Old Growth Wood VideosOld growth wood, from deep within the forest primeval. From fairy tales to an awed reverence in bungalow fans, the forest is endemic to the lore of humankind. Trees have been regarded as sacred in many early traditions. Since the dawn of time humankind has understood that his survival & that of the tree are interconnected- for shade, for food, for fuel & for shelter.

In old house circles, ancient wood is highly regarded for its strength & its beauty. I wrote an article about it & it is the most viewed post on my blog. That post discusses the properties of old wood, but in these videos, you are going to look at the forest & how it contributed to the wonderful characteristics of the trees & the lumber that was cut from them. 100 years ago, this lumber was used to build your house & today your house stands strong & sturdy.

You are going to hear a fascinating talk by a woman who grew up in the forest & listens to trees. She has learned the secret of how trees in the forest form a strong community, helping one another survive & grow, through communication & by passing chemicals & nutrients to trees in need.

You are going to find out how farmed wood differs from forest grown wood & why it results in inferior lumber.

You are going to see 100 year old logs pulled out of rivers to be milled into building materials.


No matter how much you cherish your old growth fir, pine, oak – these videos will increase your understanding & appreciation for it immensely. The people who are speaking, are authorities in their fields & each one loves old wood. Let’s get started.



I am often asked why I care so much about preserving old buildings. For some it’s a veiled challenge with no plan to listen to the answer, but some hang around long enough, without yawning, to hear my answer & some actually hear me as I pour out my soul & my passion. And for some, the light turns on.

This is why I keep picking myself up after the wrecking ball wins the battle, keep talking, keep writing. For this light.

I spent much of my adult life (MY STORY here.) as a neighborhood activist, fighting to keep those bits of turf our own & not give them over to corporate America- to keep us & our neighborhood culture together.

The people in the videos below say it better than I do, in fact, as I was reviewing them tonight, I was wishing that 20 years ago, I could have chained my local Eagle Rock councilman to his chair & not let him so much as wiggle until he had watched every speaker in hopes that he would understand what the building we were trying to save would do for our community, that a new chain store in a sea of parking, wouldn’t/couldn’t/hasn’t/never will.


There are sound quality issues at the beginning. They go away very quickly.

TEDxCLE – Jeff Siegler – Building Community Through Historic Preservation (10:03)
TEDx Talks

Historical Preservation- A Radical Conservative Liberal Concept: Wayne Wood at TEDxRiversideAvondale (15:49)
TEDx Talks

Historic Preservation 101 (44:14)
History Colorado

This video fully explains the history & evolution of preservation in the U.S. It goes on to explain the different preservation organizations & programs, both public & private as well as the levels of protection afforded at each level.

The title says it all!

A look at the science behind the value of historic preservation.

TIP: My YouTube playlists are chock full of information vital to bungalow owners. From paint removal to the history of bungalows to stories about old growth wood, you can find a rainy afternoon’s entertainment & learn some stuff too here.


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“I have a friend who’s an artist & has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say ‘look how beautiful it is,’ & I’ll agree. Then he says, ‘I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart & it becomes a dull thing,’ & I think that he’s kind of nutty,” states Richard Feynman, scientist, teacher, raconteur of renown & not incidentally, an accomplished conga drummer.
“First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people & to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes.
The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery & the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”
Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman


I never really understood why I take such joy in learning, talking & writing about bungalows. Why am I compelled to know these things about bungalows? What force makes me read Jane Powell’s books, with their truly dreadful puns & teeny-tiny print again & again? Why is every day off spent visiting old house museums & driving around vintage neighborhoods & end with a visit to an antique store?

Thank you, Richard P. Feynman. It’s to experience the other dimensions of bungalows.

When I look at a bungalow, I see its rich philosophical, aesthetic & emotional history- the degradation of the culture caused by the Industrial Revolution. I honor the memory of the wee ones who worked barefoot in the factories to provide a morsel of bread for their families & I honor William Morris’ goal to revitalize this debased society through aesthetics.
I see the long extinct old growth forests & the hard & dangerous lives of the men who cut them down. I see the boys lost in war & the mothers who grieved for them. I see the celebration of new lives being conceived, born & dying on big brass beds.
historic bungalow advertisementI see architecture born of the culture & technology of the times.  I see Stickley’s perception of the intrinsic beauty of the log cabin. I see the joyous anticipation of a family waiting at the station, for their kit house being delivered by the 5 o’clock  train. I see the joy of recapturing the details lost to trends, foolish decisions, economic necessity & outright greed.
I see neighborhoods once united by trolleys tragically bifurcated by highways, but now joyfully united by purpose. In my heart, I see those with whom I have shared this purpose. Some of them are only a phone call away, & some of them, I mourn.
Looking at a bungalow is a rich, comforting, calming but refreshing experience for me. The purpose of my blog is to memorialize those who created & lived in these wonderful houses, those who taught me so much about them & fought with me for their preservation & to share all this with you, so that when you look at a bungalow, you too can see it in all its dimensions.


A friend of mine, an author with whom I have collaborated on many projects, had this to offer:

If you haven’t yet figured out who I am & what I consider to be my place in the world, click here to read my story.

Old typewriter


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Bungalow-wood-windowI mean really! Why is it such a big honkin’ deal to preserve your bungalow wood windows? If you’re lucky enough to have wood windows in your bungalow that aren’t painted shut, the dang ropes are broken, the wood is rotting & there’s a cracked pane or two. Rain is getting in, maybe it has for some time. Not to mention heat & cold. What’s to preserve?

And people are so vehement about it, either way. On the old house FB groups there’s a ridiculous amount of high volume contention coming from both sides. And I don’t believe any claims made about the loose morals of anybody’s mother.

Anyway, it’s so-o-o-o easy to just pick up the phone, call a Big Box store (or one of the window companies that relentlessly pop up on your phone because you have searched for window solutions) & presto, you can get nice new ones installed, maybe even out of a fabulous new, no-maintenance material- vinyl. They provide the product, the labor & a 15-year warranty. With increased R-value. And you can pay with a credit card. Poof! Good-bye to peeling, leaking, moldy windows in your lovely bungalow!


Department-of-the-InteriorThe Preservation Brief 17 of the Heritage Preservation Services’ section of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is called,  “Architectural Character—Identifying the Visual Aspects of Historic Buildings as an Aid to Preserving their Character.” It provides a process to identify the visual characteristics that give a building its unique style- Dutch Revival, Colonial, Mid-Century or, tah-dah!- a bungalow. It explains how the visual character is most frequently determined by the often-related surface qualities of the materials & craftsmanship. The original choice of materials often plays the dominant role in determining an architectural style.

Well, old bungalow wood windows are made of exactly that- wood. An added factor to this is that they are made of old growth wood which is harder, denser & more rot resistant than any windows made today out of farmed, quick-growth wood. They have a particular set of lite patterns & they operate in the same fashion.

But none of this solves your own peeling, leaking, moldy problem so let’s see if I can help.


Preserving-bungalow-wood-windowThese are some dedicated folk who live their lives in service of old windows.  How do you find one? Or for that matter, any tradesperson sensitive to historic materials?

1.     Live in an old neighborhood? You probably have a neighborhood association that could offer suggestions. If you don’t know if there is one, your City website can tell you. They usually have neighborhood departments. If you don’t find one, try groups in nearby historic areas.

2.     Call your local historic preservation advocacy group. I have a woefully incomplete list of them here, but promise that I am working on expanding it.

3.     Call your city preservation office for referrals. If you don’t have one, try county or state.

4. The old stand-by- Google. As with all the ablove sources, it is important to have some knowledge of wood window repair before you start to talking to repair companies. They will appreciate your interest & be better able to help you understand what they will be doing. You’ll be better able to ensure that you get the project that you want.

In his book, John Lists over 200 wood window repair pro’s all over the U.S.


Window-Preservation-AllianceWood Preservation Alliance
A group formed to help homeowners who wish to save their windows with professionals who can provide the needed services. They also offer great information on window restoration & train the pro’s in further mastering the trade. They have a page in which you can enter your state & find windows professionals. Many of these guys work in more than one state & even those who don’t are not usually opposed to traveling.

These tradespeople tend to be booked far in advance so I would suggest that you contact them even before you have an executed contract on your house. I have included DIY information for you in case you get tired of waiting. I always encourage people to learn about the various trades required to keep an old house in good shape. You’ll get a better project & you will just feel better about old house stewardship.

John Leeke’s book below also includes a directory.

As always, use my tips on hiring a contractor to minimize your risk, as well as your own perceptions, experience & smarts when you choose the people for this task. I don’t know these people & I’m not recommending them, just pointing!


I am not a hands-on preservationist, but I am a maniac researcher, so when I needed to preserve my bungalow wood windows, I got help from the pro’s to teach my carpenter how to do it.  So, here’s how you can learn & either DIY or, teach someone else with a greater strength & a higher aptitude for construction & more of a willingness to get dirty.

I strongly recommend that anyone hiring a professional know something about the process so you will experience fewer surprises. It will also help you understand the high price tag of this exacting, multi-step process. Or, you could teach your handy-man!


Book-on-how-to-preserve-bungalow-wood-windowsOld Windows In-Depth
by Scott Sidler

Scott is a master preservation professional & has written a detailed guide on window restoration. The guide is a clearly written, tutorial showing each tiny step written for the homeowner.

Old Windows In-Depth is nearly 200 pages of picture filled tutorials detailing all of the major information that you’ll need to successfully restore any historic wood or steel window.

The predecessor to this book is the one I used to teach my carpenter how to repair my windows. Scott is very aware of all the little crunchie bits that go into restoring a window that are part of his DNA (Sorry if that’s a weird picture.) but are totally new to us. We didn’t run into any mystery parts  or steps that just didn’t work. Learning from Scott’s materials was smooth as silk.

Restore-wood-windows-bookThe Window Sash Bible
by Mr. Steve Jordan

Read this book to learn why most replacements are unnecessary & why your existing windows will serve you better than any replacements.

Whether you are a homeowner hiring tradesmen, or a DIY-er, this book will teach you how to evaluate your windows & plan & execute the needed repairs.

The book introduces you to the history of windows & teaches you about all the pieces & parts so that you can discuss your windows with tradespeople & fully understand what they are telling you about them.

The basics of wood repair are explained in detail from removing sashes, to installing sash cords to, to replacing glass & muntins to weather-sealing.

preserve-wood-windows-bookSave America’s Windows
by John Leeke
177 pages, 257 illustrations.

John is the O.G. of wood window repair as well all the other trades related to historic preservation.

This book is the new, 2013 edition which covers the newest in high-tech window materials & techniques in addition to traditional methods. He gives you step-by-step instructions in how to maintain & how to repair old wood windows.

Here’s another cool part: He includes a National directory of 200+ window specialists who know how to repair your windows instead of selling you cheap quality windows that you will have to replace in a decade.

And another: If you follow this link, you can request for him to send you digital downloads that you can you right now.

Dare I add one more? He includes his phone number so that you can order directly from him & ask him any questions plaguing your mind about windows.

You’re welcome.


Craftsman-blogThe Craftsman Blog

The Window Course, a step-by-step course to teach you everything you need to successfully restore historic wood windows. You’ll get written posts and dozens of videos for every part of the process. You can see a preview on this page. It shows printed steps & a video demonstrating his tried & true techniques.

Scott offers 3 packages, the most comprehensive of which is about ½ the price of having a window professionally restored. Now, like my own delicate self, you may have an aversion to getting your hands dirty & want to hire someone. You still need to know how to do this! There are many trades for which you will hire people on blind faith & Google reviews, & have no clue whatsoever about the quality of their work. This is not one of those trades. You can learn this & I suggest that you do before you fork over good money to a stranger.

As I mentioned, I used Scott’s book to teach a carpenter how to do this & I learned right along with him. Had Scott offered this video & book package then, I would have bought the ‘spensive one to gain the certainty that would have made the project less overwhelming.


Many local preservation organizations  offer workshops in wood window restoration. I recommend that you become a member so that you can stay informed of every program that they produce or promote. Follow me on Facebook because I try to announce workshops of various topics there.

Belvedere-School-PreservationBelvedere School for Hands-On Preservation
Hannibal, Missouri

For decades Bob Yapp has delivered hands-on preservation workshops all over the U.S. In 2008 he founded the Belvedere School in Hannibal, Missouri where he trains students to be artisans in the historic preservation trades.

His school is housed in a 5-story. 7,950 square foot 1859 Italianate house which was in deplorable condition when he discovered it. He has used it as a laboratory to teach students hands-on restoration skills. Now that the house is mostly restored, itself is mostly restored, his students now do the hands-on work on their neighbor’s neighbor’s historic houses in the Central Park National Historic District in Hannibal, Missouri.

If you are ready for a totally immersive experience, attend a workshop at whatever level of physicality suits you. Stay at his wife’s bed & breakfast in the restored house, play billiards in the parlor & fortify yourself for the workshop day with a delightful homemade breakfast.

Craftwork Training CenterCraftwork-wood-window-courses
History Reveals Methods and Materials which are Lasting.
We Teach using Knowledge, Time, and Practice to perfect your art.
Telford, Pennsylvania

Hosted by LimeWorks, a masonry material manufacturer, Craftwork Training Center holds training workshops throughout the year to teach people to properly use their products & to understand proper architectural restoration of masonry- plaster repair, repointing brick & stone, surface repair.

They also have workshops that teach the skills needed to restore & repair wood windows.

Their objective is to educate people so that they can enter the trades as professional & earn a good living, however, their classes are appropriate for a homeowner. Give them a ring to find out if any particular classes would be right for your skill level.


I have saved some great videos to my channel, many of them made by the experts mentioned about. This is a great way to get oriented to the subject of wood window repair. Watch several of them! Paired with a book, you’ll earn your degree in wood window repair.

I also have many videos on many preservation subjects, each one teaching you more about your bungalow, it’s history, its construction, its possibilities.


Yes, I think that you ought to restore them. If they are past the point of no return, you can build new ones using old growth lumber which is harder, denser & resists rot to a greater degree than quick growth, farmed, newly harvested wood. You can generally get this wood from a local salvage yard & have it milled into window pieces that you or your handy carpenter can join yourselves. Carefully save the glass from the old windows to install into the new frames. Both you & the kitties will enjoy that wavy glass view into the garden.



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