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Ode to a Round Window

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Round Window




Construction of this project took several months, along with other projects for the owner, and installation of the completed window was finalized approximately 1 o'clock the afternoon of the Winter solstice, about 10 minutes before the client's annual Christmas cookie-exchange party was set to begin!


The 12-foot in diameter window was crafted in a shop in Highland Park near the Pittsburgh Zoo and then transported to Upper St. Clair bolted to a supporting jig mounted on the side of a truck. We had to ensure the overall height was under 13'6'' as the vehicle needed to use the Liberty Tubes for transport to the South side.


The window began life as a stack of cedar and oak planks which were planed to uniform thickness, ripped to a consistent  width  and then cut to an angle on the ends which, when fitted to each other, formed a circle a little larger than 12 feet in diameter. A router attached to an arm pivoting around a center post was used to cut the edges precisely for a jamb only 2" thick x 10" high.


A number of additional layers, first of weather-resistant cedar for the outer part of the window, followed by oak for the interior trim, were glued up and added to the the jamb of the window.


Finally, two cross beams were built-up of cedar and oak epoxied to a center piece of 1/4" aluminum plate for strength and bolted and epoxied into the circle of the window to act as a dividers for the glass and to strengthen the entire unit.


We used a very strong marine glue to lay up the cedar  plies and a clear boatbuilding epoxy was used to join the oak pieces where necessary in order to avoid seeing dark glue lines


The interior oak trim was finished with several coats of tung oil, the cedar with a waterproofing coat of clear epoxy, a pattern used for cutting the four pie-shaped pieces of glass and our window was ready for transport. Once on site, a crew of helpers manning guy lines was used to keep the the window stabilized in gusty winds as the supporting platform was raised.


Finally, high-tech caulking was applied, the finishing trim pieces were fitted in place and the party could begin!



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