Glazier’s glee

This evening I have a tale of success following failure and how even my most basic instincts don’t always kick in—to the detriment of a beautiful piece of old, wavy glass. But the good news first:


That piece of glass, which is going to live in the top sash of the north window on the east side of the first floor of my house, is intact! After being cut to size from a larger pane that my father decided to ditch when he (cringe) replaced the old windows on his 1915 house. I brought that sash and two others to my house a couple years back because I was about to start renovating my windows and because the glass in his was uber-wavy. I found out in trying to remove it that it was also thicker than my glass and still fitted snugly in its sashy station. I’m used to removing glass from cracked, falling-out putty; this stuff was tight and put up a fight. Having got both panes out, the man of the house and I set to cutting them to fit our sashes that had broken glass when we got here. I was too chicken to try, having been convinced I was going to break the glass in removing it. So he, who had successfully cut glass before, gave it a go. And things were going well enough until the final cut, when the pane exhibited a rebellious streak—sideways, ruining the piece for our hopeful use. So we didn’t even try on the second pane and thought maybe we’d take it to a professional in the neighborhood who we’d gone to when it came time to replace a glass shelf in my 1948 Hotpoint refrigerator. In the meantime, I searched the Old House Web boards and Google for tips on cutting wavy glass. And this is the point where I don’t understand myself because I usually research the bejeezus out of everything before taking any action. I found the advice to clean only the line to be cut with mineral spirits and to use the beady back end of the glass cutter to bang the back of the cut before setting the glass back on the table and snapping it down to take off the excess piece. None of these things had we done when we tried to cut the first pane. So I got curious, did a test run on one of the ruined pieces and decided to try again. And it worked!

The worst breakage we got was this little bit of cratering and uneven edges, which were easily cleaned up later with a diamond bit on the Dremel tool:



So here’s the newly cut piece in its new home, along with the rebellious piece on top:


So I’m just going to go ahead and be pleased about the second piece and chalk up the first piece to education (it’s also good for my co-worker who has a broken pane in a multi-light sash and has been looking for wavy glass to replace it).  Next time: Stick with my usual inclination of research first!

This entry was posted in cutting glass, destruction, mistakes, rebuilding, wavy glass, windows and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Glazier’s glee

  1. Patricia W. says:

    My hat is off to you on rebuilding the windows. i successfully rebuilt one of the windows in my house. Lord it took some time (the lower sash was in terrible condition with severe rot) but I got it done. Sadly, I’m planning on replacing all of them with vinyl. I have 18 in this house, every single one needs lots of TLC, there are no original storm windows and no screens. It would take me forever to get the windows where I want them plus build storms and screens and then I have to think about cleaning them and putting them up and down each year and I’m no spring chicken (see how I’m justifying this). If this house had been in better shape, and more of it’s orignal self remained, I would have opted to keep the windows. I hate giving in and replacing them but I just don’t have the time and I’m sick of windows that won’t work properly. I think every effort should be made to keep things original though.

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