OT: Window Work

Hey all:
I know this is OT but...
Someone posted a thread the other day about fixing up old windows,
glazing them, etc...
Sparked my interest, as I live in a pretty old house (1890's), I have
many old windows that having survived many Massachusetts winters, have
become a bit decrepit.
I thought I would try my skills in that field. So I pulled out a
pretty old and crusty window and found this information:
1. Extraction.
Getting them out is no easy chore. Apparently, the carpenters that put
them in decided that "more nails are better". Need a good fresh nail
biting Saws-All blade for this job. Damn them and their drunken Irish
After popping the window out, discovering there is no, NONE, zero
insulation around the inside frame. Ok, no problem. Get some of that
expanding foam insulation later. (always wondered why my den was so
cold?) More on this later.
2. Removing the old, cracked and tough as nails glazing.
Not hard at all, sharp chisel, 5-1 painters tool and much TLC. In fact
it is probably the most rewarding part of the job. Start in the
corners, and push. At his point you feel like your really getting
3. Stripping the old paint off.
At first I tried some 505 stripper , but just created a mess to clean.
I found that a heat gun, when used correctly, will pretty much take
the chrome off a trailer hitch, better than your ol' high school
girlfriend, and much cheaper.
It works really good, just mind your P's & Q's while using it. I took
off about 7 layers of old paint on the sash in a few minutes. Dinna
worry about cracking the glass. Just don't put the gun to the glass
and you will be fine.
BTW: 2 & 3 are kind of like going to a girlie joint and shouting
"yea... get it all off... ohhh yea... baby... you were dirty wood and
and now your all clean... " In some strange, twisted way it is pretty
OBTW: Wear a mask for the stripping job. Never know what toxins are in
the paint that vaporing up into your eyes, ears and nose that might
cause you some horrific, bloody death someday.
4. Cleanup.
Sandpaper. I tried those "sponge" things that cost like a few bucks,
but it seemed there was more 'silica' produced than actual sanding's.
So I guess they are made to reproduce their own. Stick to real, old
fashioned Sandpaper, wrapped around a block of wood. Have a Shop-Vac
handy. Nuff said. Also used TSP and Kilz-All to prime.
5. Re-Glazing the bloody thing.
Ok, now we get to the nitty-gritty. After quite a few hours and a
messy job, I'm thinking great, just got to re-glaze all the panes.
Mind you I tried this on a 12 pane, (lite) window so.
I got a tub of Glazing Putty at the local Home Despot. (about $6.00).
The directions are firm. Roll in your hands like a golf ball, make
spaghetti like strips, press in and mold. Sounds easy yes?
Sure. Easy. NOT.
The stuff is pretty greasy, and sticks to anything except the window
panes you are "supposed" to be putting it on to. It now has covered my
shoes, coat and cover-alls. I'm wearing a coat as it's freezing in
here from taking the window out! Where does it end!
Now I figured out the roll in hand, heat-up and press routine, I
figure I got it down... Pane one done, pane two done, pane three...
oh, gotta go back to pane one now as it's shifted a bit, oops! Geeze,
pane two has shifted as well... There goes pane three...
This shit sticks to everything except the dang window!
Go back and read the directions on the other side of the tub , (with a
microscope), and in Espanol. Not a simple thing...
"The glaze will harden in 7-14 days, and be ready for painting.
MotherF##ker !!! Two friggin weeks to get the fruition of my labors
and no immediate satisfaction!
6. Final work.
All said and done, the window looks great, nicely glazed and ready for
a nice winter storm. I did sand a few bits and put a nice coat of
"Hunter Green" on it as decoration. I blowed some new foam insulation
in the cracks and am feeling more cozy in the den.
IMHO: One at a time. I have 46 winnows to do. I will be away for a
while. Also said that the glazing putty is known to cause "Cancer in
the state of California." Does that mean I need to move there to get
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"Phred" wrote: 4. Cleanup (clip)5. Re-Glazing the bloody thing. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ You left out an impaortant step between 4 and 5: prime the frame before glazing. This old wood is bound to be very dry, so it will leach the oil out of the putty, making it shrink and crack. Make sure to brush the primer well into the wood, so you seal it.
I hope you haven't already done too many--kuz the trouble will show up later, maybe months after they're done (I'm guessing.)
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Let the Californians worry about it. As though CA weren't already somewhat a cancer. :)
Reply to
John Husvar
Hey, be nice, or I'll tell people about how a lot of folks in the U.P. don't even paint their houses, in order to keep their tax assessments down.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Phred fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
The pane (Choke!) SHIFTED?
pHREAD.... you got any glazing points? Putty doesn't hold the pane in place, the points do. The putty just weather-seals it.
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
I didn't see you mention using "glazier points" when to hold the glass in place. Didja?
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(You can get them in smaller quantities than 4000 for $18.99)
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Unless it's NIOSH approved for lead removal, you're kidding yourself. Heating up the paint WILL vaporize lead and the lead level in your blood will probably rise. We had a restoration crew that all hit lead limit exposures stripping windows with heat.
You don't need to remove every bit of glazing. Scrape the dry powdery stuff out and replace those sections with new glazing putty. When you paint it, overlap the glazing putty slightly and learn to control the brush so that razor trimming is not needed or only needed in the corners. With a good hand, you should be able to start making some time even with all of those panes.
Reply to
Get some linseed oil and treat the inside of the wood sash. this helps keep the wood from sucking the life out of the putty.
Next roll out a thin (1/16") "snake" of putty all around the sash and then carefullu press the glass into the bed of putty.
Now use glazers points to secure the glass into the sash. With the glass secured into the sash, now you apply a larger "snake" of putty into the corner. You can now use the putty knife to press the "snake" into the corner. It takes me a while to get the right combination of pressure and angle, but once you get the hang of it you can strike a dead straight angle with two fine curls of waste putty.
Your task reminds me of the time I moved into an old apartment that had the windows painted shut. I disassembled them and was working in the evenings prior to moving in.
The place had 12 foot ceilings and about 10 feet of double hung window. The upper sash was radiused at the top. I was re-glazing these on the drain board of the kitchen sink one night and I had a couple of the sashes propped against the window frame and the wind picked up and they fell and the one with the radius broke.
Damn, damn, damn. The next day I shopped around for the glass and was suffering from sticker shock. The best price I could get was about 3 times the price of a square cut chunk of glass so I figured that this would give me three chances of breaking even by learning how to cut the curve myself.
My first dilemma was how to define the radius. This I did by trial and error by cutting a piece of wood that would snugly fit in the window channel and then used a set of trammel points to find the correct radius.
I then took a small chunk of plastic and placed a center punch mark, and attached it to the glass with some double stick tape. I took a stick of wood and cut a notch that I fit the glass cutter into and held it with a small C clamp. I drove a nail and my radius cutter was complete.
It worked like a charm and when I went to set the sashes back into the window, it was then that I realized that the double strength glass weighed more than the original single strength glass so the old cast iron sash weights would allow the sash to descend.
I added additional weight (fishing sinkers) with bailing wire, and the window then worked flawlessly.
Reply to
Roger Shoaf
Having done this on ALL the windows on my parents' place, I've gotten fairly good at it. In my case, one summer I took both window sashes out and replaced the sash cords, stripped the paint and reset the glass for all the windows, something like 36 windows, including the basement and storms. I cut something like 30 pieces of glass to replace the busted ones. I see no reference to glazier's points, maybe somebody used brads on your original installation? Not kosher, you NEED points in there to keep the glass from shifting. Brads just lead to the glass cracking . Cheap at the hardware store, get the push- point style, easy to install with a putty knife. There's a special putty knife you can get for putting the putty in, makes corners really easy. It's polished and heavily plated so the putty doesn't stick to it, one end is bent, slightly, the other is folded lengthwise for the corners. You put the glass in AFTER painting, you don't want raw wood exposed. Then you go back and touch up the putty with a trim brush afterwards, you don't want that exposed to the weather, either. To get the putty to stick to the glass, the glass has to be clean. Last item before installing the putty is a good wash with Windex to get the fingerprints and grease off of it. To get the old crappy putty out, I used a thick-bladed putty knife with a sharp bevel and a light hammer to get what putty was still stuck out of there. It didn't take a whole lot of doing, most of the putty was either gone or might as well have been. I like DAP brand putty for glazing, it doesn't separate and sticks well. Clean your hands before rolling the putty out, it doesn't stick well with old paint and dust sticking in the surface off your hands.
Reply to
Excellent advice almost all the way through -- just one thing I take issue with: your choice of brand. The only reason I can think of for liking DAP is that you haven't tried anything else.
S & T, if you can find it, is far superior to DAP, and Ace Hardware's house brand, while not as good, is a reasonable alternative. With both of those, you have to roll the putty around in your hands for a good while before it becomes soft enough to use -- but once you do, it actually sticks to the window (unlike DAP) and to the frame (unlike DAP), and when you smooth it out with the putty knife, you get a smooth edge (unlike DAP) without thousands of tiny rips, tears, and cracks (like DAP). And it doesn't take two weeks to cure before you can paint it, either.
Reply to
Doug Miller
I havn't done a window in thirty years, but I remember using Red Devil points. I would think today that some of the silicon based sealers would work better than the glazers putty. The putty eventually gets hard and cracks, the silicon sealers will stay soft.
Reply to
And that is exactly what you *don't* want: soft. Ever try glazing a window with DAP back in the 1980s, before they reformulated it? That crap was soft almost to the point of runny. Worthless.
Reply to
Doug Miller
Phred wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
That would be me. I tried the heat gun technique over the weekend. Worked ok but I managed to break one pane, right at the little triangle point holding the pane in. I'm not sure if it was from heat or me getting aggressive with some tougher spots.
I HATE glazing putty; it does stick to everything but the window. I'm going to try using some boiled linseed oil on the putty knife, my hands and painted on the wood next time, if that don't work I'm going to let the panes fall out and just plywood up the holes.
I saw someone recommend getting a special putty knife to help with getting the putty in at the optimum angle, is that one of the multipurpose ones or something else?? I was looking for it at the local big box and wasn't sure how I was supposed to actually use it to put the putty in.
Reply to
The end of the knife is folded into a "V", with a little notch out of the end. You run one side of the vee along the wood, angling the other to get the desired glazing profile. The notch helps it stay on track with the corner of the wood. Use warm, worked putty and fairly steady pressure. Use the wad of putty in your hand to pick up the stray bits of putty.
Reply to
On Sat, 13 Oct 2007 21:48:09 GMT, "Leo Lichtman" scribed:
Yes, wiped everything down with TSP and used Kilz-All Primer. The really nasty smelling stuff that sinks into just about anything your prepared to slather in on to.
(I thought I posted that in the post?)
Yup I did.
OBTW: Was talking to a friend of mine today in the painting trades, and he said they wait only about 3-4 days before painting the glazing as it would cause a PITA for the crew to run around retouching windows all over the state.
They paint it during an "active" job, as they want to get out of there just as quickly as the homeowner does... Not fun having a bunch of painters show up during Sunday Brunch with the neighbors.
Reply to
On Sun, 14 Oct 2007 22:58:58 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) scribed:
Good advice from both of you! I reckon I will try to change my putty purchases to a better brand.
DAP was the only thing available in the Big Box store I frequent. As usual, I dinna want to drive the extra 3+ miles to the other BB store to get a better product, just wanted to get the job done.
My Bad.
I will try to find S&T glazing putty, mebbe at my local ACE Hardware store if the staff is not rude or actually working that day. Normally, they are off having a smoke, out by the Propane Filling Tank.
Well, I reckon that's just fine.
Reply to
your original problem is using window putty that dries out. bought window putty contains plaster of paris, which is what makes it dry out.
from the stained glass world: a better window putty is simply boiled linseed oil with calcium carbonate (whiting (chalk)). it doesn't dry out so quickly, is easier to remove, and seals just as well.
regards, charlie
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Somehow I remember that long ago window putty was a mixture of white lead and linseed oil. But I suppose that would be criminal today.
Bruce in Bangkok
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