In January, craftsmen from Winslow-based Jacobs Glass, Inc. began a months-long project to restore the windows and doors at the Gannett House, a key design element in the 1911 Second Renaissance Revival home.
The window restoration process begins with cataloging the window sashes and removing them according to lead paint safe procedures. Sashes are treated in a steam oven to loosen paint and glazing. The windows are repaired, reglazed, and reinstalled, a process that for completion of the building’s 42 historic windows will take until spring.
During a visit to the shop in Winslow, Executive Director Rebecca Lazure documented (and briefly joined in) the restoration process.
Heat stripping starts in a 1,100 degree oven (the oven is that silver piece of equipment to the right in the picture below). Here, Kyle Joseph and Dan Vachon strip one of the windows from the Gannett House library over a down-draft table that removes all lead paint debris.
Dan then sands the same window over a second down-draft table using hand-sanding techniques in some places to avoid damaging the intricate sash profiles.
A dutchman repair is used when replacement wood needs to be spliced into the sashes. Muntins are the pieces of wood that hold the separate panes of glass in the windows. Any damaged muntin profiles are custom cut to match. Often, the muntins get worn out where the hardware bumps against the window as it moves up and down. Dillon Kendall is careful to match the wood grain carefully in each repair.
Michael Brag uses Flex-Tec, a product that fills any minor gouges, before priming. Flex-Etc can be shaped and molded to any profile and then sanded (though it’s much harder than wood and apparently nobody wants that job).
Then comes priming using an oil-based primer, which is then sanded for a smooth finish.
In the case of the Gannett House windows, more than 90 percent of the original glass is going to be put back into the windows. Each pane will go back into the exact location it was in before the windows were removed from the house. Bob Hall has been glazing windows for more than thirty years. The glazing process requires a steady hand and a good eye. The hand work is done by feel, carefully guiding the glazing into place at just the right angle. By the way, it’s quite a bit harder than it looks.
After curing in a temperature controlled space, the windows are ready for their exterior and interior paint.
We can’t wait to have the windows back installed at the house, but we’ll need to pick a paint color first, more on that process soon.