Step 1: Measure the Window

measuring a window for a cold frame
Photo: Matthew Benson
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The window lid will be hinged along its length and sloped to let in maximum sunlight. Measure the window's long edge to get the length for the front piece and the two back pieces. Sandwiched between, the sides taper back to front, which means they'll be shorter than the window is wide. To determine their length without resorting to geometry, stage one end of the frame two-dimensionally: Butt two boards end-to-end, then pair up a third parallel with one of them to mimic the height of the back. Slide the single board away from the pair and open a gap approximately as wide as the window. Then stand the window on end, angling it from the "back" to the "front," and adjust the gap until the window just overlaps the boards at either side, as shown. Now measure the gap to determine the length of each side piece.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • jigsaw
      jigsaw
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • straightedge guide
      straightedge
    • hand clamps
      clamps
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • metal garden rake
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    • garden spade
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    Shopping List

    [1. 5/4x6 decking by Cambia Get at least three 8-foot boards.

    2. salvaged window sash pavers Get enough to set beneath each side of the frame.

    3. construction adhesive

    4. 1-inch deck screws 5. 2½-inch deck screws

    6. brass sash pull

    7. 4-inch galvanized strap hinges Get two to attach the window to the frame.

    8. 4-inch removable-pin hinges Get one for the inside of each corner to make the frame collapsible.

    9. ½-inch dowel Get at least 6 feet to make venting poles of various lengths.]