Restoration of Stained Glass

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Restoration

Refers to the process of re-leading. Each window is moved and taken apart piece by piece and then re-assembled using new lead and bracing. This process is usually done after the windows have been transported to the studio.


Under normal conditions, stained glass windows should be re-leaded when they reach around 100 years old. However, this is only a rule of thumb and circumstances could change this number. To determine if a panel is in need of a re-lead, you can make a few observations.


Lead, like all metal, will oxidize and appear to have a white powdery look. If oxidation is constant and heavy, the deterioration might be great. The joints where lead comes together on each work is finished and secured by soldering. Due to solder and leaving moving at a different rate, there is fatigue that becomes evident by tearing of the lead next to the soldered areas. If you find this to be a majority situation, you might consider re-leading.


Restoration or Re-Leading overview

A craftsman will carefully take a rubbing of the panel(s) to be re-leaded. Once the rubbing is complete, the panel(s) will be disassembled and properly cleaned. Craftsmen will then reassemble the stained glass panel using all new lead came and solder. Each panel is cemented on both sides and a proper bracing system is installed before reinstallation. Then they reinstall and properly secure the reloaded panels. Finally the craftsman applies a flexible sealant, which allows each panel to expand and contract without any hindrance thus preventing any future damage to the stained glass.


Together with on-site stained glass repair, restoration can also be done in the studio.