replacing window panes

I've got a boatload of window panes to replace in an old house I recently bought. About half are on the second floor and must be done from a ladder. Making it worse, most of the glazier putty is in great condition. What's your best advice for approaching this task (other than hiring someone, I'm getting quotes of $25-30 per pane). Will I be able to take useful measurements before removing the glass, or do I have to take out the glass, scrape out the rabbet, measure, duct tape up the opening, go buy the glass, bring it home, put it in, and move to the next one? Is there a more factory-assembly-line efficient way to approach this?
Also, what's my best bet for fast removal of the old glazing putty?
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If the putty is in good shape why are you changing the glass?
Most people would remove the window and work on them horizontally on an work surface. There are tools made for this, scrapers and such. On "This Old House" they used an heat gun, to soften the putty.
Chances are there are only a few different sizes of windows. Measure each one accurately then multiply
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Better to take out glass first , if putty is hard a heat gun for the putty, then you need to repaint stripped paint, the whole window. Or try a chisel and razor knife, wear tough leather gloves and saftey glasses,
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efoley wrote:

Punch out the window, pull the remaining glass out with your fingers, and use a stiff metal putty knife in the slot left by the glass to pry the putty off the mullions.
--Goedjn
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After measuring the first window pane exactly (by removing some putty and measuring exactly from corner to corner) it should be much easier to estimate the other panes without removing any putty (from your first pane, you can estimate how much glass is hidden behind the putty).
Also, I have used the Praxi Putty Chaser a few times and it did save me a lot of time. It doesn't remove everything, but it gives me a quick first pass. However, note that the adjustment screw tends to slip occasionally and it has to be tightened pretty hard (but not too hard or it strips...).

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efoley wrote:

No fast method for removing old putty, especially if it has hardened. I worked on windows in my daughter's house, all first floor. Some putty was so hard, I pasted on contact paper (bought roll that was discontinued and on sale) and then broke the glass on those windows. For second story, I would take the windows out from inside (in good weather), take them to garage, strip and reglaze. More work perhaps, but lasting results. You can measure your opening - where putty and wood meet - take the measurements to glass shop or hardware store.
We used torch to remove some of the old, alligatored paint (lead) but that is an outdoor job. Stripper healthier and can be disposed of properly. Digging at old, hardened putty and risking putting my hand through the glass was not on my agenda. Too dangerous.
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