Steambox Deglazing
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D. Trowbridge



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Williamsburg,VA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:39 am    Post subject: Steambox Deglazing Reply with quote

John,

Wanted to let you know how pleased I was with the May workshop at APM Museum. It is always great to be humbled and come away knowing so much more as a result.

I'm gearing up to build a steambox. I have my steamer purchased off e-bay, and am ordering the rest of my materials today. The other fellows seemed genuinely excited over the prospects of quicker, cleaner removal of the glazing & paint on the sashes we repair.

Just a footnote: I gave the June safety meeting for the maint. area. Did an overview of our lead policy with emphasis on "if you don't care about yourself, at least practice safe removal to insure the safety of your children, grandchildren, family, friends and co-workers.

Thanks again for a great 3 days!

Dale Trowbridge
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation &
D. Trowbridge & Associates

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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2924
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale:

It's good to hear you are carrying the safety word back home, and about your steam box progress.

Be sure to keep up with the latest on Steam Paint Removal discussion here on the Forum:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=133


Also see my article in the current (May-June '06) Old House Journal on Steam Paint Removal:

http://www.oldhousejournal.com/magazine/2006/june/Get-speed.shtml


plus, today I'm finishing up a new Practical Restoration Report from the Field, titled "Steam Paint Removal," 21 pages showing how I use the method for portable spot paint removal, and how I make steam heads, the science behind the method, and profiling three projects. This new report is available now for $15. (black & white, loose leaf, stapled):

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Steam

Take care, work safe and keep in touch.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:10 am    Post subject: Recent Adaptations Reply with quote

Recent Steam Box Adaptations

To reduce "threading" or scruffing of the wood surface, you must reduce the cause of the scruffing, which is, in part, the liquid water that is soaking into the surface of bare wood that is exposed to the steam. For example, try operating your steam box vertically, so the sashes are vertical during steaming. In this way, the liquid water will run off the surface of the wood, allow the latent heat in the steam to transfer to the paint more readily, and reduce the amount of liquid water that is soaking into the surface of the wood. When you are placing a sash in the steam box that has a lot of bare wood exposed on the lower rail, place the sash in the box so the lower rail is up. This way there will be less liquid water dribbling down onto the bare wood surfaces.

Also, more steam and less air during steaming are good strategies for reducing the length of the steam time and scruffing. You have to effeciently displace the air in the steam box with steam. Try putting the steam hose in at the top of the box and setting up a "port" (small opening about the same size as the diameter of the hose) at the bottom of the steam box, and keep it open at the beginning of the steam cycle to let the air out of the box as it fills with steam from the top down. When the steam gets down to the port, close it up. In this way the steam fills the box from the top down, effeciently displacing the air with steam. Otherwise the steam and air tend to get mixed together, which means a good part of the heat energy in the steam is "wasted" as it condenses within the cooler air.

Also, I happen to have two steamers here, and when I run them both into one steam box the steaming time is shorter, the paint is softer, the wood surface is less saturated and there is less scruffing. This is confirmed by other shops running two of the 1500watt steamers into one box.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There may be an advantage to leaving the exhaust port open throughout the steaming cycle. During steaming, the cooler air/steam mixture is settling down to the bottom of the box. With the port open this cooler mixture is forced out of the box by the hotter steam coming in at the top. This effect would be reinforced with a vertical orientation of the steam box.

This is confirmed by my steam science buddies, but I will not be able to try it out until later in the summer. If you do try this please post the results here.

Making adaptions like this to improve effectiveness is one of the significant benefits of the low-cost make-it-yourself steam box approach.

Take care, work safe and keep in touch.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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Muffin



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

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject: Steambox deglazing Reply with quote

I am building my steambox this weekend and am planning on using it vertically to minimize the scruffing, as noted by John Leeke. Also I have bought a small corner bend plastic pipe that I plan on installing through the lower area somewhere to use as a steam port. Then once I see the steam blowing through at a good pace (once the steam has filled from top to bottom) I'll stick a cork in it.

I am making a fairly large size box because I found someone who was giving away some large sash panels which measure about 44 w x 36 t. I need the glass to have on hand if I have problems removing my glass from my 40 w x 33 t sash.

I'll attach a picture with a report how the steambox works vertically with the port at the bottom.

BTW I successfully talked my friend into keeping his original windows. He was just about to have them replaced until I showed him what I was doing to restore mine. More windows saved from the landfill!

Regards to all,
Martin
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin:

This sounds good. Do keep us posted on your progress.

Could you tell us more of the story about your friend keeping his windows?

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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Muffin



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

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:06 pm    Post subject: Friendly Persuasions Reply with quote

Yes John,

Recently my wife were invited to a housewarming. Our friends had bought a nice house in North Reading. They showed us around and the house had a good amount of character. I would estimate the house was built around 1920 and has many double-hung windows. In particular, the kitchen had lovely light with a sets of three, smaller sash windows then a large square bay made out of four adjoining. I don't want to go on and on, but the house felt very comfortable with most of the character coming from the windows.

One of the first things my friend said was that they were planning on having replacement windows installed and were gathering bids.

At the time, I had just started restoring my own sashes in my 1896 Victorian, and was horrified that their windows would be going to waste. They looked in pretty good shape with standard aluminium storms.

They were set on having them replaced so I told them to please let me have the windows when they were removed because I had broken several pieces of period glass and would love to recycle some of his. They said no problem at all.

That was about 2 months ago. Since then I have been working on my restoration techniques and as mentioned before am building a steambox this weekend to hopefully supercharge my efforts and lower my breakage rate. I have 38 sashes to do and only have four completed (stripped, primed, reglazed and repainted) and another 10 in various stages of stripping and painting. I have been lucky enough to find a couple of sources for salvage windows with wavy glass so I have around a dozen extra sashes right now in various sizes that all need to be deglazed also.

I spoke to my friend just last week and urged him to consider restoring rather than replacing. Luckily they still hadn't moved ahead with replacements. I passed on some of my findings, and told him to come up one weekend and I would show him how to deal with replacing ropes and adding spring-bronze to at least take care of some of his rattling/missing rope issues. Then if he wanted I said I would show him what I was doing to completely restore the sashes including reglazing and fixing frames with epoxy etc etc.

I'm glad to report that he is just about to order his new Harvey Tru-Channel storms and I'm going to help with some of the other issues. Then when he wants to undertake it, he's going to do a full restore. No doubt by then I can loan him some of my equipment.

So that's the story. I'm happy to say I have saved his windows aswell as my own!

Regards,
Martin
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and the 'hero of the month' award goes to.......MUFFIN aka martin!!!!!!

thanks!
...jade
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Muffin



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

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:47 am    Post subject: Steamy Weekend Reply with quote

I'm happy to report that I built my modified (Dave Bowers design) steambox this weekend. The SB-X48 :) is a 48 x 48 unit powered by a 1500 watt, 1.5 gallon capacaity fabric steamer from Amazon for $99. It ran on one fillup for approximately 4.5 hours during which time a cleaned up about 7 panes of glass previously extracted from frames but still wielding old hard putty, and totally deglazed and stipped two large sashes.

Dave's design was great. The only mods I made was to use some older thicker Tuff-R I had left over from a project mixed with one sheet of new. I also sealed most of the joins with 3 inch Nashua foil tape. Also I added a strong rubber band to the front to hold the door sealed tight as I hadn't mounted the draw catches tight enough. And if you look closely towards the right rear you can see my steam escape pipe. Once I saw steam coming out of that, I plugged it with a cork. That way I could tell if the box had filled from top to bottom with steam.

Due to the large size of the steam box (made specifically for the largest windows I have) I figured that the box would take a while to fill with steam so I used some large pieces of polystyrene packing to fill the larger voids if the item(s) I was steaming were smaller. This seemed to work well and in fact I used polystyrene blocks to stack sashes rather than making wooden tees which also worked well. I also angled the sashes diagonally left to right so the water would run off them to avoid scruffing. I was going to use the steam box vertically but due to its size and the length of my arms, I talked myself out of it.

Thanks to all who have covered this topic. The steambox worked perfectly... as advertised! Next weekend my goal is to deglaze and strip between four and six more sashes and work further on units already stipped. Thanks Dave and John!

Martin



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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking steam box, plus it works!

What is the maker and model number of your steamer?

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Muffin



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

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: Fabric Steamer Reply with quote

Hi John,

It's the SteamFast Professional Fabric Steamer made by Top Innovations. Model SF-465. It has a 1.5 gallon capacity but also has a large opening in the top that you can open and refill during steaming. I'm using distilled water in it to cut down on maintenance. 1500 watts.

I bought it from Amazon for $99 plus shipping but after looking a few days ago they seem to have increased the price to $139. Still good value and works really well. In the box there is an ad to buy a kit of attachments for $49 that turn it into a steam cleaner for other applications which may be useful in many other ways.

I use a zip tie to keep the finger trigger open and keep constant steam flowing.

Cheers,
Martin
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sswiat



Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 231
Location: Cambria, New York

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:41 pm    Post subject: Vertical Steam Box Reply with quote

I decided to build my newest Dave B. steamer vertically. I built it this way to limit the space requirements in my new smaller shop. It stacks neatly against a wall and takes up approximately 3 sf of floor space instead of 12 sf ( 36 X 48 X 12"). To seperate the sash I ran 1/2" EMT conduit vertically. I also ran some shorter pieces on the bottom to keep the sash off the Tuff-R thus reducing damage to the foil face. I can fit 3 sash in at one time.

The staem is supplied through the back with the Jiffy Steamer. I disassembled the hand held unit and insterted it into the back of the unit. I then reattach the hose with a band clamp.

The unit heats up into the 203 F. range in a fairly short time.

I have noticed a great improvement in the sash not being soaking wet. They are actually moderately damp upon removal but not soaking as happens on the horizontal application. The glass is no longer catching the condensation from the steam.

I also use the Nashua foil tape as it is waterproof and appears unaffected by the steam. It is great for patching any tears in the foil.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seriously, though.....that's a great idea steve!

as a compulsively neat person, the water on the sash creates a big mess and makes me a bit nutty....

for folks like martin who just made a new steam box, fear not, it still offers a significant advantage over other methods, especially for removing glazing putty.....

...jade
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Muffin



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

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject: Vertical vs horizontal Reply with quote

The beauty of Dave's design is that you can use it either way. I'll definitely be using mine vertically this weekend on some larger panels. I'll have to remember to wear a long sleeved shirt though because of the steam moving upwards.

Cheers,
Martin
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'll have to remember to wear a long sleeved shirt though because of the steam moving upwards.


When I taught the windows training session in Vermont earlier this year I adapted the steam box Dave made for me. I made a door on the back end, which we opened up first so the big cloud of steam is exhausted far away from the worker, who then opens up the front door to remove the sash. This is much safer for the worker. We set up the box so the blast of steam went directly outdoors through a partially opened garage door.

I made the back door just like the front door, except that it opens by a lever above the front door, which can be operated by the worker at the front of the box. I also though of installing a 10 or 12" diameter pipe vent at the back of the box to vent outdoors. The back door idea seemed easier to implement since it used the same materials as the front door.

We were operating the box horizontally. With vertical orientation the pipe vent might make more sense.

This adaptability is one of the real advantages of Dave's steam box design.

I like Steve's idea of a plastic pipe rack inside. I can imagine improving the bottom of the rack by using a set of 3 or 4 smaller diameter pipes set and fixed in place perpenticular to the sash, and then adding a loose section of larger pipe on each one so the larger pipes act like rollers when you slide in the sash--makes for sliding the sash in and out easier.

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought


Last edited by johnleeke on Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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