Curtain Maintenance and Repair

EXAMNE all curtain rod or pole brackets when the house is being spring cleaned and the curtains are down. The fixing screws to brackets may loosen through rust, and the brackets will sag; often the weight of the poles and curtain will be found to have pulled the top part of a bracket forward away from the woodwork. Remedies are (1) to relieve the bracket of weight by taking down the pole temporarily; (2) to unscrew the bracket and to plug the hole with plastic wood or a wood plug; and (3) to re-fix with screws of the same gauge (thickness) but greater in length. If the hole in the bracket will admit a thicker screw, use one of a stouter gauge as well as longer than the old one. When the woodwork at the old hole is control taps on gas fires, etc. It is very dangerous to allow these to become or remain slack so that a careless movement may easily knock them round.

This article on the checking and overhaul of the fixtures and fittings of the house may impress the average householder as a rather formidable addition to his responsibilities, but many of the jobs take only a minute or two to do and none of them is difficult, especially after regular attention. A house is, in actual fact, a machine designed to meet the material needs for human comfort, but like all machines, its efficiency is dependent upon the care and attention it receives. In the interests of comfort and functional efficiency, no detail should be overlooked.

Fittings split or spintered, stop this hole as before, but move the bracket up or down a little, or sideways, so as to let the screws go into new wood.

Long or heavy poles should have one, or sometimes two, intermediate supports as well as the end ones. If the old-fashioned wood rings are used, put on one midway, and attach it by a brass or thin steel strap to the window frame or ceiling above. This will suspend the rod or pole midway in its span. The same dodge can be used with metal rings On a thinner pole. A piece of strip brass, about ½ in. thick by gin. Wide, can be bent to a hook to embrace the pole at the lower end, and bent to a right angle to screw to the window frame at the top end. Two holes for wood screws should be drilled at the top end. In some cases the angle bend at the top is unnecessary, if the strap can be fixed flat to the face of a bay frame or the woodwork of a window.

Long spans over window bays, across halls, etc. need especial care for the sake of safety. Where a pole is to run clear from wall to wall, a builder should be asked to cut in and fix sockets in the actual brickwork; the rod then can be a length of ‘gas barrel’ (nominal ½ in. gauge). The rod would then be fixed permanently, but the rings required would have to be put on first. The piping can be painted first.

Curtain Rail

By far the best means of supporting ordinary curtains is to fix up rails around a bay or across a window; runners are inserted on the rail, end stops put on, and then the curtains are attached by means of hooks inserted in the well known pocketed tape sewn to the top edge of the curtains. Once fixed, these rails and fittings last for many years, so that it is economical to install a good make, stout and well finished. Do not skimp the brackets, but put up the full quantity per unit of length recommended by the makers. Fix them firmly, boring the holes in the window frame carefully. The outer portion of the hole, for about a quarter-of-an-inch deep, should be made a little larger in diameter than the deeper part, which receives the worm of the screw. Get a helper to support one end of the rail while the brackets are spaced out and the screw holes marked.

Wherever the direction changes, bend the rail gently with two hands across the knee, avoiding sharp bends and taking the curve around easily. At each point of change from the straight, fix up a bracket on each side, right and left. Do not finally tighten the set-screws that hold the rail in the brackets until all the brackets have been screwed to the woodwork. Then make any little adjustments needed, and screw up the set-screws tightly. Add the end stops, and put a trace of oil on each pair of rollers or runners.

If curtain rails are already in position, give them a periodical inspection, and tighten up any brackets on the woodwork. Also correct the alignment of the brackets if needed (first loosening the set-screws holding the rail in place). Where joins in the rail cannot be avoided, the pieces are connected with bridges. In good class systems these bridges are screwed to the window woodwork, either at top or face. It is better to fix the rail in a single piece which will go the full length. The rail can be cut with a hacksaw; if the worker does not possess a full-size saw, he can manage with a miniature one which costs about one shilling and sixpence, and is handy for many jobs. Support the rail on a bench or table when cutting it. Take off rough edge at the cut end with a file, or the stops and bridges may stick when being put on.

Metal Windows

Standard metal windows are provided, near the top, with two tapped holes into which short’screws can be inserted to attach special fittings for blinds or curtains. Among the fittings illustrated is a bracket for use in such situations. It will be seen that there are two keyhole-shaped holes, to be put over the screw-heads and slid down until the narrower part engages behind the head of the screw. As supplied and fixed, metal windows have the necessary metal-thread screws inserted; all that is needed is to loosen them, put on the brackets, and re-tighten.

Fittings

Those illustrated are: (I) portion of rail with stop-end and runners; (2) bracket, showing two alternative positions for the fixing screw—either into wood- • work at back, or into the window frame at top; (3) bracket for attaching the rail to woodwork or ceiling overhead; (4) curtain runner, end view; (5) another rail system with bracket: this is made in rust-proofed finish for use in coastal regions where sea-air might corrode brasswork; (6) bracket to hold a valance rail, which fits into the hook-shaped carrier at the front end; (7) stop-end for the system shown in (5); (8) left-hand bracket for metal window frame.

Spring Expanding Curtain Rod

This is excellent for lightweight work and shorter spans. The ‘rod’ is cut to the proper length, and a screw eye is screwed in at each end. Two hooks are screwed into the woodwork, one at each side; the eye at one end is hooked on, and the rod is stretched until the opposite end can be hooked up. The proper allowance for stretch is 1 in. to the foot, or 3in. Per yard. Fix up the hooks, measure the distance between, and cut the rod to the proper distance short of this total measurement. Cutting can be done with a ‘three-square’ file or with a wire-cutter or pair of cutting pliers. The screw eyes, once inserted, are difficult to withdraw from the ends of the rod, so make sure all measurements are correct before inserting the eyes. Instead of fixing eyes to the rod, hooks may be substituted, and a pair of screw eyes fixed to the woodwork. Bore a hole with a fine awl when fixing either; start the threaded end gently, and twist up tightly with a pair of pliers.

Many people merely thread the spring rod through a hem in the curtain, but this is not the best or the proper method. Special runners or ‘glides’ can be bought to slide on- to the rod before the eyes are inserted. These runners have loops or rings into which the hooks threaded in the curtain can be fixed, as with curtain-rail fittings described above, and the curtains will then slide easily without risk of tearing or other damage.

Sometimes it is required to fix curtains on spring rod so that they stand a few inches away from the face of the window. An easy method of doing this is to fix up a pair t f steel japanned shelf brackets, about 5in. X 4in., attaching the longer side to the woodwork; the eyes of the rod are then attached to the end screw-hole of the bracket by an S-hook at each end.

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