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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fun With Windows

Don't'cha just love Ebay? Where else could you find four (count 'em FOUR) British leaded casement windows for $300?
Mind you, I saw plenty of stained glass windows on Ebay, Craigslist, and at local antique places, but a lot of them are incredibly expensive, or else the condition is poor. But these were beautiful and the price was fantastic.
I got two each of this style:
And two each of this style:
Plus this one, which will go in the back of the vardo, over the bed. This one cost $60:
Of course, I didn't want them painted white, so we had to strip 'em. Gads, what a messy job. The interior molding had to be stripped with paint-stripping-goop. By the time I was done with that, I was hot, sweaty, and stinky with paint-thinner. Here is what the windows looked like once I'd done the chemical strip:
There were about four layers of paint on these; white, yellow, green, and white again, and underneath it all, at one time they had originally been stained.

Once I had stripped the molding on the inside, Norm was able to do the flat sides with a sander.
At this point, we realized that the old glazing was falling out in chunks. So, we decided that the glazing should be chiseled out and re-done. We decided to use a more modern material for this, the silicone putty used in modern houses. It's more flexible and would withstand moisture better. Naturally, once the windows had been removed from their frames, we saw that the leading needed repair. Norm tried to do some work on them but he didn't have the right type of equipment. Here's a picture of him working on the windows:

We were very fortunate that we have in Newton a really great stained glass studio, the kind that restores church windows and such: Northeast Stained Glass. The people there were really nice; they soldered the weak spots in the edging for $20 for each window. (We didn't have to repair every one: we got away with doing 3 out of 5.)
Interestingly, the guy at the stained glass place told me that in order to make these windows from scratch it would have cost $1000. (Not sure if he meant $1000 each or $1000 for the two that he happened to be examining at the time.) But still. A pretty damn good deal, if I do say so myself.
As I mentioned, we used a more modern silicone caulk to seal the windows once they'd been nailed in and made secure. Here's a detail picture of the caulking (it already came in brown, we don't even need to paint it):

Once we had re-glazed the windows (or rather, once Norm re-glazed them), it was time for touch up paint, then stain. The touch-up involved covering any recesses that still had white paint in them with brown paint, so that when they were stained it would blend. The painted bits (nail holes, divots and such) just end up looking like a natural blemish in the wood, which is fine if you like the antique look (which I do.)  Lemme tell you, the staining is the easy part! Dip a rag, wipe it on, and ta-da! Here's the windows all nicely stained. What a difference, yes?

All that remains is to put a coat of satin spar-urethane on them. As of this writing, they need to sit for another day or two to dry out a bit more. But I am so pleased with how they came out!
So pleased, in fact, that halfway through all of this effort (about a month's worth of effort, in fact) I realized we'd better make some shutters to put over them for traveling, winter storage, etc. I do NOT want all of our hard work to be done in by a rock from a dump truck or something. We already have an idea how we're going to do the shutters. Probably plywood with two drawer-handles on to make it easy to place them, and maybe window-sash latches to keep them secure. I'll even stain and seal them so they look nice and last awhile.

The next installment won't be so long in coming, and the subject will be:
The Best Laid Plans
Ta, all!

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