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Replacing broken sash cords

1 OLDER WINDOWS HAVE SASH WEIGHTS AS COUNTERBALANCES. If the cord holding them breaks, pry off the window stops and remove the lower sash. Cut both cords, and then pry the cover off the weight pocket in the lower end of the window channels. Remove the weight and cut off the cord.

2 TIE A PIECE OF STRING TO A SMALL NAIL AND THE OTHER END TO A NEW SASH CORD. © Drop the nail over the pulley at the top of the window channel and into the weight pocket. Tie this end of the rope to the weight © and pull the cord to raise the weight against the pulley.

3 REST THE BOTTOM SASH ON THE SILL. While holding the sash cord firmly against the side of the window, cut the cord 3 inches beyond the hole in the sash. Knot the sash cord, and wedge the knot in the hole. Replace the pocket cover, put the sash back in place, and reattach the stops.

Repairing A Broken Windowpane

Repairing broken windows is messy but not hard. Chances are you’ll have to repair at least one. Put on a pair of stout leather gloves, remove the broken pane, and measure for a new one. Cut the glass yourself or have a home center or hardware store cut the glass to size. The replacement should be 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch smaller than the opening.

Glazing is the messy part. Traditional compound is a puttylike substance; a modern variation is caulk like. If you’re adept with caulk, this is the route to go. Rest the nozzle (which is square) on the window frame and on the glass, and caulk away. By pulling the trigger gently and taking your time, you’ll get a flat bead that slopes from muntin to windowsill at the perfect angle. If your timing is a little off, you’ll get some extra caulk here and there, which can be difficult to clean up.

Traditional putty has more body and takes direction better. Bed it firmly in the channel, and then create the slope by pulling a putty knife or glazing tool along it. A glazing tool is a bit easier to use. It has two short wings, mounted at an angle to each other, and a short center slot that you rest on the muntin as you work. About all you have to do is keep the angle constant. Whether you use a putty knife or a glazing tool, keep the angle high so that just the tip of the knife travels along the putty. Wipe the tool clean before you start the next side. Paint the putty channel before you install the glass and apply the glaze or caulk. Dry wood will pull the moisture out of the putty and it won’t stick.

The National Glazing Code requires that shatter-resistant panes be used in applications such as doors and sidelights. Let the salesperson know what the glass is for so that you purchase the right type. And if you’re replacing glass in a factory-built window, you may not be able to do so by following the directions below— especially if the glass is double- or triple-paned. The major manufacturers recommend you call your distributor to get the parts you’ll need for repairs. In some cases you’ll need to replace the entire sash.

MATERIALS: Glass, glazing points, glazing compound or caulk, paint

TOOLS: Framing square, glass cutter, heat gun, putty knife, glazing tool, marker or grease pencil, gloves

Cutting glass

1 ALTHOUGH IT’S EASIEST TO HAVE THE STORE CUT GLASS TO SIZE, you can do it yourself. Make sure you have at least 1/2 inch or so between the edge and your cut. Smaller cuts are extremely difficult. Put the glass on a flat surface padded with several layers of newspaper.

2 DRAW A LINE WITH A MARKER OR A GREASE PENCIL, indicating where you want the cut. A framing square will help ensure a square cut.

3 MAKE A SINGLE, FIRM PASS ALONG THE LAYOUT LINE using a glass cutter guided along a straightedge. The cutter will score the glass, rather than cut through it. Put the scored line along the edge of the framing square, and then tap along the scored line with the butt end of a glass cutter to snap it free.

Installing new glass

1 MOST WINDOWS CAN BE REPAIRED WHILE THEY ARE STILL IN THE FRAME, but if you're removing the window for other repairs, it's a bit easier to work on a table or workbench. Start by putting on heavy leather work gloves and removing the loose pieces of broken glass.

2 SOFTEN THE OLD PUTTY WITH A HEAT GUN, BEING CAREFUL NOT TO SCORCH THE WOOD. Scrape away the soft putty with a putty knife and remove the remaining glass. Small pieces of metal that hold the glass in place—called glazing points—probably remain in the frame. Pry them out with a putty knife or pull them out with pliers. Wire-brush the channel to completely remove the old putty, and sand the grooves to clean them.

3 PAINT THE BARE WOOD WITH AN OIL-BASED PAINT, or coat it with linseed oil, so that the new putty will stick. (Bare wood pulls the moisture out of the putty, making it too dry to adhere.)

4 PUT A THIN BEAD OF GLAZING COMPOUND IN THE CHANNEL THAT HOLDS THE GLASS. Press the replacement pane into the compound, bedding it. Press in new glazing points every 10 inches with the tip of a putty knife or glazing tool. Avoid pushing the glazing points toward the glass; the pressure may break the pane.

5 IF USING A PUTTYLIKE GLAZING COMPOUND, ROLL A BALL OF IT BETWEEN YOUR FINGERS TO MAKE A LONG THICK NOODLE. Press the noodle against the glass and the side of the channel. Set it firmly with the tip of a putty knife or glazing tool. If using a caulk like glazing compound, put it in a caulking gun and poke a hole in the seal. (The nozzle is already shaped and need not be cut open.) Move the tip along the glass, applying even pressure to the trigger.

6 SMOOTH THE GLAZING COMPOUND WITH A GLAZING TOOL OR WET PUTTY KNIFE. Position the notched end of the glazing tool so that one edge rests on the glass and the other rests on the wood and pull to the corners. Let the compound dry as directed on its container; clean away excess, then paint.

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