Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sashy Slaggy Stylee

I don't believe I have ever "lifted weights" in my life.  Ms. Balintore, as one friend is wont to call the castle, may be a mistress in genteel poverty, yet she has the uncanny ability to continually push one's unwilling boat onto uncharted waters.

The reconditioned and new windows at Balintore Castle, need to have their sashes balanced. Sash windows work on the counterweight principle, very much as a lift in a building. The upper sash has a counterweight one pound heavier than the window itself, so this sash will stay at the top. The lower sash has a counterweight one pound less than the window itself, so this will stay at the bottom. The force to move a sash window, no matter how large or small, is therefore never more than a pound. Simples!

Anyhow, the set of remaining original sash weights at the castle were not correct to balance the repaired windows. The traditional way of altering a sash weight is to saw a section off the end, whether the material be cast iron or lead. I didn't want to destroy an existing weight by taking too much off. and indeed I wanted to be able to use the intact weight wherever possible. I needed a large selection of sash weights in various denominations that I could experiment with and cut-down if necessary without messing up Balintore's historic fabric.

This is where eBay comes in! I managed to secure the 79 weights below for less than a pound (£) each. They are from an early 19th century building in Summertown, Oxford, which was having the sashes double-glazed. The windows ended up so much heavier they has to be balanced with lead weights rather than the original iron ones, which were in consequence surplus to requirements. The seller worked for a company which does high end renovations,: these have included the Savoy and Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.  

Ironically, I once worked in Summertown for the University.

Anyhow, I noticed some of the castings were very rough (slaggy) indeed, though it was just about possible to always still read the weight stamped onto the side of the weights. 

So however reluctantly, I have been pumping iron though of a sashy and slaggy variety. :-) With their half pound increments in weight, my layout reminded me of the major (ivory - whole notes) and minor (ebony - semi-tones) keys of a piano keyboard.

sash weights purchased for Balintore Castle


  1. You are doing an amazing job David, keep it up!

    I am visiting Scotland shortly to give some talks to camera clubs, I would love to take some pictures in or around your beautiful building while I am up there, if that would be possible.

  2. Thanks for you kind comment Tim - my shoulders are atill aching from moving flooring, sash window weights and scaffolding over the last few days.

    You are more than welcome to tale pictures at the castle. You can contact me as "MrBalintore" on Facebook.