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Windows? Again?

July 27, 2010

Holy smokes will we ever stop talking about the windows?!

Here’s a bit of perspective – over the past weekend we went to BAB to pick up a pane of glass from the windows, to clean it up and then measure it to start looking into some replacements. (The majority of panes are either cracked/broken, or plastic.) So I brought the 15″x24″ pane into the office today to see if any of my fellow architects had some recommendations on a good supplier – the sample pane I had in hand was a vintage WIRED fire safety glass which started some side discussions. But the kicker was this question: “Does anybody know where I can get a good deal on SEVEN HUNDRED panes of glass like this?”  As most issues, BAB is all about scale.

Bad news though: I placed the wired glass pane at my desk, later walked past it and tapped it with my foot and as I was walking away… “CRACK!” – the pane fell over and splintered in several places. Not cool.

And this is supposed to suppress FIRE?

But enough about the stupid pane of glass.

One of the nasty tasks that needs to get done soon is refinishing the windows for the apartment. While it’s undesirable, we’ve asked Franco to spearhead that project, now that the security gate is done. He worked on it some last week; and during phone call updates he grumbled about the work – I don’t blame him. He had a friend helping him out, but it still sucked. I can add that we (okay, mostly ME) added an additional difficulty – since we want the original galvanized finish back, I told him that he can only use plastic or non-marring tools on the metal, as the galvanized coating can be scratched off.

Sue & I stopped by over the weekend to unload some items we took to Florida on our vacation a couple of weeks ago, and to check out the overall progress. (Oh yeah – and to pick up a pane of glass… quite a circular story, huh?)

Franco had a couple of sashes up on sawhorses – and stripper/paint mess everywhere. They looked pretty good. Here’s a pic:

Window frame stripping in progress...

It looks messy but compared to the “before”, it’s great.

Then this afternoon, Franco called me with an update. Instead of any grumbling about the nasty stripping work, he simply asked: “Have you guys considered just sending the sashes out to a stripping company?”

I told him I could call my favorite stripper place. (BEHAVE!) Which I did. They gave me an estimate, and told me they were open late tonight. Hmmm… maybe I could leave the office around 5:30 and get down to BAB with the BAT and take a sash over to the stripper.

I called Franco back and asked him if there were any sashes left that they hadn’t touched yet. Yes, there was one. He then explained that the panes were very difficult to get out – he thought he and his buddy took three hours to clear out six panes. (Okay, maybe my fault again, I told him that if a pane wasn’t cracked, then we were either reusing it, or if plastic, I wanted to salvage it for future projects. So they couldn’t just willy-nilly smash out the panes.) He said that the vintage glazing putty was so hard that the corner panes were seriously stuck into the frame.

So I buzzed home ASAP, changed clothes, said hello-goodbye to Mary and zipped down to BAB in the truck.  I found the untouched sash, removed the metal mullions in a few minutes, and the two center panes of glass came out easily just as Franco explained. But those corner pieces – HOLY CRAP! – it was like somebody super-glued them into the corner of the frame. I used the pointy linoleum scrapers to try and scrape out the glazing putty. (Oh, that’s EIGHTY YEAR OLD glazing putty!) After an hour I had all but one corner piece left. Time was running out – dude at stripper place said he’d be there until 7:00 or so tonight.

I worked on that last pane with a fervor. Tried the putty knife. Banged on it a few times with my fist. Tugged and pulled. Still no budging. Scraped some more. Flipped the sash over. Scrape again. Bang bang bang. No go. Even broke the blade of one of the linoleum knives. (In case you don’t know what a linoleum knife is – click here.) I used my grinding wheel to sharpen the linoleum blade. Helped a little – but still won’t budge. Sheesh!

It was getting close to stripper closing time (BEHAVE!) so I called him and asked what time he was leaving; said he’d be there another half hour, and I asked him if I left a pane of glass in the sash if it would cause a problem. (I also explained the pain-in-the-ass work to remove them.) We both agreed that maybe the chemicals would dissolve the glazing compound. Worth a shot.

So I buzzed over in the BAT from the BAB to the stripper place. With a sash.

Stripper dude took the window sash, said I was the only reason his door was still open (?) and I had to sign some papers for the order. He said he’d have it done in a week. I showed him a pic of the building and told him that this would be a good test – because we had over SIXTY windows like this and will be coming back for more…

Lots of windows...

Lots of windows...

In case you’re wondering, my fingers are still smarting from the previous window weight-smashing incident. I’ve never had a part of my body turn BLACK on me until now.

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