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# The physics of reglazing

## The physics of reglazing

#1
03-20-01, 09:09 PM
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Hi. We broke a pane in the back door, and got the reglazing instructions from the site here. However, nowhere is it stated how a pane of glass is supposed to fit into an opening SMALLER than itself. This house is over 100 years old and the windowpane frame is ... weird. There is a 1/8" - 1/4" groove all round the inside of the frame, in which rested the old pane of glass. There was very old putty in there, but the glass itself was actually inside the groove, as we saw when we removed the broken bits. There are no apparent extra parts to the frame itself, nothing to remove that isn't part of the door. It seems the new pane would need to be big enough to fit in the groove, but if that's the case, then it won't fit through the frame itself first, since glass doesn't bend. I understand that the putty will help hold it in, but then, what's with the groove?? Should we just measure the glass according to the reglazing instructions from this site, which will give us a piece of glass smaller than the opening it's supposed to go into, and then glop it full of putty and cross our fingers?

After agonizing over the apparent physical impossibilty of fitting a large pane into a small hole, we're thinking of getting a glazer over here. Either that or haul ourselves off to the funny farm for the mathematically challenged -- unless, of course, you have some idiot-proof advice. Thanks!

#2
03-21-01, 01:26 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: massachusetts
Posts: 571
I have come across newer windows that are assembled with the glass in place such as you describe. The frames are sometimes week so removing one side of the wood mullion and adding putty is sometimes the best solution. As far as your door is concerned........... Measure the opening the glass will fit through and deduct a 1/16 inch. Add the depth of the bottom groove to the vertical measurement and then putty. It should work as long as their is a backing support for the glass. Also Code here in MA specifies that safety glass must be used in all replacement in doors. I do not know if this is Federal or State by state.

[Edited by StephenS on 03-21-01 at 02:45]

#3
03-21-01, 06:21 AM
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I guess the biggest part of the problem is that there are no mullions and the groove is so deep. Also, the measurements of the opening are off by nearly 1/2" from the top to the bottom, and almost 1/8" from side to side. What fun. Thanks for replying, though, and if I don't hear from anyone else on this forum with a magic answer then we shall call a glazer. Thanks again.

#4
03-21-01, 12:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: massachusetts
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Hi Bean, I had edited the above post which is now edited thought it didn't go through for some reason.
Any way.. One more thing you might want to look at is that Most older doors have wood stops that hold in the glass. Usually they have been painted so many times that they look to be part of the door. The only way to find them is to either strip the paint or run a utility knife on the outside of the stop at the bottom of the groove and see if the wood gives. Usually the removable stop is on the inside of the door. If your saying that the the frame is out of square by 1/2 inch then the glass can be cut by an experienced glazier to fit. If you DIY, make a template with a piece of carboard and bring it to a shop.
Good Luck
Steve

[Edited by StephenS on 03-21-01 at 08:23]

#5
03-21-01, 05:12 PM
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Aha! Thank you, Steve! That makes sense, about adding in for the bottom groove, so the glass has at least one surface to rest on (and yes, it's way out of square, as is everything in this house). Also, I was wondering if the door is probably as you've said, with wood stops that now seem to be part of the frame because of age and overpainting. We've hesitated to chip away at it since this is an apratment, not our house, and the whole place is falling apart as it is. There are three other panes in this apartment that have been broken since before we moved in, but I've hesitated to tell the landlord since every time he tries to fix something here, he makes it worse and breaks something else to go with it. He did try to fix one of the panes a couple years ago: he masked it over with tons of packing tape and glue!! (He's very old and eccentric.) We would rather DIY or pay a glazer to do this since the landlord may end up breaking more panes and removing entire windows and who knows what else in his quest to "fix" something.

We'll take another look at this problem but may not be able to work on it until next weekend. Either way -- if we call a glazer or manage it ourselves -- I'll drop a line here. Thanks again!

#6
04-17-01, 08:56 PM
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After tearing our hairs out, we called a few glazers for estimates. We decided to have the other three broken windows fixed as well. The first place gave us an estimate (after nearly a week's wait) of \$264. I called a few other places and they said they couldn't do much better. The last place I called, the guy said they could come over right away and look at the job. He did. He called me 20 minutes after he'd left, with an estimate of \$119. He came back two days later and did all four panes in an hour, and they look great. He was willing to put in regular, not safety glass, which helped the price a lot. He also pointed out that the "frame" around the panes was actually carved putty. And, he mentioned he'd fixed one of the attic window sills that had been loose.

Good old-fashioned service.

#7
04-18-01, 06:34 PM
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"He was willing to put in regular, not safety glass, which helped the price a lot."

He is probably in violation of the safety glazing law. (I'm sure your State has a law) The only time you could have a problem is if someone is injured and sues you and can prove that the glass was replaced after the safety glazing law was in effect.

#8
04-18-01, 07:56 PM
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Yes, I know he's in violation. But I agreed to it since all the glass in this house is about 100 years old, and the landlords don't care what we do here as long as they don't have to pay for it. If I could have done it myself I would have put in regular glass too, so I agreed when he suggested it since he won't be reporting this job on his books ... and neither will I.