Expert teaches Tulsans how to restore wooden windows
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, April 21, 2012
4/21/12 at 5:46 AM
Master carpenter Bob Yapp and his six students went to school Friday morning in DeeAnn Paisley's garage.
But first they stopped at Paisley's 1910 home in the Swan Lake neighborhood and helped themselves to one of the farmhouse's 102-year-old, double-hung glass windows.
Then it was off to the garage, a day's work in hand.
"The bottom line is, if you have an old house built before 1960, you have better windows than anybody could put in new," Yapp said. "And if you want to do it yourself, you're looking at anywhere from $30 to $50 worth of weatherstripping material, and it is more energy efficient than the replacement window."
Yapp, it soon becomes apparent, isn't just a teacher - he's a preacher, a man who believes in the saving power of his restorative work.
"If you take a window that is 102 years old out of this house and you give it another 100-year life, and it is as energy efficient and costs no more - and usually less - to do, what person in their right mind wouldn't do that?" he said.
Amanda DeCort asks herself the same question. As the staff planner for the Tulsa Preservation Commission, she has brought Yapp to town from his home in Hannibal, Mo., three times previously to host window workshops. Another one, scheduled for May, is already booked up.
"If we want people to save their historic wooden windows, we need to give them the tools to do that," she said.
DeCort estimates that about 1,500 homes are in the city's five historic preservation districts. But, she said, the workshops are for anyone who wants to save a little of the past.
Or, in Pam Curtis' case, save a lot of the past. Curtis, 60, lives in a home that was built in 1918, and she has 11 windows in her bedroom.
Friday was her third workshop with Yapp.
"I'm ready to tackle it," she said of her window work. "It's time."
Time - and patience - is key to restoring the windows properly, Curtis said, and the payoff is big.
"This is much cheaper than buying new windows," she said, "and it preserves the aesthetics of my house, leaving the original material in there."
Jonathan Belzley, 37, describes himself as the "guy who stands over the plumber and goes, 'Oh, that's how he does that.' "
Friday morning, he stood beside Yapp and tried to soak up his genius.
"I have already learned some tricks," Belzley said. "This chisel he has with a ball-bearing roller, that is great."
Friday's six students were placed into groups of three, each working on one sash. On Saturday, it will be a group of contractors taking out a window at Paisley's home.
She can't wait.
"I am not doing it myself," she said. "I would mess it up. But I can hire somebody who knows how to do it and save my glass and save my window."
Paisley said she volunteered her home for the workshops because she believes in the importance of preserving the city's historic homes - including her own.
"We know we had a really bad window," she said. "That is the one they are working on today."
Original Print Headline: Saving windows, a pane at a time
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Emily Koller (left), Keith Gable and Brent Bushnell (right) listen as Bob Yapp (second from right) talks Friday about removing paint from wooden windows during a restoration class. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
The Tulsa Preservation Commission-sponsored workshop will continue Saturday for contractors. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World