Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Repair to Stained Glass Sidelight

This pretty sidelight came to me from the same customer as the previous post.  (Repair to Stained Glass Floral Square .. Click here to view).  It was also made by her mother and so has great sentimental value.  Her daughter recently got her own place, so this sidelight is to be a special gift for her.  It has three broken pieces .. Here's how I went about repairing them.  Click on any photo for a closer look.

Here's a "before" photo with the upper left panel removed.  I posted it to show the size of the panel, which is about 6' tall and 10" wide.

The first step in any repair is to find matching glass.  Fortunately, I was able to find the lightly textured amber from another stained glass artist whom I happened to meet with on the same day that my customer dropped off the panel.
The clear glass was another story.  I went on a road trip to Maryland and brought back some of what I thought was a perfect match, but it was too shiny.  I then ordered the same style of glass, but from a different manufacturer in Washington State.  Voila!  Perfect.
So once I knew I had the correct glass, I went in, one piece at a time, and cracked out all the glass from the first affected piece as shown below.  Needle nose pliers and safety glasses are essential at this stage.
 Now all the glass is out.  I've also pulled off all the old solder and copper foil.  Here I'm cleaning off the old adhesive using Goo Gone.  Works wonders.
 Next, I've applied copper foil to the interior border.  Then I tucked a piece of Manila folder underneath the panel and traced it as shown.  This becomes the pattern for the replacement glass.

Here I've traced the glass ..

And I scored it with this pistol-grip glass cutter.  Here I'm using the metal end of the cutter to tap along the score line to make it crack.  You may notice that it didn't exactly crack on a straight line like I wanted it to.  That's typical for glass!  Fortunately, the crack is outside the line, so I simply separated the piece and used another tool, groziers, to snap off the glass exactly at the traced line.

Next, the edges of the glass get run through a wet grinder.  This is done to protect the fingers (I'm wearing "rubber fingers" here) and to allow the copper foil to adhere properly
 Now I've applied the copper foil to the replacement piece.  I'm using a "fid" to press the foil onto the glass.
 This is an edge piece, so I intentionally cut it a little wider so that it would fit into the groove in the frame.  This way, I did not have to remove the entire frame in order to re-insert the new glass.  It worked like a charm.  I've taped the new piece in place from the back.  And here I'm applying Blu-Glass Liquid Flux to the copper foil seams, using a metal acid brush.  This chemical can be caustic.  I'm always careful to avoid contact with skin, and I wash thoroughly after use.
 Onto the next piece.  Here I'm using a pistol grip cutter to score another cracked piece.
 After tapping repeatedly on the piece, I removed all the old glass.  I also pulled off all the old copper foil and solder using needle nose pliers.  Then I cleaned the borders using Goo Gone.
Again, I'm using liquid flux on the copper foil .. This makes the foil ready for the solder which followed.
 Here's a photo of the third and final piece to be replaced.  At this point, I've removed all the glass and am in the process of tugging off the old foil and solder.
 Now all three pieces of glass have been replaced, foiled and soldered.  Next, I'm applying a mixture of copper and black patina to the solder.  This piece was originally soldered in copper but has darkened with age.  By adding a bit of black to the copper, I was able to exactly duplicate the color of the patina.

 Here's the other side of the panel which shows the three replaced pieces.  They are copper foiled only.  So I went in and applied the liquid flux, then the solder, then the patina.  Between the solder and the patina, the areas receive a thorough cleaning. 
 As a final step, I carefully washed and scrubbed the entire piece, and then applied Livia Stained Glass Finishing Compound, which is a wax which protects the patina and brings out the shine in the glass.  And here it is!  Finished and ready to be passed from grandmother .. to mother .. to daughter .. to be enjoyed for many years to come.  Thank you, Gwen for bringing me your mother's lovely artwork for repair.  It was a pleasure!

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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