Monday, January 18, 2021

Window restoration: A panestaking task

By Joanne Uris, Great Camp Sagamore

Even if snow removal isn’t necessary this winter (yeah, right!), Great Camp Sagamore’s Director of Facilities, and Assistant Caretaker, will have plenty of indoor work to keep them busy. Ted and Richard are restoring seventy windows in the Chalet and the Carpenter and Boat Shop.

The labor-intensive process for each window consists of six steps: strip existing paint and glazing, prime, reglaze, prime new glazing, paint two coats.

At the start of the project, it took a minimum of one hour to deglaze each window.  Chipping away at the glazing, and using a heat gun, resulted in occasional breakage of glass.  Twelve windows in, there had to be a more efficient way.

YouTube to the rescue!  Ted fabricated a steam box to be used for stripping the windows.  Now, a window is placed in the box and the steamer is turned on.  In less than an hour,  the paint and glazing practically falls off, without jeopardizing the historic glass and the wood sash frames.  This method is also time-efficient, as a window can be stripped while another is in the steamer. Click here to see a video of the restoration in action.

Does anyone want to venture a guess how many windows there are at camp?  Let’s just say that this will be an ongoing and worthwhile project, as a finished window should last at least a decade before needing reglazing.

We can’t wait to show off our restored windows and share a demonstration of our window steamer box in 2021!

At left is a photo of one of the newly refurbished and glazed windows installed at Great Camp Sagamore. (It’s the all-green window).

Joanne Uris is the Gateway Manager for Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake.

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at [email protected]

5 Responses

  1. Duncan Mackey says:

    Great timing. This Old House is currently doing a restoration and addition on a house in Rhode Island and last month used steaming on windows that were in the Historic area.

  2. Boreas says:

    “…as a finished window should last at least a decade before needing reglazing.”

    This is a little misleading. These windows should be able to go several decades before “reglazing” is necessary. How long has it been since they were last reglazed?? They WILL however require routine painting/inspection/maintenance every 5-10 years – often depending on which direction the window faces and whether storm windows are used.

    Good quality wooden windows should always be reconditioned/reused whenever possible – regardless of age. They were made with excellent quality old-growth, fine-grain wood that is almost impossible to find today. I abhor the cheap “disposable” vinyl-clad windows that are designed to last 30 years yet start failing after 15 or 20 years. They are time-savers, at best.

  3. Ed says:

    Be sure to click on the 12 second window restoration video , it’s really informative .

  4. John Leeke says:

    So good to see they are saving the windows. Can you share what video they found on youtube that inspired their use of the steam box? (Or, help me get in touch with Ted and Richard?)

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