #8 if sash is up to 24" wide, #10 if sash is 36", #12 if sash is greater than 48")

Select a pulley that will take that size cord. (The cord should nestle loosely into to "U"-shaped profile of the pulley wheel.)

Here is a table to convert cord #s to inches:

Sash Cord Sizes
#......Diameter Inch
6.......3/16
7.......7/32
8.......1/4
9.......9/32
10.....5/16
12.....3/8
14.....7/16
16.....1/2

Also, give some consideration to the diameter of the pulley wheel and the thickness of the jamb board of the frame. The wheel has to reach through the board and hang the weight away from the inside of the board.

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sash cord and chain renewal discussion continues over here at the new Save America's Windows website forum:


http://saveamericaswindows.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11

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