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2nd Quarter 2023 Newsletter Thumbnail

2nd Quarter 2023 Newsletter

Recently, we bought a 90 year-old lake house in the north woods of Wisconsin.  It was built in 1937 by a man from Chicago in the carpet business.   (That makes it 87 years-old actually, but who’s really counting?)  Since our 30’s we have owned a second home in the north woods.  I told myself that the purpose was to get away from civilization (meaning the office), spend quality time with my family and to pursue my passion for trout.  That’s what I always told myself, but Dad had a similar desire for a place up north which he never fulfilled.  Maybe my intent all along was to accomplish certain things early in life, just in case.  Everyone’s view of the world is shaped by their past and each of us has unique experiences causing us each see things a little bit differently.

Anyone who has owned an old home can tell you of the issues that are invariably involved. Old things simply break more often and need more TLC than shiny new things.  This applies to most things, including houses, cars, and people.  However, older things seem to have been constructed with craftsmanship and pride which aren’t always present today.  Anyway, I find it surprising when up north that things which will normally drive me crazy at home are taken in stride.  

The windows on the porch are original to the house.  They are single pane, divided glass with wood frames.  Unlike modern windows (anything manufactured in the last 75 years) old windows require re-glazing from time to time.  For these particular windows, that time had come and gone.  They were in need of re-glazing.  I decided to take on this project myself.  How hard could it be?  At home, these types of projects are avoided like the plague, but somehow become almost enjoyable up north where simpler times seem to have persisted into the present.

Not knowing how to re-glaze a window I turned to You-Tube for a step-by-step video.  (So much for old times.)  Of course, the internet makes everything appear fast and easy.  Again, how hard could it be?  After watching two or three videos and compiling a list of needed materials, off to the hardware store I went to buy everything needed: glazing compound, points, putty knife, boiled linseed oil, whiting, and a chip brush.  

Glazing the windows protects the frames from the elements by allowing the rain that hits the glass to drain off and not puddle on the wood frame.  Glazing is simply putty placed on the outside of the window between the glass and the frame at a 45 degree angle to the glass.  Over time, the putty cures, hardens and is painted over. I’ve seen this thousands of times on windows without realizing what I was looking at.   To start the project, the old glazing is removed with a putty knife, hammer, and straight edge razer blade.  It’s important to remove the old glazing by hammering the putty knife into the old glazing with enough force to remove the old glazing and soft enough to avoid breaking the glass.  This part was easy enough, so again off to the hardware store I went to buy glass panes to replace those that I broke.  The trick is to not go to the hardware store until all the panes are cleaned of the old glazing.  I learned this lesson on the 3rd or 4th trip buying glass.   Once the glazing is removed, the wooden frames are cleaned with boiled linseed oil, the glass positioned into the frame, and the windows are “pointed”.  Points are small diamond shaped metal pieces inserted into the window frames which hold the grass tightly to the wooden frame.  

Once the points are in place, the glazing putty is rolled between your fingers to form a “snake”. The snake shaped putty is laid where the glass meets the wooden frame and is pressed into place.  Now that the putty is in place, the putty knife is pushed into the putty at a 45 degree angle to the glass and pulled across the glass and frame to create a smooth, clean line of putty protecting the glass and the frame from the elements.   Kind of like applying caulk.  The window is then cleaned using whiting by smearing the whiting on the glass and brushing it off with the chip brush (whiting is simply the chalk dust that many of us remember from grade school).  This process is applied to each pane of glass.  In my case, there were 4 windows, each with 8 panes of glass.  In a day or two, the glazing compound sets and the window can be painted.  

This simple project ended up taking me 3 full days, not what I had bargained for.  It seems that the generation before me took more pride in projects around the house, almost as a sign of their masculinity.  Many times, I feel that that’s been lost in my generation.  That people living in the 40’s and 50’s were more capable of completing these tasks and that they spent less time in the process.  Maybe this thought is simply the result of how our minds operate.  In Roman times people fretted that the future was in peril because the younger generation lacked skills, discipline, and a work ethic.  Some ideas persist.  

As of late, the markets have been volatile, inflation rampant, and increasingly the future is uncertain.   But isn’t this the way it’s always been?  A big takeaway from economic history is that the past wasn’t as good as we remember, the present isn’t as bad as we think, and the future will be better than we anticipate.

As always, we thank you for your business and for your continued trust.


Jack P. Cannata