June 6th, 2016 / Mt. Vernon News

New Life Given to St. Paul’s Windows

By Alan Reed / Mt. Vernon News June 6, 2016

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — A plywood panel currently covers one open window space at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where a large stained-glass window has been removed for refurbishing. This window casing is currently being duplicated to replace four aged windows which have served the church since 1863. As age and weather over decades took their toll on these windows, the congregation decided to take measures to preserve these windows so they could continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

The windows were removed in February by Franklin Art Glass Studios in Columbus to repair the aged windows, while Arched Casings and Architectural Woodwork Inc. in Plain City is making new window casings. As the window refurbishment project is expected to be completed late this summer, a trip was recently made to the two specialty shops to see how the work on the windows is progressing. Attending the trip was project manager Todd Mizer and church layleader Dana Gage.

Upon arrival at Arched Casings, the top arched section of an old window casing was on display to serve as a template. The 20-foot window casings were deteriorated beyond continued use and are being re-constructed of sugar pine. The long, straight portions of the windows are made from one piece of wood. But in the curved top portions, five thin layers of pine are glued together to make up the casing which is bent to the desired shape to fit around the panes of stained glass. Screws are used for purposes of positioning, while a specially-designed glue does all the work of bonding the wood strips together.

In the bending process, the glued wood strips are placed onto a custom-made molding, positioned into place with clamps and tightened down with a power hand drill to dry into position.

The top of each window casing includes 16 separate panes of stained glass which make up the window design. For the new casing, a pattern is made for this cross-section of glass panes by the use of numerous dimensions on a plot table. Dimensions are plotted on a punchpad which interfaces with a CAD computer in getting exact points for fitting. Arched Casings works closely with Franklin Art Glass in creating the window frames to fit to exact measurements.

“The biggest challenge is to get the water to run off. You don’t want any place for the water to pool,” said Stephen Husmann, superintendent and manager at Arched Casings. All the machinery at Arched Casings is custom-made, built specifically to complete their unique process.

To get the desired molded shape into the window casings, the wood strips are attached to a story-board and passed through a tabletop shaper, which Arched Casings made themselves from a drill press and a lathe.

Arched Casings operates completely on solar power, actually selling back what power they don’t use. They also burn their own waste for heating. All work is done by hand with no automation. Husmann has been employed in the industry for 42 years and prides his business on being able to figure out how to do any project which is proposed.

“You won’t see a shop like this around anywhere,” said Mizer. “I’ve looked, and I don’t know where you would find it.”
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