Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stained Glass Mushroom Repair

This unusual stained glass panel was made by my customer's father-in-law many years ago.  It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland!  I love the design and the colors of glass he chose.  Here's how it came to me .. Notice that the three amber pieces above the large mushroom sustained several cracks.  What can't readily be seen is that the pale green leaf on the upper left is cracked, as is he dark green leaf on the right and two of the border panels.

When any lamp or panel sustains a fall, its very common for the concussion of the fall to travel through the piece.

To prepare for replacement, my first step is to score the cracked glass with the oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter, then tap repeatedly onto the cracked piece to dislodge all the glass.  Whatever is remaining I remove with needle nose pliers.  Then I tug out the old solder and foil around the border.  I do this with either the pliers, or by melting it out.

Many artists who created these older pieces did not grind the edges of the glass.  I believe it helps the copper foil to adhere more readily.  Here I've cleaned out all the old foil and solder and I'm using a hand file to grind the inside border.  I also scraped and cleaned off any remaining old adhesive from the foil.

With two pieces of amber have been removed, I made two patterns for the replacement glass.  They fit perfectly into their intended spaces.

After I trace the patterns onto matching glass I use the cutter to score the edges.

Then I use the blue "running pliers" to snap the score lines.  I often use the black-handled "groziers" to nip out smaller pieces as shown.

Next, each piece gets ground.

Then adhesive copper foil is applied and burnished with a "fid" or flexible plastic wand.  I chose a width of foil to closely match whatever project I'm doing.  

After the border of the opening and the border of the newly cut glass are foiled and placed into the panel, I apply liquid "flux" to the foil.  Then I solder it, front and back.

Now both the side pieces of cracked amber have been replaced.  I wanted to replace the cracked side piece next but first I wanted to remove the border.  The artist on this piece used "lead came" to border his piece.  Lead came is used in a different type of stained glass.  This "came" is very soft and pliable and could be dangerous to handle with bare hands.  Therefore I'm wearing gloves.  Later I'll show that I used a sturdy zinc "channel" to replace this "came".
 Now I'm tracing the pattern for the side piece.

And now its soldered in place.

Moving on now to replace the cracked amber piece above the mushroom.   I generally do not repair pieces that are adjacent to each other.  It can weaken the panel or make it more difficult to repair.

Holding the cutter at a 90 degree angle and pressing firmly onto the glass.

Onto another cracked side piece ..

Now I'm removing another piece of the soft lead "came" which was originally on this panel.

The original lead came is on the left .. On the right is the new, sturdy zinc "channel" which I'm replacing it with.  Its a safer and more secure option.

Here my husband Eric is taking measurements and preparing the custom-cut the new zinc frame.

Here one side of the panel has a new frame on it.

Eric, cutting the zinc.

Tacking the zinc frame to the corners and the lead lines on the panel, both sides.

My customer asked for hooks to be installed, so here I've made two, using 12 gauge wire.

For this panel, it was important to the family that the original patina be maintained.  Since it was never patina-ed, but had aged quite a lot, I diluted a small amount of black patina.  It was a great match to the existing patina.

Applying the custom-mix patina. The panel was thoroughly cleaned and dried and then waxed afterwards.

And here's the newly repaired panel, with a stronger and safer frame and two new hooks for hanging.  Thank you for finding me, Cheryl!  It was a pleasure repairing this for you and your family!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

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