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Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:50 pm
by dfiler
I finally got around to my first attempt at restoring original windows. In the process, I've learned a whole hell of a lot but still feel like a complete bumbling novice.

I have a couple questions even after memorizing Terry Meany's "Working Windows"...

Is 7/16 x 7/8" parting bead available anywhere for mail order? I'd prefer not to have to make my own if possible.

What the heck is the hump on the parting bead at the meeting rail? It looks like a bent piece of metal and appears to but up against what used to be felt on the meeting rail of each sash.

Does the weather stripiping on the meeting rail look like it would be best to replace or keep? It is sturdy but also somewhat bent. (Pictures are on my blog:
Week 114 - Restoring The pantry Window)

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:46 pm
by jade mortimer
good for you for tackling restoration of your sash...
i agree, the metal piece on the parting bead is an oddity...perhaps it is a tension spring that keeps the sash in place until it is released...you should be ok to remove it, hold on to it just in case...

most local lumber yards carry 1/2" x 1 1/4"...you could plane that size down with a hand plane...you will notice on the sash that there is a notch at the meeting rail to allow the sash to slide on the parting bead...if that notch has been worn, you may be able to get away with a 1/2" bead...when reinstalling the sash, install the top sash first...place the top of the bead into the top of the groove...you will need to bend the parting bead a bit to get it around the meeting rail and then set it all the way in the groove...

one of the 'cons' of integral weather stripping at the meeting rail is that it tends to fill with dirt and paint and if it gets the slightest bit bent, it will not fit with its mate very well...

i see that you will be using allback putty....have you ever used it before? i'm interested to hear what you think about its ease of application...will you be using allback paints as well? from what i understand, if you use domestic paint, you may need to wait 3 weeks or more before applying it....

the pocket covers will be fairly easy to make...measure from long point to long point then cut with a 45 degree miter....predrill and countersink a hole in the cover and a bit into the jamb...use a flathead wood screw (about 3/4") to attach...

if you have a million questions and don't feel comfortable posting all of them, feel free to contact me via email...though there is a big benefit to everyone else who may be planning to restore their windows...

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:55 pm
by dfiler
Yeah, I'm using Allback chocolate brown linsead oil paint along with their putty. I'm still waiting for Abaton's expoxy products to be delivered so it'll probably be another week before I have "after" pictures to share. The Allback paint has held up on the stuff I painted a year ago. So far it seems to be living up to the hype. Although it'll take some years before I can really give it a proper thumbs up or down. One thing is for sure, it spreads forever. It is sold by the quart but those quarts go an extremely long way.

The metal piece on the parting bead at the meeting rail is filled with wood or putty and somewhat misshapen. One possibility was that the original parting bead had a wooden hump in the middle. Perhaps when the integral weather stripping was installed, new beads were put in but without the original perfectly matched hump. Or perhaps when the weather strips were installed on the meeting rail, they would drag on the parting bead if full width. So the meeting rail could have been cut for that reason and supplemented with metal where otherwise it would scratch when the window is fully closed and sealed. I have grown to appreciate the complexity in these old window designs. Previously, I would have assumed new windows were more complicated.

I'm guessing that the weather stripping isn't original. The sashes seem rather weakened with both the sash rope and weatherstripping groves merged into one large gap. I'll have to post more pictures tomorrow. Also, the meeting rail seems to be the proper shape for a wood to wood joint. But then later on it looks to have been modified for weather stripping.

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:25 pm
by moonshadow317
My windows all have the same weatherstriping on them. I cleaned them up with steel wool. A scraper works well to push the steel wool through the slots that are inside near the wood. When cleaned of all the dirt and paint the windows lock into each other creating a seal. This weatherstriping is original to my 1940 house. The piece of metal on your parting bead is called a meeting rail block. You can purchase replacement parts here:

http://accuratemw.thomasnet.com/item/al ... 5?&seo=110

By the way **Thanks to Casey (Sombreuil Mongrel) for turning me on to this site :D **


Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:59 am
by jade mortimer
i have used the metal and felt meeting rail/parting bead gap filler...they are typically attached to the sash not the parting bead...the metal piece in the photo does not look like the product available at accurate metal...

i use spring bronze weather stripping...it's available in 'flat' and in a 'V' shape...depending on the gap on either side of the sash, sometimes i use 'V' bronze on one side and 'flat' on the other...i attach it to the sash with copper coated nails--no routing of the sash required...when the 'flat' is nailed properly, it will spring up and close a small gap...both the 'flat' and the 'V' can be manipulated to cover a larger gap than when used 'as is'....

as far as the integrated weather stripping at the meeting rail, if it is in good working order and you clean it as moodshadow does, i would leave it in place...when installing new, i would use a silicone bulb...if your meeting rails are offset (mirror profiles) and have a sash lock, that should work to keep out the cold air if they line up correctly...

i encounter all kinds of new and interesting treatments that homeowners/building managers have concocted over the years...too bad they don't leave a note as to why they did what they did, then again the challenge of figuring it out can be fun...


Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:30 am
by dpsours
jade mortimer wrote:when reinstalling the sash, install the top sash first...place the top of the bead into the top of the groove...you will need to bend the parting bead a bit to get it around the meeting rail and then set it all the way in the groove...
This took me a long time (and several chewed up parting beads) to figure out, but if you slide the top sash to the bottom of the opening, you can insert the parting bead very easily, end first, instead of trying to bend it around the meeting rail. The same principle applies to removal.

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:44 am
by utopia13
Greetings dfiler! I'm doing the same as you...my pantry window. Mine is all apart as well. I have my weight pocket covers off & can certainly post a pic if that would help you to cut your own. While your actual size may differ, I believe they are all made the same. I have also been taking photos of this process (taking the window framework pieces apart) & was planning on showing a sort of step by step as what worked for me.

I have the same weatherstripping as you on all my windows. I have to believe it's original to the house. I've also got some that needs replacement, so I'll be ordering some soon.

That's a shame that your windows broke! Do you have anywhere close by with some wavy replacements?? I have a great place right here locally with a bunch of them...still in the frames & all. If you're up for a trip South, I'm sure they can hook you up!! :mrgreen:

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:02 am
by jade mortimer
dpsours...great suggestion!
i've removed and installed well over a thousand parting beads...the vast majority will go back in as i have suggested--from the top down...there are for sure those that will require something different and your suggestion will work there...some people even cut their parting beads into two pieces, may a 70/30 cut...once the bead is set securely into the groove, the only issue is an aesthetic one...i've installed parting beads that are 14 feet long and sometimes i'll have 13' 6" all snug in place and the final few inches will make the rest pop out of the groove!!! never a boring moment......

i very rarely use nails to keep the parting bead in place but there are exceptions where the groove is not symmetrical in its width and thus will not hold the parting bead with a pressure fit...i carry this brown nails for this application and pre drill the parting bead....

i liken window restoration to the english language--a million rules and several exceptions to every rule... :roll: :mrgreen:


Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:18 am
by dfiler
Thanks for the replies everyone! My home restoration wouldn't be anywhere without the internet and the OHW forums in particular.

So it's a "meeting rail block"! Mine looks like it would have matched the one pictured in the link at one time. I'll be ordering some this evening. Would the original parting bead have been all one piece with the hump made out of wood instead of attached after the fact? Not that I'm planning on making it that way myself... just curious.

The reason I don't think the weather stripping is original is that the meeting rail in particular has the remnants of beveling that would have made a wood-to-wood seal. Also, with groves routed out of the sides of the sash, there is very little wood left. The sashses are only 1-3/8 inch thick so there isn't much to work with. This is just a guess though. The home is from ~1900 so I think it could have originally had either spring bronze or integral. Although I could certainly be convinced otherwise.

I'll try to find some wavy glass locally, but am holding off until the sashes are reassembled and patched with WoodEpox. The styles have loosened and drifted outward over the years. Then they were glazed and caulked in place sometime in the past couple of decades. When reassembled properly, they'll be slightly narrower. My preference would be to have them professionally cut to size and then I'll do the glazing. This will allow me to use linseed oil products instead of modern substitutes.

Thanks for the parting bead installation advice too. I hadn't yet thought past "where do I get this damned 7/16" x 7/8". :lol:

Re: Parting Bead Oddities

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:40 pm
by moonshadow317
Here is a pic of one of my parting beads :

Front - note the tiny nail on the brown section there is another up top under all that white paint:


and the image from the web site

Here's where it fits into the center of the window:

Looks the same to me :roll: