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Commissioning | Stained glass in Heysham, lancashire


Commissioning Shore Edge Glass

What is stained glass.

Stained glass is the hand painted and kiln fired component of a leaded light as seen in the windows of churches, for example the painted faces of Jesus and the disciples. Only a small percentage of leadlight makers have skills in this field. (I’m not one of them but I am fortunate to be able to call on the services of a lady with many years experience when required) A leaded light window features elements of stained glass within its design as seen in the (usually) circular centre of some Victorian doors and windows which often depict a songbird. Age-old techniques are involved in the painting process using nitrates and oxides with specialised application methods. Each piece of glass may undergo three or four applications of painting or matting (shading) to achieve the detail required, followed by three or four firings in a kiln. When the glass sections are in the kiln the temperature is expertly raised to a point where the glass begins to soften. At this point the painted application is absorbed into the surface of the glass and becomes a permanent feature. The glass is then allowed to slowly cool and the process is completed. It is a common misconception that the design can fade or be rubbed off by cleaning but this is not the case. Finally the stained sections are assembled in the traditional way with lead and solder, weatherproofed using leaded light cement, polished and the finished article is ready to be installed in it’s proposed location.


So what are leaded lights?

Leaded lights are made up of individual pieces of glass in the same way as a stained glass panel only they are not subject to the process described above. It is another common misconception that leaded lights are windows comprising clear glass assembled in a square or diamond configuration with no colour. Leadlight makers produce all styles of windows using coloured glass, which is purchased in sheet form ready to use. The correct terminology for these, as I was once informed by a master stained glass craftsman is ‘ornamental coloured leaded lights’ although stained glass has become the generic term for any kind of coloured leaded glass.


How secure is stained glass?

Understandably people assume a stained glass panel to be delicate (the words ‘glass’ and ‘fragile’ go together in most folk’s minds). However a professionally built panel with glass sections accurately cut, the right amount of solder applied and properly weatherproofed (this is where many leadlight makers fall short) is surprisingly robust. It’s also important that the panel, if in a door, is strengthened by a rebar, that is a steel rod usually six to eight millimetres in diameter fitted into the door aperture and attached by means of copper wire ties soldered to the panel. Alternatively a steel reinforced lead strip provided it runs unbroken the entire width of the panel will suffice. This is why you should always commission an experienced company with a proven track record as it is these factors which have a major bearing on the strength and longevity of the finished article. If security is a concern I install a sheet of toughened glass in the rebate directly in front of the stained glass which both protects it from the rigours of modern life (i.e. teenagers) and also acts as a deterrent against forced



Do you install the glass you make?

In the vast majority of cases my clients prefer me to undertake the installation I always quote separately for installation so you have the option of collecting finished work from my premises and making your own arrangements to install if you prefer. The obvious caveat is that I am not responsible for any damage to glass that I or my associates have not installed so will be obliged to charge accordingly for any repairs. How long does it take you to make the glass? A month to six weeks is the normal time frame though I can often have smaller commissions ready sooner.  


Can you do the repair insitue?

As long as the leadwork is still in good condition and the sections needing repair are not too intricate I am happy to quote for this kind of work. Best to email me a picture of the damage if possible and we can take it from there.

Do you supply stained glass panels fitted into a double glazed unit?Yes I also work alongside a professional UPVC window installer who can give quotes on fitting of new frames. Stained glass cut out natural light? Obviously coloured glass will not transmit light as efficiently as clear window glass but most people find that this is more than compensated for by the effect achieved when light shines through a stained glass panel, especially when the various hues are projected on to a wall or floor. After all this is the purpose of stained glass in the first place! When making a site visit I always assess the natural light available and advise accordingly on choice and more importantly depth of colour. Some of the original stained glass still survives in my home.


Can you produce new panels to match the original?

This is something that I do on a regular basis. I carry a stock of glass made specifically to match original glass and can either produce a design sympathetic to your existing stained glass or I will often take a rubbing of an original panel in the vicinity and draw up a design based on that. 


Do you make panels comprising coloured film appliqué and adhesive lead on glass?

Excuse me - I think you are looking at the wrong web site NO How do I clean my existing stained glass?

Not too difficult - A basin of warm water, some washing up liquid and a nylon nailbrush are all you need. The nailbrush is ideal for removing dirt, which in most cases has built up over many years mainly on the rough or textured side of the glass. (Invariably the side that is indoors) Rinse it off ensuring you cover the carpet with old newspaper .then pat it dry with an old towel or rag. If you really want to go to town buy some ‘Stovax’ or ‘Hotspot’ grate polish available from most hardware stores and a brush to apply it. There’s such an array of brushes on the market that you’re best to get one from a stained glass materials supplier to ensure the bristle is suitable. Lightly rub the leadwork with one of these green nylon scouring pads or finest grade wire wool (you won’t scratch the glass unless you use a lot of pressure) to give the polish a key then put a pea sized blob of grate polish on the brush and apply it vigorously(ish) to the panel - don’t worry about the polish going on the glass, just keep brushing away in all directions until the lead has absorbed it all. The more you brush the more the leadwork will take on a lovely blackish lustre. I hope these answers are of help for you to consider any future work by Shore Edge Glass,

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