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Exterior Bay Window3/27/14
Looking for advice on building an large arched bay window. It doesn't have any mullions, and it's actually fairly straight forward to construct. However, even despite building thousands of panels, doors, and windows, I rarely do exterior work. My first thought would be a glass, cope and stick window with dowels in every joint, and glued together with west systems to ensure weatherproof joinery. I also thought about using cedar, as the one I am replacing was likely made from fir, and has rotten to pieces, which will make for an interesting templating/measuring job. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Red cedar will work, but I would go with African Mahogany if you have access to it.
Make sure you back prime everything and really seal up the end grain. A coat of west system on exposed end grain always helps.
We make replacement sash and windows with yellow cedar which has quite a few advantages over red cedar. It holds fasteners better, glues extremely well, holds coatings without bleeding and is not as sucseptible to drying out like red cedar. It is said you can put it out raw and it will grey over time. We always prime of course.
I have used genuine mahogany, spanish cedar, redwood and yellow cedar for window construction. Any of them as well as several others will work but the most important piece of advise given above would be to coat the end grain and cope locations with an epoxy sealer to prevent moisture absorption. It also prevents tannin bleed in the event you are painting the windows a light color.
I am assuming you are not doing curved rails on the sash but if you are you may want to use the yellow cedar as it really does not splinter if you are bending laminations .
The use of mortise and tenon joints is probably a better route to follow as well.