Officially chartered in 1833, Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and has the largest concentration of historic properties in the state. With the high concentration of historic buildings comes a high demand for resources and information on how to maintain and restore those buildings.
Last month, Dubuque’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Four Mounds Foundation hosted a Wood Windows Workshop Week. This was a four day event designed to educate and train attendees on how to maintain and repair their wood windows themselves, or direct a contractor on necessary repairs.
The workshop was led by David Wadsworth of Wadsworth Construction. ABATRON participated as both a sponsor and an attendee. The first portion of the workshop was a three hour lecture, presented at the historic Masonic temple in downtown Dubuque. The presentation drew approximately thirty attendees who were treated to a detailed PowerPoint presentation on the factors to consider when faced with restoring wood windows. That presentation was followed by a hands-on opportunity to become familiar with LiquidWood®, WoodEpox®, and Sarco glazing putty.
The workshop continued over the course of the next two days at the historic Four Mounds property. Fifteen participants took part in an on-site training session where just about all aspects of wood window restoration were addressed and demonstrated.
The demonstrations covered a wide variety of methods and techniques. For example, when discussing paint removal, we used traditional scrapers, heat guns, infrared heaters, and steam methods, noting that each option may be more applicable in different situations. As you can tell by the pictures below, lead safety was stressed and best practices were followed when actually scraping paint.
ABATRON provided samples of LiquidWood and WoodEpox for the tutorial on making epoxy repairs. It was stressed that these products can be used to repair wood windows and other wooden architectural elements that might otherwise end up in a landfill. These repairs are permanent and can lead to significant savings to the property owner, who might otherwise feel obligated to purchase new windows.
During the epoxy demonstration we were pleasantly surprised when a Dubuque news crew from KWWL showed up to document the education efforts and get some feedback from the attendees. Their news broadcast can be seen here:
We also uncovered a WoodEpox repair that had been made on a storm sash from the Four Mounds “White House”. Jay Potter, the maintenance supervisor at Four Mounds, estimates that the repair was made 10 years ago and noted that it still looks as good as the day he made it.
The remainder of the workshop included discussions and demonstrations on topics such as: cleaning glass and hardware, cutting new glass, applying glazing putty, priming and painting, installing weather stripping, repairing sash cords and weights, and optimizing the energy efficiency of repaired windows.
The participants of the Wood Window Workshop Week were also given the opportunity to tour some of Dubuque’s last remaining businesses focused on production and restoration of wood windows, doors and millwork. Tours included Stackis & Morrison Architechtural Millwork, Dubuque Window & Door, and Ja-Mar Restoration.
Overall, the workshop week was an incredibly valuable asset for everyone in attendance. The attendees, including me, were all very impressed with the quality of the instruction provided by Wadsworth Construction and the incredible hospitality of everyone at Four Mounds. Chris Olson, the executive director of the Four Mounds Foundation also did an exceptional job organizing the event and coordinating all of the workshop activities.
For more information on this event or information regarding restoring your own wood windows, please contact Abatron, Inc. at 800-445-1754.