I had Whiteside make custom bits. We started with four, and then when I made the one little design change, I got them to make the fifth one-as well as had to buy another little mortising machine. No commercially available bits were an exact match for the ovolo of the originals. I sent Whiteside a piece of an original Muntin, and they matched it exactly. I've had them do that for other small molding in the past. I thought I might have to repurpose a molding plane to eliminate any milling marks, but the Whiteside bits cut so cleanly, that it wasn't necessary.
One of them was just to make the Boxwood carriers so I could cut the cope on the muntins last. Heart Pine is pretty brittle, and will tear out terribly if not supported on a cross cut profile like the cope. Another was a full face profile cutter for the muntins, so they would fit perfectly in the carriers.
I know you'll ask, so the average price of the cutters was 275 each. There are 43 sash total to make. After we got into making the replacements, I found out that it was fairly easy to repair the old, partial ones that were left with new replacement parts, so we ended up with 11 of those useable.
The original plan was to make a couple extra ones to simplify repair or repainting of ones in the future. The jambs are all pretty close in size, so we are going to plane them to all be the same, so we can simply swap out sash when needed.
Yes, it's pretty time consuming, but this is one of the things that I do for a living. Since we have light into the house with the old, repaired sash, there is no hurry on the replacements, so we are making sash on days when we can't work outside.
Even after all the parts are milled to size, two a day is still a pretty good day. We made four of the little 4 lights one day, but the 6 and 9 lights require a noticeable increase in fitting time, and there are so many steps to the process, that one mistake would be a bigger than normal setback. There is no interference fitting anything with this old wood. It all has to fit perfectly.
Thanks a lot Tom, that info is very helpful!! I'd love to try making the ones I need, but I have so much other stuff we're trying to finish up here that I guess I'm going to leave that till last and hope I find some replacement sashes at one of the salvage places in the mean time. I wish this was my full time job, but it's just my weekend "job".
I can make them for you if they have a 1/4" ovolo profile. Otherwise, bits and setup time would be a couple of thousand. Around here, every 18th and early 19th Century sash that I've seen is 1/4" Ovolo.
I've sold other sash enough to use all the fancy grade Heart Pine that I have. The woodwork inside the 1784 house, as well as the 1828 house has never been painted, so matching wood type was important. If your sash are going to be painted inside and out, some other wood would be cheaper, and I would think okay to use.
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