Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Restored stained glass door panel, Brockley

This panel had begun to come loose and a couple of pieces were cracked.  It was removed, the opening secured and the panel rebuilt with new lead, replacing the broken glass.  An 8mm diameter steel support bar is fitted into the frame, and the panel tied to this with copper wires to provide support – this was missing from the original installation.

Fitted November 2014

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New stained glass, Forest Hill - Honor Oak

Clearly something had to be done here!  We made a new panel to a slight modification of the original design.  The hammered glass used in the original and the top panel hasn't been made for some years, but the material we used here, although not the same, does work quite well in blending with the original in the top.

Fitted November 2014

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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Stained glass construction details


Leaded glass windows are made waterproof and rigid by means of the 'cement' - a black putty-like compound that is forced between the glass and the lead.  For consistency and reliability we always used a commercial products, and not a 'home brewed' recipe or regular putty that has been coloured - we consider that these cheaper alternatives to 'the real thing' as being inferior.


There are 3 main producers of lead in the EU, which comes in 2m lengths in cases of 25kg.  There are minor producers, sometimes using soft un-alloyed lead which we find less suitable. We have a preference for the lead from Germany.  This shows 6mm wide lead with a ‘half round’ profile, as well as 12 and 16mm, which is generally used at the borders.  We also use 5, 8 and 10mm.


solder for stained glass and leaded lightsWe generally use solder that comprises 50% lead and 50% tin.  Before the joints are made by melting the solder onto and into them, the lead is rubbed with tallow – in the form of (wickless) ‘candles’ (essentially beef fat – stearic acid) which acts as a flux, enabling the molten solder to flow and coat and fill the lead, thus making the joint.  The solder melts at around 200 degrees C.


Leaded lights and stained glass windows have a tendency to 'bow' and this needs to be offset by various supporting devices.  They are often fitted with support bars, usually aligned with the lead lines so they are less conspicuous.  It is also possible to introduce thin steel strips next to the 'heart' of the lead, edge-wise to the glass, and sometimes pieced through intersecting pieces of lead.  This internal reinforcement works best when the lead is wider - 8mm  minimum or better still 10.

Support bars and tie-wires
This shows the detail of the way in which leaded glass panels may be supported, strengthened and made more durable by use of support bars, set into the frame on the inside and secured to the panels by means of copper tie-wires soldered to the panel.  The copper tarnishes with time, although it may be painted.  The chemistry between the steel of the bar, the copper and the lead does mean that over time the bars will begin to develop a coating of rust.  This is a very traditional method of adding support.

Retaining a leaded panel with putty

This shows how leaded glass panels fitted into frames that will then be sealed with putty are retained.  (This is in contrast to panel retained with timber beading)  Putty alone is insufficient to hold the panel in the frame, because of the weight.  So the traditional way to hold it in is with tacks, hammered in such that the head just depresses into the border lead.  Generally we use 16mm steel tacks.  In older work the tacks are often found to be in copper or maybe bronze, but these are very hard to come by.  Once tacked in, a filet of putty is applied to cover and seal the gap, much as for normal single glazing in wooden frames.

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Stained Glass Tooting Bec

The panel on the left had become damaged, and we rebuilt it completely with new lead, replacing the broken  pieces of glass.  It was re-instated with new timber beading.  Our client said: 'Just wanted to say thanks so much for doing the window - it looks great!'

Fitted in November 2014


New and restored stained glass, Kenley

Our client was replacing the door and surround, and wanted to retain the existing leaded glass panels at the sides, and have new panels made for the door.  We refurbished the originals and made the 2 new door panels to the same design.  They are all fitted behind laminated safety glass.  Our client emailed: 'Many thanks for doing the glass and fitting it yesterday, it looks great.'

Fitted November 2014

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Large leaded windows

This pair of widows on adjacent staircase landing levels are in 5 tints of English Muffle glass with 100mm amber glass roundels – the glass echoes the rest of the windows in the house. The larger of these panels is 2.5m tall.  They are fitted behind double glazed units pre-installed by the main contractors.  The thicker horizontal lines are from support bars, installed where the sections join – they are too big to be made in one piece (the smaller window is in 2 pieces and the larger in 3).  In addition to the bars there are internal supports, set between the edge of the glass and the lead.

Fitted in October 2014.

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Copies of original leaded windows, Beckenham

Due in some part to deterioration in the door, one of the existing stained glass panels  had begun to come apart - these panels were in fact not original – having been copied – they used rather heavy, wide lead, and unsympathetic glass, and had been fitted with no supporting bars.  Our client commissioned a new door, and we made 2 new panels shown here, that, informed by the glass in the neighbouring houses, we all felt were more in keeping with the lost originals.

Fitted in October 2014.


Copies of original stained glass, Streatham

Having made new leaded glass door panels for this client’s previous house, we were pleased to be invited back to do the same for their new house!  They were very clear they wanted to reproduce the originals – which were made with ‘reeded’ glass – but with narrower reeds – this is now longer available, so we used 12mm, with pale Muffle glass for the coloured border and motif.  The panels are fitted with 8mm diameter support bars.  Our client said 'I stop in my tracks every time I come down the stairs to admire the front door. So thank you again'

Fitted in October 2014.

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Stained glass ‘colour chart’, Croydon

This panel comprises 240 pieces of glass in 10 colours Here you may see it under construction as well as the design drawing .  The individual pieces are around 45mm square.

Supplied October 2014.

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Reeded glass leaded light set

This is one of a set of 4 (2 large and 2 small) panels for a door, with 12mm reeded glass and ‘Muranese’ border glass, all in uncoloured. 

Made in September 2014.

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Glass door repair, Streatham

The right-most of these 2 squares of leaded glass in a door in Streatham was smashed, and we made a new piece to replace it.  This shot shows the difference in the look of the glass and lead between a new or restored panel and an old piece.

Fitted October 2014

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New stained glass Herne Hill

This pair, based on the pattern of a set we had rebuilt for another client are fitted behind safety glass, not visible
in the shot from the inside.  There are made with mostly uncoloured English Muffle glass, with a pale lavender central strip.

Fitted July 2014

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Simple leaded glass panels

This set of 6, in a bathroom window replaced a set that whilst not old, were in quite poor condition.  The top pair are made with plain glass in the centre sections, whilst the lower set are obscured.

Fitted May 2014 


Glass restoration, Catford

The middle panel in this shot had become damaged, so it was removed, taken apart and rebuilt with new lead, and then re-fitted into the door.

Fitted July 2014