Above: A heat shield commonly used by plumbers while soldering joints helped me save the old glass in this fixed window. You can see the putty scraped easily off the rabbet just above the tape.
Over the weekend, I did myself proud by removing rock-hard glazing putty from a fixed window without breaking the glass. This makes me silly-happy because the opportunities for crashing glass were many:
- The heat gun seemed the surest way to loosen the old putty, but heat can cause the glass to crack.
- The windows bible, Working Windows by Terry Meany, advises patching old, hard, cracked putty instead of taking the risk of removing it and cracking the glass.
- That guy I live with thought it was nuts of me to take the long, treacherous path.
- I banged my scraper against the glass more than a couple times in figuring out the correct ratio of push to restraint in scraping off the putty.
But even with all these reasonable arguments, I went with my gut because, frankly, I think I’m the craziest devotee this house is likely to have in this century. The likelihood of one of my brothers or sisters in restoration buying this house in the future is slim. So it was up to me to save this window.
I will say it’s much more difficult to do this on a fixed window than on one that can be removed and worked at on a flat surface at your leisure. Doing this one meant balancing on a crate on a makeshift scaffold.
It meant noticing there was no sun to keep me warm. It meant getting the job done slowly and discouragingly on the day before the rain came.
But I’m so glad I took the chance. While I was searching for Sherwin Williams 66 glazing compound today (having remembered I’d meant to look for that type), I found a Web site that has a really nice rundown on the steps in this process.
As shown at the top of this entry, one tool I used to keep the glass intact was a heat shield that plumbers commonly use. Another was a heat shield that came with my Wagner heat gun. Neither of these were my idea—my clever cohort and other old house enthusiasts thought of these first.
Mostly for my own future reference, I want to note that I used this Zinsser primer.
And Dap 33 glazing compound.
I do still want to look into that Sherwin Williams 66. I’ve got plenty more opportunities to check it out, though!