Friday, May 10, 2013

Adding hooks to small stained glass panel

Yesterday, I completed a small job for a couple with a very sentimental stained glass panel.  It belonged to his mother and hung in a window over Lake Michigan for many years.  Its a beauty .. Its just 10" square and features iridescent glue chip glass and an etched oval bevel in the center.  It had originally been constructed with very thin wire hanging loops at the top, one of which snapped when it was taken down for cleaning.  Here's how I replaced those hooks:

Since I'd be melting off the corner solder, I "trapped" the piece in a "jig" or metal fence before starting the work.  The blue pieces of tape at the bottom indicate where the new hooks will be.

 Its important to make the hooks out of metal which will accept solder and therefore bond to the metal channel, the frame.  Coated wire will not work, neither will flexible jewelry wire.  I've found the best and strongest metal for hooks to be paper clips.  Below, I used the red-handled jewelry tool to wrap an approximately 1" straight piece of a large paper clip into a loop.  Rather than twist the wire below the loop, I bent the bottoms side by side.  In this way, more of the surface of the paper clip will adhere to the frame, making for a stronger bond.  I also used the needle nose pliers and common pliers to bend the loops.  (Click on this or any photo for a closer look).

 This panel is an older piece and the copper patina has naturally oxidized over time.  To mimic the color, I mixed about 80% copper patina with 20% black patina in a film container.  The color was a perfect match.
 I "tinned" each hook, meaning that I applied liquid flux, then soldered both sides.  I then added a few beads of solder to the frame, laid the tinned hook onto the beads and pressed the hot soldering iron onto the hook to melt the solder below to create the bond.  To stabilize the hook in place, I held onto the hook end with the needle nose pliers.  If the hook slides out of place, it can be re-positioned by re-melting the solder.
 For added security, I melted additional solder on top of the base of each hook.  Then I cleaned both areas with spray flux remover, and brushed on the custom-mixed patina.
 Since the chain for this panel is also darker copper, the new hooks blend right in, looking like just another loop in the chain.  As a final touch, I applied stained glass finishing compound to the piece, to protect the solder and give it extra shine.
 Here's another look at this beautiful little panel.
Thank you Diana and Daniel for finding me .. It was a pleasure restoring your sentimental panel for many more years of enjoyment!

I'm currently working on repairing a large, 25" wide lamp.  Stay turned ..

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

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