Gothid Arc Church Windows

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by stanley2 posted 01-11-2014 03:46 PM 1071 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We have a rural church built in 1920 and abandoned in 1970. By last year it was near collapsing with serious damage to the roof and one wall. All windows and doors had been removed. A few of us volunteered to save it so we got the required approvals to go on site and do our thing. My task is to build the windows, doors and related jambs. The windows are the gothic arc style. All I have to work from is one photo of what they were back in 1970 and a severely weathered window jamb with sill and stool.

The crew has completed the primary structural repairs including straightening the structure and setting it on new footings. I have completed half the jambs and windows and will have the other half completed this winter.

Google was no help to me in the how to of making the gothic arc top windows. In our area no window manufacturer wants to work in wood sash these days. I did find a wood sash manufacturer on the other side of Canada who had made one as a prototype but he explained how happy he was not to get the contract. As an aside he is still using line-shaft powered machinery in his mill, which was built in 1850.

All wood is VG Douglas Fir. The jamb arc is a 5-piece glue lam and the arced muntin is an 8-piece glue lam. Making the jigs and forms was quite a hit and miss experience. It had been forty years since I had made any sash.

Here is what we started with and test fitting one of the windows.

-- Phil in British Columbia

7 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2893 days

#1 posted 01-11-2014 03:54 PM

Nicely done, Stanley. You are to be congratulated for volunteering in the restoration of a local old church.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 01-11-2014 04:03 PM

Wow what a great project ,I love to see old structures saved,kudos to you and your volunteer organization . You did and outstanding job on the window.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3111 days

#3 posted 01-11-2014 05:13 PM

You and your crew are certainly gluttons for difficult and challenging work, anyone who did not like
woodworking would have burnt it down and started fresh. Now you know why the guy was happy he did
not get the contract. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ScaleShipWright's profile


253 posts in 1911 days

#4 posted 01-11-2014 06:50 PM

Beautyful, and what an interesting restoration project!

-- God exists... But relax, He's not you!

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2065 days

#5 posted 01-11-2014 07:38 PM

I have this vague memory of This Old House with Norm explaining the math to layout the arch. It would have been a very early episode – like 1984 or earlier.

That is an incredible project. Who actually owns the church and what are the plans for it once you finish the restoration?

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View stanley2's profile


344 posts in 3822 days

#6 posted 01-11-2014 08:14 PM

Too bad I can’t type, eh. I have the 1940 version of Machinery Handbook which has more than I ever wanted to know abouth math. Laying out the arc was not nearly as challenging as figuring out the spring back on the glue lam form.
The Crown Provincial owns the church because the Church was deconsecrated before being abandoned. That made it taxable so the RC’s gave it up in lieu of taxes. Our little group is not responsiible for the building’s future use. It will not be furnished as a church so hopefully it will find a community use. It is located in what was a thriving little community centered by the railroad in the steam locomotive days. The community has followed the highway and is now centered about five miles away.

We have a website with lots of photos: “”

-- Phil in British Columbia

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3360 days

#7 posted 01-12-2014 11:51 AM

Very nice work on the sash Phil and great that you and your group are restoring this old church. I hope they find a worthwhile community use for it after it’s finished.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics