Monday, August 13, 2018

Fascinating and Fundamental Part 10

A Salvager's Guide to Repairing and Restoring Stained Glass

A Salvager's Guide to Repairing and Restoring Stained Glass

Whether you are a thrift store junkie, or you've inherited an old home with stained glass, you're going to want to know how to go about restoring stained glass to it's original glory, and this guide will go over the basics of restoring stained glass.

You're at an estate sale and you notice two beautifully crafted stained glass window panes.

You're mesmerized. The rich history of stained glass is alluring for all salvagers and you are no exception.
When you get them home and start inspecting them you realize they need some work.
Restoring stained glass isn't something you know much about, so what do you do?
We're here to help you figure that out!

What to Look For

Stained Glass pieces are made from cut pieces of glass, lead or zinc cames (metal that holds the glass), a putty compound to secure the glass to the metal, and support bars to keep the glass from sagging.
Before deciding to restore or repair stained glass, always evaluate its condition.
If the glass rattles while you glide your hand over it, the putty needs replaced. This is an easy DIY project.
Check the cames to make sure they are wired to the support and in good condition. If you notice a bulge, broken glass, or frame/structure issues take it to a professional.

Assembling A Stained Glass Repair Kit

Replacing the putty is the easiest part of restoring stained glass for any owner.
You can go to almost any hardware store to get your materials:
  • glazing putty
  • linseed oil
  • liquid lamp black
  • precision knife
  • large paint brush
  • old rag
  • steel wool
The amount of putty materials depends on the size of the project you are doing.

Restoring Stained Glass

After laying out the panes on a flat surface and creating the new putty mix, it's time to get started.
1. Remove the old putty
Using the precision knife, clean out the old putty and brush it away.
2. Brush on the putty mixture
Putty should be the consistency of molasses, stiff but spreadable. Brush it over the entire surface.
Push the brush into grooves of the cames. Using a wooden stick, gently press the putty into the edges.
Let it dry for 15-20 minutes.
3. Clean away the excess putty
Once 15-20 minutes has gone by wipe away the excess with a rag going from the middle and pushing towards the edges.
Once the excess is gone let it dry for a couple more hours.
Finish cleaning with steel wool and wipe away with soft water.
4. Repeat on the other side
Repeat this process on the other side of the panel for more stabilization.

How to Clean Stained Glass

Once a piece is restored or repaired keep up with proper cleaning.
  • Start with only soft or deionized water
  • Use non-ionic detergent or soaps
  • Never use household cleaners
Unpainted glass may yellow or have a film-- acetone, mineral spirits or isopropyl alcohol will work best. Always clean with soap and rinse with water after.
Cleaning painted glass requires more care-- especially if the paint is chipping-- using cotton swabs is best. Only ever use soap and water.

Learning More About Stained Glass

Using these techniques will prolong the life of any stained glass piece you own!
If you're interested in learning more about restoring stained glass or finding new pieces to add to your home, contact us here.

May sunshine fill your day!

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