Casement window cranks
Another option: An extender that replaces the handles altogether. It's meant to be used from a distance; it's like a long tube with a crank on the end of it (I've seen maybe 3' long, to maybe 8' long, depending on your application). You replace the existing crank with what looks like a 6-sided nut--which the long handle turns. You can just get the shortest one you can find; they work like a champ!
We've had ours for several years; not sure where to find but they are out there. I'd think either of these options beats taking out that beautiful woodwork....good luck!
Casement window leaking
DYI Guides for Replacing Window with New Construction?
Truth casement windows.
hey bob - replacing casement with double hung?
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