Refurbishing storm windows
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Historic HomeWorks Forum Forum Index -> Windows & Doors  
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 73
Location: Western Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:09 am    Post subject: Refurbishing storm windows Reply with quote

As a precursor to refurbing the windows on my 1936 colonial in Western Pennsylvania, I took down two of the (apparently original) wood storm windows. I had a lot of problems and am rather discouraged. Please help me before I am lured into a den of iniquity by the replacement window dealers :-)

1. My glass breakage rate is 100%. I steamed the putty, removed the pins and points, wiggled the glass loose with gentle pressure and more steam. Seems loose, lift it up, crack. In some cases, it appears the glass was either chipped by a pin originally placed too close to the glass. On the later windows, it seemed to crack while removing the putty, when the putty knife hits a glazier's point.

I'm doing this on sawhorses - I'm wondering if the frame of the window is flexing a bit on the horses. Would I be better off doing this on a bench.

2. Paint stripping - the flat areas weren't too bad, but the molding on the interior side of the window is giving me trouble. I'm thinking about making a scratch stock to clean this up, but would welcome other suggestions. I've been using a heat gun to do the stripping, and the paint on the interior side appears to be latex, in reasonable condition - but removing the glass and putty is damaging it enough that I don't think I can just leave it alone.

3. Time - it took about 8 hours to get to this point. I realize I need to develop the skills, and speed will come with experience, but what is a realistic net labor hours to refurb a storm window and/or double hung window?

4. Glass - any suggestions on where to get glass, whether to cut it myself, whether to replace the glass with plastic alternatives, and how to buy it more economically? Local glass place wants $30 per 24"x30" pane to install, $25 to provide just the glass. HD's prices are a little less, but not much. It seems like there should be some sort of trade dealer or wholesale source to save some money on glass, but I haven't found anyplace yet.

5. One other question. The putty rabbets on the storm windows have a small groove (1/16"?) on the side perpendicular to the face of the glass. I assume this groove is to help secure the putty. Is it essential to fully clean out this groove, or is it OK to leave some old putty in it? It's very difficult to get the putty out of it.

6. The storm windows have a slot on the side faces, near the bottom, with a small metal rod (like a nail) going through it. I suspect that this might have been an attachment method, but don't find any sign of hardware to mate with it. The windows that do have hardware (i.e. the ones the DPO didn't just screw to the windowsill with wood screws) have hooks and eyes. The top of the windows has a tongue that fits into a groove on the window frame.

Guess that's enough for now. Any and all advice, suggestions, encouragement, chastisement, etc. are most welcome.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel your pain.

We salvaged a bunch of lovely lookin' French doors and windows from a Craftsman cabin built in 1912 that we'll be using on our interiors. Clearly, the previous owners thought paint was structural and never scraped or otherwise removed it.

I am proud to say that I haven't broken every pane of glass during my putty removal, only the big pieces. Luckily, I have two friends who are glass artists, one of whom has a wall full of old glass I can have for nothing.

But still, that "ping!" of the glass cracking is a very discouraging sound and I have been known to use strong language when it happens. Did you hear bad words coming from the Pacific Northwest? yes, that was me. I'm sorry if I offended you.

I have accepted my shortcomings and decided that I'd rather replace the glass and treat the sash carefully. The wood is in remarkable shape---old-growth fir underneath deep eaves and generations of paint, and I've found only one bit (a sill) that I just chunked in the burn pile.

Lessons I have learned:

1. Wear safety goggles.

2. Wear a respirator, especially if using any kind of heat. Lead paint is not my friend and I don't need chemical enhancements lowering my IQ. I have scotch for that.

3. Patience.

Best of luck to you.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 73
Location: Western Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:54 am    Post subject: Pictures of the slot and pin Reply with quote

The picture below shows the slot and pin on the storm window. Many of the storm windows have a pair of hook and screw eye fasteners on the bottom, which appears to be the original attachment mechanism (though the prior owner apparently didn't like that and just screwed through the side rails to attach the storms)

Any idea what is the intended purpose of this pin? Some kind of fixture to make installing the storms easier? A means to open the storms for ventilation without removing them? Something else?

storm slot.jpg
The pin is down in the slot
 Filesize:  97.81 KB
 Viewed:  405 Time(s)

storm slot.jpg

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) glass breakage is just part of the learning's especially tough when you get that last little bit of putty out and you hear that dreaded sound of glass very careful removing the pins...i use a heavy 1 1/2" stanley chisel to remove and install glazing remove, place the tip of the chisel (as if you were holding a screwdriver down on the pin) on the pin and push down and away from the frame of the sash....your downward pressure will be supported by the rabbet on which the glass need to have total control of the chisel and 'feel' the pin move out...if the glass is old and you want to reused it, you can if you have windows with smaller panes--just cut it down to size...use a sold flat surface, the saw horses are most likely flexing so you waste your energy....

2) stripping paint from a profile takes time and a lot of've got to get the heat to a perfect place to avoid burning the wood but make sure you are removing the paint...practice, practice, practice....there are scrapers that correspond to profiles or you can make one yourself...personally, i use a 'triangle' scraper for almost everything--except for perhaps wide flat sections...i've been doing this for years so i have aquired the 'touch'....heat and remove the paint off of flat surfaces with a chisel, a putty knife or scraper...when you get to a curved part, break it up into sections--think of the curve as a series of many flat edges placed so as to create a curve, not unlike a round stone/brick scrape a line off the bottom of the curve, then go up a bit and do another line and another until, voila, you have finished the whole curve.
i typically remove most of the paint with the heat gun, go to the next section, remove the paint, etc. ...after removing the majority of the paint, i go back with my scraper and remove the dried paint using the triangle scraper...when that is done, i use 80 grit sandpaper to smooth out the wood....sometimes i will need a tiny chisel, scraper or dental tools to remove paint from details.

3) for a double hung window about 60" x 30",' it can easily take 8-hours to remove the glass and paint then sand both install the glass and putty add another 3-4 hours...for paint (1 primer/2 finish on both sides) add about 2-3 hours

4) that price for flat glass sounds high...i would think it should be about $15...think about calling a local vinyl window installer (yuk!) and let him/her know you will take some sash off his/her hands...tell them what size you're look'll be that many less sash they have to pay to dispose of.....

5) i've seen that slot in storm windows...clean it out the best you can and leave the rest, it won't cause a problem, just make sure you prime the sash with oil primer (i use ben moore or california quick dry oil primer)...i think the idea was for the slot to 'anchor' the bedding putty....

6) another hardware mystery!! it looks as if it was some kind of mechanism to keep the storm in the opening...

good luck!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 73
Location: Western Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, Jade - they were most helpful.

Tried your triangle scraper technique this past weekend, and it was much, much easier.

Now if I could just get the Glazol to cure - it has been 3 weeks and it's still very soft.

Thanks again for all your help.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Nashua, NH

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject: Try the steambox Reply with quote

I just wanted to add that you should definitely build a steambox. Seriously once the whole sash is 'steamed' the old glazing comes right out like you just put it in... points and all. Properly steamed the glazing took me 5 minutes to remove from a 2-up sash set of glass measuring 40 w x 33 tall. I pressed up gently from underneath and the glass popped up like it was sitting in gooey mud. Just lovely.

I was so excited. My wife was watching... she already thought that I was mad for trying to restore the windows but after she saw the first 6 panels painted and ready to go back in she said how great they look.

A labor of love defintely, but well worth it.

Martin (a.k.a. Muffin)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Historic HomeWorks Forum Forum Index -> Windows & Doors  
Post new topic   Reply to topic All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum