Cleaning stains from salvaged antique glass
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westonmillwork



Joined: 09 Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject: Cleaning stains from salvaged antique glass Reply with quote

I have a lot of antique cylinder glass that I want to re-use in new restoration sash. Much of the glass has "metallic" stains on the surface that will not come off with traditional cleaning methods. Research leads me to believe that this is many years accumulation of "hard water stains" or "acid rain." Abrassives such as pumice will eventually remove the stains with much scrubbing, but also sctratch the glass. Soaking the glass in vinegar overnight seems to help but also requires much scrubbing. I cannot afford to clean the glass by the square inch, but would really like to save this beautiful old glass from the landfill. All glass is cut to size and ready to install, but I cannot use it with these stains present. Any practical suggestions?


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Andy in NH



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
Posts: 92
Location: Lyndeborough, NH

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had excellent results using cerium oxide and water with a felt polishing head. It is indeed labor intensive but has been the fastest way to safely remove scale that I have come across. Customers are amazed at the sparkle in their old glass when they see the results.
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Jack Cadwell



Joined: 21 Mar 2009
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Location: Warwick, Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One way to help with the etching problem is to not make it worse. I have found that organisms growing on glass etch it. This is similar to what moss does to a rock. Moss etching of glass will cause parts of a light to be damaged, only where the moss grows.

Storing old sash to be salvaged is a lot like aging fine wine. The sash need to be kept long enough and in the right conditions to soften up the wood and putty, but not allow anything to grow on the glass.

I leave old sash outdoors in the weather long enough to get them wet, frozen, then thawed. In the Spring I salvage the glass before the moss growing season starts. The frost does a good job of breaking the seal between putty, glass, and wood. I then store the salvaged glass in a dry place.

There are other factors that will etch glass. Moss is one that I can prevent.

Jack Cadwell
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Vic



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 59
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Cadwell wrote:
One way to help with the etching problem is to not make it worse. I have found that organisms growing on glass etch it. This is similar to what moss does to a rock. Moss etching of glass will cause parts of a light to be damaged, only where the moss grows.

Storing old sash to be salvaged is a lot like aging fine wine. The sash need to be kept long enough and in the right conditions to soften up the wood and putty, but not allow anything to grow on the glass.

I leave old sash outdoors in the weather long enough to get them wet, frozen, then thawed. In the Spring I salvage the glass before the moss growing season starts. The frost does a good job of breaking the seal between putty, glass, and wood. I then store the salvaged glass in a dry place.

There are other factors that will etch glass. Moss is one that I can prevent.

Jack Cadwell


Soak the glass in a 5%-10% solution of lye (Red Devil) and water. Wipe with a paper towel and dip in a 5-10% solution of vinegar and water. Wipe dry. Dip in clean water. DONE I just cleaned 50 sqft this way
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hdrider_chgo



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vic wrote:

Soak the glass in a 5%-10% solution of lye (Red Devil) and water. Wipe with a paper towel and dip in a 5-10% solution of vinegar and water. Wipe dry. Dip in clean water. DONE I just cleaned 50 sqft this way


Does that actually remove etching, or just clean off dirt stuck to the surface?
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hdrider_chgo



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy in NH wrote:
I have had excellent results using cerium oxide and water with a felt polishing head. It is indeed labor intensive but has been the fastest way to safely remove scale that I have come across. Customers are amazed at the sparkle in their old glass when they see the results.


Can you go into more detail on the cerium oxide method?
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Vic



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hdrider_chgo wrote:
Vic wrote:

Soak the glass in a 5%-10% solution of lye (Red Devil) and water. Wipe with a paper towel and dip in a 5-10% solution of vinegar and water. Wipe dry. Dip in clean water. DONE I just cleaned 50 sqft this way


Does that actually remove etching, or just clean off dirt stuck to the surface?


If it's real etching, nothing will remove it, short of grinding and polishing. Probibly not worth the effort. Lye will remove most surface stains
Try 1 piece,see what happens
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JasonW



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
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Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked here earlier for solutions to the same problem. I had a film over all the glass I took out from some windows I needed to restore. I tried CLR, paint remover, and a few other things. NOTHING would work.

As a last resort, I tried an SOS pad and much to my surprise it worked without scratching the glass! Give it a try next time you have some tough cleaning to do.

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Vic



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JasonW wrote:
I looked here earlier for solutions to the same problem. I had a film over all the glass I took out from some windows I needed to restore. I tried CLR, paint remover, and a few other things. NOTHING would work.

As a last resort, I tried an SOS pad and much to my surprise it worked without scratching the glass! Give it a try next time you have some tough cleaning to do.


Look under magnification and you WILL see the scratches
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And those micro-scratches can become large enough to see after a few of several years if there is acid or if the windows are cleaned with vinegar due to the acid etching action--not saying it will, but I have seen it happen.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

George in Texas provides this source for an abrasive kit for glass:

http://www.pjtool.com/glasspolishingkit-1-1.aspx

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