Extremely baffled on window sash removal?

Old 07-12-08, 11:11 AM
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Extremely baffled on window sash removal?

Please forgive poor terminology.

a) I have 1960’s Morgan wooden double-hung windows.

b) The sashes slide in aluminum channels that are screwed to the jamb.

c) A single piece of aluminum forms the 2 channels. It has a raised separator running down the middle so that the top sash rides on one side of the separator and the bottom sash rides on the other side.

d) The above aluminum-channels-piece has a screw at the top and bottom of each channel (total 4 screws) fastening the piece to the jamb.

e) The sashes have what I believe is called a “block and tackle” balance in a recess in the side of the sash. A small tab that looks like what you would tear off a soda can (but smaller) hangs out the side of the balance and is fastened to a wire that goes through a slot on the balance to the inside and connects to the pulleys and spring.

f) The balance tab in (e) above is also fastened to the aluminum channel with a screw that goes through the hole in the tab, through the aluminum channel, and right into the jamb.

HERE”S THE GREAT PUZZLE!!! (for me at least):

No matter how far up or down you move a sash in its channel – YOU CANNOT EXPOSE THE SCREW THAT FASTENS THE BALANCE TAB TO THE JAMB ( f above).

In other words you can move the bottom sash all the way up touching the top jamb or all the way down to the sill – but the screw holding the balance tab to the side of the jamb is NEVER exposed in the channel. I removed the sashes from an attic window only by slipping a hacksaw blade between the aluminum channels and jambs and sawing off the screws holding the balance tabs to the jambs. Then the channels and sashes all come out together as one unit. I broke one tab while sawing but replaced it with a metal washer.

I know I must be missing something? It seems bizarre. It almost looks like when the windows were assembled in the factory the balance tabs were fastened to the jamb at the wrong points. Could that be possible while assembling the window? Could sashes be slid to extreme distances while there is no sill on ,etc.? And thus now you would never be able to move the sash far enough to get to the balance tab with the sill now on? But I can’t really believe my own scenario. Has anyone heard of anything at all like that?

I also can’t believe you’re expected to take the entire window out and remove the sill just to get the sashes out. I thought channels and sashes are always supposed to come out of a window and as a unit ? But I overheated my brain on this for a few years and got nowhere. Unfortunately for me I need to do a lot of window work and remove a lot of sashes.

Any thoughts at all would be extremely appreciated!
Old 07-12-08, 02:29 PM
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On the sides facing you, look for removable moldings held by screws or nails, that might have been hidden by the paint.
Old 07-12-08, 02:51 PM
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Thanks pulpo!

I didn't think of that. I'll get my best glasses on and some good light and give it a really good inspection.

p.s. I forgot to ask in my original post, but does anyone know where you can get aluminum channels for double-hung windows.

Also are there what are known as aluminum friction channels or is that something else - like vinyl.

I heard you can buy them and then cut them to length. I've seen many people reference them I believe as "friction channel kits" but I can't find them anywhere on the web. Maybe I could throw out all that block and tackle balance crap and just use friction channels?

Last edited by zoesdad; 07-12-08 at 03:18 PM.

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