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How to Build a Transom Window Frame for a Shed

Updated February 21, 2017

One way to let natural light into a shed is to build a transom window. Whether installing one over a door or in a wall where it is the only window, it is one way to dress up an otherwise blank wall. The key to building a transom window frame is keeping its parts square with each other.

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  1. Place the 18-inch lumber on a worktable. Draw a line across the centre of the 3/4-by-3 1/2-inch edge. Next, draw an "X" exactly 1 inch from the edge on both sides of the end of the lumber. Repeat this on both ends of all eight of the 18-inch pieces.

  2. Draw a line on the top of the 18-inch pieces of lumber to represent where the dowel is to be inserted into the lumber. Dill holes at least 1-inch deep with the drill and the 1/4-inch drill bit.

  3. Place the four 47-inch pieces of lumber on the worktable. Measure from one end and make a mark at 3 1/2, 14 1/2, 18, 29, 32 1/2, and 43 1/2. These marks indicate where the 18-inch pieces will be secured to the 47-inch pieces.

  4. Place the 18-inch pieces on the marks from Step 3. Use the lines representing the dowels (Step 2) to mark the 47-inch pieces.

  5. Next, stand the 47-inch pieces on their long edges. Draw a line at the centre of the 3/4-inch edge. Then, draw an "X" on the centre lines, using the marks from Step 3 as a centre point.

  6. Drill holes on the "X"s, 1 inch deep, to receive the dowels. Apply glue to the holes and insert a dowel pin into each. Be certain that it "seats" all the way into the hole. Repeat this until all the dowel pins are in all four of the 47-inch pieces of lumber.

  7. Apply glue in the holes of four of the 18-inch pieces. Place them between two of the 47-inch pieces and fit them together. Pull the frames tight with the bar clamps by placing one on each of the 18-inch pieces. Repeat this for the other frame and leave them clamped overnight.

  8. Tip

    The glass that goes with these frames should be as long and tall as is the frame. Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.


    Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children. Paint or stain in a well-ventilated area.

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Things You'll Need

  • 4 1-by-4-by-47-inch lumber
  • 8 1-by-4-by-18-inch lumber
  • 32 1/4-by-2-inch dowels
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Wood glue
  • 8 36-inch bar clamps

About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.

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