Thursday, 5 May 2011

Repair of Broken Panes

I received a call out to Helensburgh, a nearby town, to look at repairing some old glass panes that had been broken by snowballs. When I arrived I was shown the broken panes in astragals for repair. This was not difficult, I only needed to find the seedy glass that would match.

The clients then showed me other earlier repairs in leaded glass panels with inappropriate glass and asked me if I could replace these with similar glass to the originals. This was possible once I obtained the glass and I explained that only one glass manufacturer in the UK still makes the appropriate glass, so I had to wait for supplies.

When the glass arrived, I arranged a time and proceeded to install them. Then I came to a window where it was difficult to fit the glass into the leads by simply opening them and inserting an appropriately shaped piece of glass. These pieces were the ones shown in the upper left and right and the two next to the central astragal. After numerous attempts, I admitted that I was not going to get a good in situ repair for this window and proposed to take them out and repair them on the bench where I knew I could do a good job.

I came back and removed the leaded glass, filling the opening with float glass. I took the panels back to the studio and of course found more breaks than noticed while the window was in place. I repaired these and added new lead where the old had become too delicate to last, or had its flanges broken away. Then I cleaned and re-cemented the whole of each panel.

I am pleased with the result. They look as though without repairs and they are sound for some time to come.

The irregular lines visible on the lower two panels come from the external iron work. I found it interesting with its formal curves and the solid three-dimensional thistle on top.

Helensburgh might be a good place to conduct a stained glass survey, as there is a lot of expensive housing built in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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