In what could be the shortest period of time that a gaping hole has remained open in my house, I have finished the window frame and the hole is closed up again. Time from destruction to installation: 6 days. And the weather gods blessed me with no rain, so the only consequence was a minor fly infestation.
piece of wood at the bottom is nailed there
for now to hold up the upper sash.
This was a learning experience, but it was a fun project too. A lot of rather tricky work with the table saw was required to reconstruct the frame, but in the end, everything seems to have worked out nicely. The sashes are a little bit tight right now, so I will need to sand or plane the edges to ensure they slide smoothly. Since it's the dead of summer, though, and wood swells when it's hot and humid, this is a good time to be doing this. They should fit snugly in July, and there will definitely be no problems in December.
This slightly imperfect fit is because when I was making the frame, I discovered that a $99.99 Ryobi table saw isn't exactly a precision instrument. And this was my first try at making something like this. So I erred on the side of too snug rather than too loose. It's easy to sand down your window sashes 1/16 of an inch or so, but it's much harder to correct the opposite problem.
I also need to do some exterior finish work - seal all the gaps between the frame and the brick with expanding foam, put in brick molding and caulk, do some minor brick mortar repair, and so on. All pretty straightforward stuff. Hopefully there won't be any hurricanes over the next few days, since it's not sealed right now, but it's good enough to keep out the birds and most of the water that may come its way.
In the end I will only be re-using a couple boards from the old frame (to cover the front of the weight boxes) -- everything else was unsalvageable. However, I was able to reclaim part of the old frame to use to rebuild the rotted piece of the upper sash, so the sashes themselves are still made entirely out of 100 year old pine.
Below are a few more pictures of the frame and the project in progress.
The frame put together in a dry run on my pool table/workbench
Close up of the corner. I cut dadoes (grooves) into each piece where they interlock to ensure a tight, precise fit. Those are the old pulleys set into the frame. A trim piece will go into the groove between the two pulleys which separates the upper and lower sashes.
Just the frame installed in the rough opening. The weights hang inside the boxes that form each edge of the frame. You can see the outside of the bathroom glass block from last year's project through the opening too.