Stained glass restoration requires a special set of skills. In comparison, it is much like making alterations if you are a seamstress. I begin with a work previously created, sometimes as much as a hundred fifty years ago and bring it back to brilliance and stability.
The process includes bringing the stained glass art into the gallery where in many cases it will be totally dismantled and reassembled. In other cases, removing a broken pane of glass is required. Most often re-leading the entire piece is required for stability.
Among the obstacles of restoration is the availability of the exact same glass for replacement. If the exact glass is no longer available, I search among all current stained glass manufacturers to find something as close as possible.
Often if the piece is old the grout has to be chiseled out with precision around the area to be replaced so as not to do further damage.
For example, the church window shown to the left was brought into the gallery with cracked glass, missing glass, and crumbling lead. Over a hundred fifty years the window had bowed from the weight of the lead and the glass.
Actually, the restoration project consisted to six stained glass windows that had been removed from a church and were being re-purposed for use in an outdoor cathedral and a bell tower.
Two of the panels were the arched shape shown left. I was able to restore each of the arched windows in two sections because the design incorporated a large metal brace bar. Copper wires were attached to the lead joints and wound around the bar for stability. This requires a special skill set and an complete understanding of stained glass restoration.
Much of the glass was cracked and some was completely gone. Glass was chosen to match as close as possible. Where cracks were concerned, the customer requested they remain to keep as much of the original glass as possible. This meant carefully removing the pieces and taping them together while re leading.