Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shamrock stained glass soldered, and piece repaired

After the separated pieces of green border glass were cleaned and re-foiled, I soldered them back onto the main piece. Then my husband Eric measured and cut a sturdy channel (zinc metal) frame which I soldered at each corner and at each lead line, as shown below.  Here you can also see the "fence" or metal bars which are thumb-tacked into the Homosote to square off the panel.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).
Now that the panel has been strengthened, the next task was to repair that cracked clear piece.  The clear glass is Spectrum Granite, which is smooth and flat on the back side, and textured on the front.  

The first step in replacing a cracked piece is to remove it by scoring it in several directions and then gently, yet firmly, tapping on it until chunks of glass break free.  There is a danger with doing this, as small bits of glass can unexpectedly fly out, so eye protection is necessary.

See below, the glass partially removed.  I wore rubber-fingered gardening gloves and used needle nose pliers to extricate the pieces.  I also used a small wisk broom to sweep away bits of glass which fell onto the Homosote.  I worked on the back side of the panel, on the smooth side of the glass, since it is not advisable to score the textured side.
Once the glass was removed, I melted some of the old solder and used the pliers to loosen and remove the foil around the inner edges.

I traced a pattern onto a manila folder, cut it out, and then made an identical pattern using corrugated cardboard.  I then traced the manila folder pattern onto the glass, cut the glass, ground the edges, and applied copper foil.  Here are the patterns and the glass (prior to foiling):

I positioned the corrugated pattern into the opening so that the new piece of glass would be on the same plane as the existing pieces.  Next, I applied liquid flux to the copper foil and soldered the new piece into the panel as shown.
The panel has come a long way!  The hinge issue has been corrected, the old foil has been removed, a sturdy metal frame has been added, and the cracked piece has been replaced.  What's next?  Cleaning it, applying patina and waxing.

Since this panel is obviously too large to fit in the sink, I placed it on small rubber mats on the tile floor of our finished basement.  I cleaned off the flux by using powdered cleanser and an old dish brush.  Then I rinsed it thoroughly using that big green sponge and fresh water. 
I allowed the panel to dry completely, then I applied patina to the newly soldered areas and to the metal channel frame.  The existing patina is a bronze-y color and it has aged a bit.  In order to make the repair virtually un-noticeable, I matched the existing patina by mixing copper with black and testing it on small pieces of tinned foil until I got the correct match.
After I applied the patina, I gave it time to settle, then rinsed it off using a damp sponge.  After it dried again, I waxed the whole side using Clarity brand stained glass finishing compound.  The wax protects the patina and adds a beautiful shine to the piece. I then turned the panel over, and repeated the process .. washing, rinsing, drying, applying patina, and finally, waxing.

Here is the panel, completely repaired and strengthened.  The "M" in the shamrock is the family's surname.
Check back soon to see my husband creating a custom wood frame and then installing it in my customer's home.  This panel will be inset into a wall and backlit.  Its going to look beautiful in its long-awaited space, a center piece for the room.

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


  1. Beautifully repaired with great pictures.

  2. Thank you Irene! We'll be installing the repaired stained glass shamrock as soon our customer is ready after returning from vacation. New posting up afterwards. KLB

  3. We are the proud owners of the recently repaired Shamrock window in our basement. The window was originally made by a studio in Chester, NJ and the overall quality (and customer service) was poor and disrespectful. Thanks to Kathy and her husband, they were able to repair and reinforce the window and then add a frame and even install it for us. The work and effort they put forth was outstanding - they were great to work with. We absolutely love the window and are finally glad to have it in place. We highly recommend Kathy for any stain glass projects you are considering.

    With much thanks and appreciation....Brian & Deb