How to Build a Tilting Sash Barn Window

Written by mark morris
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How to Build a Tilting Sash Barn Window
Barn windows let in light and air. (barn image by Richard McGuirk from

A hinged tilting sash, known as a hopper or barn window, is a simple design built for long-lasting, trouble-free usage. They can be built from standard dimensional lumber and painted or stained to match your barn. The tilting sash requires three rectangles of lumber for its construction. The first is the frame, or jamb, made of 2-by-4 lumber. The second is the trim ring, or stop, that is attached to the inside face of the jamb. This frame, made of 1-by-2 lumber, gives the third inside 2-by-2 lumber sash frame a stop to rest against when it is in the closed position.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • 1-by-2 lumber
  • 2-by-2 lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Mitre saw
  • Window glass
  • Wood chisel
  • Metal points
  • Glazing compound

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  1. 1

    Cut four pieces of 2-by-4 lumber for the jamb frame. Cut two horizontal pieces ½ inch shorter than the width of the opening in the barn wall. Cut two vertical pieces 4 inches shorter than the height of the opening.

  2. 2

    Cut four pieces for the stop trim ring from 1-by-2 lumber. Cut two horizontal pieces, 3 inches shorter than the horizontal jamb pieces. Cut two vertical pieces the same height as the vertical jamb pieces. Cut both ends of each piece at a 45 degree angle. Make the cuts with the 1-by-2 on edge, one right and one left, so that each piece is a trapezoid.

  3. 3

    Install a 3/4-inch-wide stacked dado blade onto your table saw and set the depth to ¼ inch. Clamp a piece of hardwood lumber to the face of the saw fence with quick clamps and position it so that the inside of the lumber rests lightly against the tips of the dado blade. Start the saw and run enough 2-by-2 over the blade to make a frame the same size as the trim ring frame.

  4. 4

    Cut four pieces of 2-by-2 for the sash, or glass frame. Cut two horizontal pieces 1/8 inch shorter than the horizontal trim pieces. Cut two vertical pieces 1/8 inch shorter than the vertical trim pieces. Position the 2-by-2 with the dadoed face up. Mitre the ends at 45 degrees so that the short ends of the mitres run through the dado.

  5. 5

    Glue and screw the outside frame together, with the two horizontal 2-by-4s parallel to each other and the vertical pieces in between them flush with the ends. Stand the pieces on edge. Drive two 3 inch treated deck screws into each joint.

  6. 6

    Glue the mitred ends of the trim ring boards and nail them together to form a rectangle the size of the centre opening in the window jamb frame. Slip the trim ring into the jamb frame and nail it in place, 1 ½ inches in from one face of the frame. Use a pin nail gun and 2-inch nails.

  7. 7

    Glue the mitred ends of the window glass frame and nail the corners together to form a rectangle. Position the pieces with the dadoed face up to provide an inset groove for the window glass. Apply a bead of silicone caulk around this groove. Set your glass into the groove. Press two push-type points into the wood on each side of the frame with a wide wood chisel.

  8. 8

    Apply a bead of siliconized latex glazing compound around the inside face of the window, covering the edge of the window glass. Keep the tip of the tube at an angle, so that one corner rests on the edge of the groove and the other on the glass. Apply the glaze evenly around the glass. Wet the chisel with water and smooth the glaze by dragging the chisel around the frame on the same angle you used for the glaze tube tip.

    Set the glazed glass frame into the window frame so that it rests against the trim ring. Using ¾ inch wood screws, attach two 1-inch hinges, two inches in from each bottom corner.

  9. 9

    Screw two eyehooks into the window, one on the top bar of the sash frame, two inches in from the right corner, and one directly above it in the jamb frame. Use threaded links to install an 8- to 10-inch chain between the eyehooks, allowing the window to tilt in and remain partially open. Position a barrel bolt latch on the top bar of the sash frame, with the barrel bridging the gap. Attach it with ¾ inch screws. Fit the latch bracket over the bolt and attach it to the window jamb frame using the same screws.

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