Window frame preparation underway
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Preparing window frames

“Hey, Lib!  Remember us saying we’d be happy to oil the window and door frames?  We’re up! The first batch just arrived on site and David is keen to install them.”

Preparing to oil the window frames.

Looking at the delivery from Aspect Windows for the first time filled us with shock and awe.

Window and door frames stacked after delivery

Maximising the amount of light streaming into north facing rooms means large windows.  I felt nervous about the size of the frames. How were the two of us going to manoeuvre these windows into position for the preparatory work?  That was the shock. However, the awe was how good the frames looked. We saw our design ideas coming to life.

David explained the best way to prepare the frames.  Start by filling nail holes with Timbermate filler to stop water getting into the wood grain later.  Lightly sand every surface to remove the dried filler and any marks. Apply a coat of Organoil exterior oil. David prefers this product because of the all-natural ingredients such as plant oils and beeswax.  We used a non-staining Organoil to enhance the colour of the timber rather than staining it to another colour. After the first coat dries, apply a second coat and the frame is ready.

I think David sensed our nervousness about being able to do all the preparation.  He was entrusting this task to two enthusiastic, unproven amateurs. After demonstrating some of the tricks of the trade with Timbermate and sanding, he gave us an excellent piece of advice.  “Don’t think about the whole job,” he said. “Take it one step at a time and get into a rhythm. Just work steadily and you’ll get there.”

And they’re off!

Filling holes and sanding surfaces on the window frames

Preparation is all important.  Blemishes on the timber are much harder to remove after the oil goes on.  Also, locating and filling every nail hole helps to make the frames last longer.

We quickly discovered a trap for the inexperienced – applying too much Timbermate.  Excessive putty leads to more time spent sanding.

Libby had a brain wave for removing pencil lines put on the frames during construction.  If an eraser is good enough to rub out pencil on paper, why not on wood?  We simply rubbed any pencil lines away!

Oiling the window and door frames.

Applying first coat of oil to a frame

After sanding, the window and door frames were ready for oiling.  Gloves on everyone – Organoil is sticky.

Lots of sides and edges on a window frame

Because there are so many edges and sides to a window, we worked methodically to oil everything.  Getting to every surface meant manhandling the frames into a variety of positions – upside down, on their side, leaning against the house walls, etc.

Oiled window frames compared to raw timber frame

Two coats of oil makes a significant difference to the timber.  The natural hues in the raw frame (centre window) are accentuated so the colours go from pale to vibrant.

Fixing a patch that wasn't oiled on the frame

No matter how many times we checked our work, there was the occasional missed patch. 

Covered window frames to protect them from rain

Most of the frames were oiled before roof installation.  At the time, showery nights followed sunny days.  Windows and doors were safely “tucked into bed” under a plastic sheet each night.

Large sliding door frame

Starting on the window frames gave us the confidence to tackle the large sliding door in the family room area.  At 2.4 metres high and over 3 metres long, this is the biggest frame in the bunch. We made good use of David’s temporary restraints to hold the frame in place while we slid it back and forth to oil all the timber.  It was a well-earned dinner that night.

Wrapping fly screen in cling wrap

Here is a neat trick David gave us.  Wrapping the oiled fly screens in cling wrap prevents the mesh getting dirty during storage.  This protects the sliding door screen since it’s too big to be stored anywhere but onsite. Although we’re storing the smaller screens at our rental, David’s suggestion will keep them in pristine condition as well.

Windows go into the wall.

Wrapped wall

After a wall is wrapped it’s ready for a window.  Note how Bowens subtly uses this opportunity for advertising.

First window installed

The first window is in place.  This one is located in the second bedroom, looking south towards the front garden.

View through the ensuite window

When a window is installed, the external view jumps into focus.  A long, thin window in the ensuite frames the trees across the road.

Some ad hoc engineering.

Temporary downpipe

The roof isn’t quite finished because we’re waiting for the brickies to build the garage Timbercrete walls.  This means the box gutter ends prematurely above the kitchen area. While we packed up one night, it started to rain so water trickled from the gutter onto the kitchen floor.

What we needed was a temporary downpipe so it’s time for some old-school Elston engineering using the available bits and pieces.  A sheet of waste plastic and a brick did the trick.

House is taking shape.

These are exciting times as the first house takes shape before our eyes.

For my next post, I’ll share the journey from foundations to putting on the roof.


  • Anne Thompson

    June 04, 06 2018 05:36:21

    Loving this! You’ve really got your handprints over all the construction, but hopefully not literally! Very personalised. Well done.

  • Libby & Howard

    June 04, 06 2018 05:40:25

    Thanks for the positive feedback Anne. Speaking of handprints, we did discover a few after moving frames that weren’t quite dry. Oops! Nothing that a bit more Organoil didn’t fix.

  • Jean

    June 04, 06 2018 06:39:41

    Good to see it all really taking shape. Well done with all the hands on approach. You’ve made it very much your own. I might have to visit Australia for a sticky beak to see the finished result. Great work you two.

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