Thought I would share with you another stained glass repair that I have been working on for ……..probably about six months or more now. It was/is a big job. It consists of two panels, each one about three feet wide by two feet tall. The panels are mirror patterns, meant to hang one above the other creating a much larger pattern when combined.
The panels were in pretty bad shape, having been mangled quite a bit. You see this in old salvaged stained glass and let’s say they needed some tender, loving care.
And a bonus was that they came with guests………lady bugs ……hundreds of ladybugs!
Thankfully, it was January and the panels had been stored in an unheated garage so the ladybugs had not had a chance to warm up yet and weren’t moving very quickly. I hate to have to admit this, but as soon as I got my wits about me, I grabbed some bug spray and well, I will spare you the gory details.
After the ladybug carcass cleanup, the next step was to assess the damage and figure out how to tackle it. There was a LOT of broken pieces of glass and the lead was in pretty sorry shape. My recommendation to my client was to tear both panels completely apart and rebuild them with new lead, new glazing, and some structural enhancements as well. We agreed on a price and I got to work.
The first thing I had to do was to create a pattern. Luckily, one of the panels was in much better shape than the other. Many of the glass pieces were broken but at least it was flat and had been stored in a way that helped it maintain its shape.
The best technique for creating a pattern from an existing stained glass panel is by doing a charcoal rubbing.
The next challenge was finding replacement glass for the broken pieces. I have three relatively local sources for art glass: The Vinery up in Madison, O’Reilly’s Stained Glass in Crystal Lake, and the Glass Garden in Janesville. They all offer classes too for those of you who need a new addiction.
The interesting thing about trying to restore old stained glass windows is that some of the glass used 50/100 years ago is no longer being made. I lucked up with the piece in the photo below. The original glass is on the right.
Check back next week and I will share information and photos on the tear-down and re-build.