Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shamrock stained glass repair underway

As seen in the post below, this shamrock stained glass panel has a number of structural as well as construction flaws.  The first step is to un-do what's been done incorrectly.

At this point, the 28" x 40" panel is securely resting on a large piece of Homasote, which is a 1/2" thick sheet of soundproofing material using in home building.  Its a great surface for working with glass since it accepts pushpins well and it "gives" a bit when cutting glass.

Since the green border pieces have broken away, the first thing to do is remove the existing foil, solder and residual adhesive from the copper foil.  Starting with a hot soldering iron, gently melt away enough of the solder to loosen the copper foil from the glass.  Then, using needle nose pliers, gently pry off the foil, taking the old solder with it.  Because this copper foil was old, it came off readily once I got it started. (Click on any photo to enlarge).
In order to correct the hinge issues, I re-arranged the placement of several of the green border pieces.  By doing this, I was able to correct three of the four hinges, thus strengthening the piece considerably.  Here, I'm removing one of the "good" border pieces so that I can use it elsewhere and eliminate a hinge in the process. (The end of the post will show the "before" and "after" shots regarding the hinges).
In order to prepare the glass for new foil, I removed all the old adhesive using cotton balls dipped in Goo Gone. Then I used an old credit card to scrape off the edges and sides and then washed and rinsed each piece of glass.
It was at this point that I realized that the edges of these pieces were still sharp!  They had never been ground and were therefore unsafe to handle.  I carefully removed as much of the old adhesive as possible without risking injury, and then I ran them through my grinder. This process not only smoothed the edges but took off the rest of the adhesive as well.  Its not the best thing for the grinding wheel, but, as seen with this panel, if each piece of glass is not cleaned and ground, the new foil will not adhere correctly and the glass will separate.

I also needed to remove the old adhesive from the clear glass edges which also had not been ground.  Since it is not possible, of course, to run the panel itself through the grinder, I used my hand-held Dremel tool with a grinding bit attachment and carefully went all around the edges of the clear glass to prepare it for new foil.
Now that all the surfaces were cleaned and ground, I applied 7/32" copper foil to the edges of each piece.  7/32" is the most commonly used width and is the same as used on the rest of the panel. You'll notice that I numbered each piece with a silver Sharpie after I re-arranged them. The white plastic wand is a "fid", used to firmly press the foil onto the glass.

The panel is now well on its way.  Below, I'm re-posting the photo of the window showing the original four hinges, or straight lead lines that go from one side of the piece to the other.  As mentioned, these weaken the panel and are to be avoided.  (Note orange lines).
And below is the panel after I eliminated three of the four hinges.  I did this by rearranging and trimming the existing pieces of green, and cutting one new piece.  The tan bars represent the edges of the glass after my changes. Notice the blue arrows which "dead end" before they reach the edge.  That's what you want .. no straight-across lead lines.
Also see that the one remaining hinge is at the top of the piece, circled in pink.  Rather than have to charge my customer to relocate more glass to eliminate this one hinge, I made a creative decision to "let it be".  With three hinges corrected, and the upcoming addition of a sturdy metal frame, this one will be less likely to create issues in the future.  I circled the crack in neon yellow.
Check back to see the next steps .. Soldering the front and back of the panel, adding the metal channel frame, and replacing the cracked piece.

In the meantime, please visit and "like" my FaceBook page, click here. and visit my website ..  Thanks!

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