Refinishing Windows

In the meantime, while waiting for the roof trusses and building to resume, I’ve been refinishing windows I took from my grandmother’s abandoned farmhouse. After being told I couldn’t use old windows in a new build, I discovered I could and have pushed for them. The builder is now happy to use them, and I’m happy to be using something of real value and to save myself the $12,000 new Loewen windows would have cost.

Five sets of double hung windows, two storm window frames, one bay window set, and two smaller ‘bathroom’ windows.

So, now the job of refinishing them. They’re in quite good condition – only the outside sills are greyed and need sanding. Otherwise, with a good wash, replacement of putty, and cleaned glass they could be installed right away. But, they are painted white on the inside and I want natural wood. So, I have to also strip the paint. Turns out it is likely milk paint and is proving difficult to remove.

Beautiful upper sash with intact glass.

I’m following John Leeke’s method and have ordered his book “Save America’s Windows”. I can’t get some of the materials he recommended

in Canada, so I’ve ordered Allback linseed putty and will use boiled linseed oil and turpentine to ‘condition’ the more exposed parts of the frames.

I’m removing the old, concrete-like putty with a Speedheater.

I can see this is going to take many hours of work. But I’ll enjoy it, knowing I saved these windows and will have them to add true character to my modern addition.

What do you think?