Thursday, June 13, 2024

Blue Like Glass

A couple of years ago when I was in my first "let's learn to glaze windows" phase, I dry-fit* six glass panes into a sash and abruptly realized that one of them was blue.  I can't find that photo, so here is a new (less interesting) photo showing a "blue" pane (left) next to a "clear" pane (right).

Given my previously blogged mix and match glass storage strategy, glazing windows now requires an extra analysis step of "are all 6 panes the same color?"

And then on Tuesday, while glazing a sash, Dad and I cracked a clear pane.  I was able to replace it from the glass pile, but it means some future sash will be missing a pane.

In anticipation of this day, I have been collecting old windows from other people's houses (when I can get them for free), specifically for the antique glass.  Of course, it's unlikely that the glass panes from those windows will exactly match the size of glass panes that I need, and they will need to be cut down.

My previous attempts at glass cutting ended badly.  I watched all the YouTube videos and bought tools and tried the various techniques and couldn't get anything that resembled a straight line, so I went to Home Depot and bought new glass.  

But in the choice between learning to cut or spending money, (for once) Dad and I decided we would try again to learn.  We cleared a table in the shop and laid out some practice glass and got started breaking them.  

It only took a few curved breaks and some adjustment of the glass cutter, before Dad got some good clean lines.  I eventually did too, but not as consistently as Dad.  (Not pictured is the jar of shards and cast offs.)

Here is the video evidence that Dad figured it out.

So now when the inevitable breakage occurs, we have more replacement options!


*I laid 6 panes of glass out in the sash without any glazing putty, just to make sure the glass would fit the openings.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

A Place For Everything

No one who knows me has every accused me of being tidy.  I live in what could politely be called "controlled chaos".  Clean dishes do get put away a couple of times a week, but for everything else my method of organization is to "put it over there until I get around to it later".  "Leave no flat surface uncovered" is my motto!  

I may also have a tendency to hoard.

I recognize these as areas for personal growth.

But when it comes to big house projects - and especially big house projects that other people (my dad) are volunteering to help with - it really benefits everyone for there to be space to work and the ability to find the things you need.

Here's what I'm up against in the window shop.

Today is Shop Organizing Day during which I will mostly be grouping objects by function.  Things that cut go in one place.  Everything paint related goes somewhere else.  Small smooth and pointy things go in one jar.  Small spirally and pointy things go in a different jar.  Tools like the vinyl floor tile cutter which I will probably never use again may go into the basement.  

I haven't yet decided what I'm going to do with the shopping cart (not pictured).

In my defense, I started a larger organizing effort several days ago with the library, where there are many shelves (flat surfaces!!) and therefore many opportunities for things to be forgotten.  My library clean up goals were two-fold.  

First, the shortest path between the guest room and the kitchen is through the library and it's generally good manners to reduce the trip hazards for your guests (especially when they are helping you out with house projects). 

Second, the library is the home of my glass collection - not just the large collection of assorted alcohol bottles, but also the collection of antique glass that has previously been removed from windows around the house.

Any experienced window restorer will tell you that labeling things - every window sash, every pane of glass in every sash - is really foundational for getting the pieces to fit back together again.  Which is why none of these panes are labeled and it's a complete crap shoot whether they go back into the same sashes they came out of or not.  (In my defense, I got bad advice about this and didn't realize until it was too late.)

But here, dear Reader, I offer you a sign that I am growing personally.  Here are three panes of glass which I removed from storm windows which I hope to restore over the coming weeks and which I have labeled!  And put into the library with their fellows of unknown origin.

So now, spurred on by these new heights of organization... I venture once again into the shop.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

We(lding) Solved a Problem!

If you ever have a difficult problem to solve (like, let's say, a lot of deteriorated wood windows), and you just *need* some motivation to get started solving it, the only reasonable thing to do is shop. 

Usually I start my motivational shopping with books, but I've already got half a dozen window restoration books - the Scott Sidler, the John Leeke, the Steve Jordan, the Scott Hansen. (If you know who they are, you have old windows, too!  Hi, Friend!) 

I needed something else.

And that's why I now own a pair of beautiful bright blue leather welding gloves. 

No. You don't weld wood windows. (Silly Rabbit!) 

You put wood windows in the Steam Stripper. 

And after the steam has done some stripping, you have to get the windows out again. 

Without stripping anything else - like your skin. 

And that's why I have these welding gloves. They solve a (hypothetical) sub-problem of the larger problem!

How motivational!

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sleeping Dogs

The dogs are sleeping.  

It's 7:30 and I accept that I'm not going to accomplish anything else today.  Which has left me time to read back through blog posts of yore.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Because of hip dysplasia, Little Man no longer always feels like tackling the stairs to the backyard, and so I am taking him out on the leash.  This week it has been a good excuse to walk around the house to check in with the roofers who are lining my new wooden gutter with copper.

The gutter seem to be doing its job.  I can tell, because it's currently raining.

I would like to say that in the five years since my last post I have discovered that I have an aptitude for DIY and home management and the house has been transformed into a thing of wonderous historic beauty.  But I respect you too much to lie to you, Reader.  I am the least qualified old house owner on the planet.

In fact, my current "project" is to perform a full inventory of all the care and investments that the house needs so I can rank each item by urgency and cost and see what I can reasonably afford to pay other more qualified people to do over the next five to ten years.  This is a disheartening project.  The scope of my ignorance and the sheer quantity of peeling paint and water stains overwhelms me.  

"Nevertheless, she persisted."

The first inventory task is windows.  A full review of each window, its current condition and the relative urgency of repairs.

At this point, anyone who knows me in real life will be saying..... "Wait, what?  Still?  With the windows?"

Yes, dear Reader.  Still, with the windows.  There are, after all, about 65 of them, in various states of disrepair.  And several of them have been disassembled and then abandoned by repair men and the sashes are now just laying uselessly about the house (like the dogs).   

So I have resolved to tackle the windows myself.

For the next 6 weeks, except for hours spent working, eating, sleeping, walking the dogs and generally procrastinating, the next 6 weeks of my life are dedicated to window restoration and general planning.

What can I accomplish, now that I have set my mind to it?

Oh look.  It's time for bed.