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replacement window muntins--make or buy?

ColdClimate's picture

Greetings, all.  It's been a few years since I've been here.  And of course the reason I'm back is to ask for help.  I'm basically a knuckle-dragging remodeler/framer who is trying to branch out.

I have a customer with a paladium window (81 in. tall) over their front door.  But the old faux divided-light grill that came with it--the one with push pins at the ends of each muntin so that you can remove it for washing the window--wore out.  The customer would like me to make a sturdier replacement.  I've drawn up some plans and will probably steam-bend the arch and either lap-joint or mortise the crosspieces into a frame. 

But here's the question.  I'd like the muntins to have the same profile as those in the french doors that lead off of that same foyer.  I can try to find a router bit that will come close or, perhaps, some company actually makes quality grills for this purpose.  Any suggestions about either the router option or a source for good pre-mades?  It would be fun to build them--sor to fostretch my woodworker skills-- but I'm busy enough that I'd be happy to order one for them (assuming it's quality work) and then get on to bigger projects.




(post #99297, reply #1 of 2)

I don't know of a company that makes replacement grills but if you know the window manufacturer, you may still be able to get them. Some companies use perimeter frames while others just use loose end grills. I think I'd look at repairing the existing ones as a first resort. I've found arch work to be quite labor intensive. CMT, and probably others, make a sash molding set in a traditional pattern. They are really for glass muntins but could be used for a grill without the rabbeting cutter. Many of the manufactured grills are done with a dedicated machine that copes and half laps the intersection of the muntin pieces. If you used the sash set, you'd be talking a coped butt joint. This would probably need a key dropped in the back at each intersection or maybe a small, through dowel pin. The 90° intersections are easy enough but coping, forming and shaping on a radius will take some jigs and time.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

(post #99297, reply #2 of 2)

Thank you, hammer.  I will check out the CMT site and look around at others.  the jigs and so on could get complicated for the likes of me.  A little of that I consider fun because I'm branching out in order to learn a little bit on each project.  But I have to try to limit that to a Little bit, so that the jobs actually move along.  According to the customer, the mfr of these windows is no longer around  but I'll doublecheck (can't remember the mfr's name at the moment).  I realize that bending an arch will be labor intensive-- it's appealing as a woodworking project but not as a way to get done, get paid, and move on.  I told the customer it might well be Christmas before I got them their grill, so I have a little time to cast about for sources.

Thanks also for the ideas about the joints.  A little pin might be a neat solution.  I definitely want this to be contained within a frame, so that it is sturdy enough to be taken in and out for window washing without coming apart.


Thanks again.