How to Remove Glass From an Old Window in One Piece.

Introduction: How to Remove Glass From an Old Window in One Piece.

After getting replacement windows for my house i saved the old windows thinking if several projects for them.  The major problem is several of the sashes are painted with lead paint.  No Martha Stewart you cant just paint over the wood.  At least not in Massachusetts.    So always take safety first.   Do this on a drop cloth like an old shower curtain.  Ware a dust mask.  Wash your clothes separately not with the kids.  Keep all kids away until after the clean up.  Also we will be using razor blades and have the potential for sharp glass.   

Sorry about the pictures there is no flash on my phone and the glass was transparent.

Your going to need
a razor both the double pointed (like in a box or dry wall cutter) and the straight edge both with holders
flat head screw drivers
soap & water
drop cloth
dust mask
small pliers (needle nose work goodgreen scrubby

Step 1: Select the Window

Select  good window.  

Things to look for 
Hard dry Glazing putty that is falling out, cracked, pulling away from the wood.
no cracks in glass
rotten frame
no silicone holding window in 

Step 2: Carefully Remove the Putty

Go around the window with the razor blade inserting the blade between the wood and the glazing putty.  If the putty is old it should be cracking away from the wood and can be picked or snapped off.

The two things that you need to look for are
  1. Glazer points
  2. small bumps of putty stuck to the wood
Try to locate the points there should be at least one per side but there could be as many as three or more.  See picture for the different types of points you my find.  

Cut down.  Take your time make several passes don't rush don't push against the glass.  Make sure their are no bumps of putty that will hold in the glass.  There should be a knife thick grove between the window and the wood.  Watch out for points dulling the razor. 

When i have broken the pains it was because of these bumps or hidden points.

Step 3: Remove the Points

Points hold the window in place while the putty is hardening and do most of the holding the putty is to seal air and moister out.

Points come is several shapes see picture.
  1. Triangles -  These can be removed with the screwdriver one point sticks into the wood the other two are parallel against the sides.  Push up or down on one of the exposed points and rotate them out.  Don't push against the glass.  These are easy to remove
  2. Small diamonds (rhombus if you are in grade school) these are the hardest to remove wiggle them out bent them up with the screw driver and grab them with the pliers.  i broke the most windows on the ones the were pushed in so only the very tip shows and i have missed them.  Run the razor blade around the edge of the glass to find them.
  3. Large Y shape things with tabs that are used with the putty knife to push them in.  Easy to remove.
  4. Also small nails
Ok i say it"...Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars,green clovers."

Step 4: Remove the Window

If all the putty is removed and all the points are out the the pane will just fall out.  Don't push,Don't pushDon't pushDon't pushDon't pushDon't push,  Go back to the edges with the knife, if stuck, the pane will loose if forced.

Step 5: Wash the Glass

After all the panes are out its time to clean them up a bit.  
Lie them flat on a board that is very very flat (some of the glass might be curved be careful)  
Using the straight razor scrape the extra putty off the window.  Scrape along the window Don't push down!!!!! 
Wash window with Hot Soapy water and green scrubby.
From there I rinsed the window in the tub with a large cup of ht water.  Be careful the pain might have sharp edges should have been rounded at the glass shop. Never hold the glass by one edge an flip it, the glass cant support it weight if held like that try to hold two edges and rotate it to get both sides

Good Luck°

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    5 years ago


    Have you done the solar melter? If yes .... any plans of the project? Thanks!


    Reply 5 years ago

    I did make them and started an intructable but have not published it yet. I have also made a new extractor using a treadmill.


    6 years ago

    thanks got my glass out of the window and I didn't even break any!


    7 years ago on Step 5

    I use a sharpening stone. They can be found at most hardware stores or hunting & fishing aisles in big box stores. Some have a rough & finishing grit on 1 stone. Another option is emery cloth pulled tight on a block of wood. Do not just wrap the emery cloth around the glass pane & think that you can do both sides of the glass at one time or you will end up with scratches that paint will become trapped in.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    Some are sharp some not. At glass shops they have grinder i think sandpaper or a dermal would work.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    Once the glass is out of the frame, do you know a way to buff the edges so they aren't sharp?-- i.e. so you could use it without putting another frame around it? I have sheets and sheets of glass taken out of an office building, and I'd like to use some of it as a worktable of sorts, but can't figure out how to smooth the edges.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A cool glazer trick it to use a heatgun or torch on particularity hard putty. It helps a bunch, but will bubble paint or scorch if you leave it there too long. I repair these things on a daily basis. Mostly I just attack weak spots with a utility knife when I'm at someones home.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Good suggestion. Be careful when the paint starts to bubble the fumes are toxic. Ibbles get exponentially more views when you add flame or explosions.