It’s a new year (and the final day of my vacation) and it seemed appropriate to put to bed the final, planned post of the foyer window saga. My overall intent for this post is to remind myself of the steps and effort that went into this project just as much as it is to share with others.
The first step was to build both a convex and concave form on which to build the window itself. I attached 1x4s to a plywood base and then laid the existing sash at the end marking each 1×4 with the curve at the corresponding sash location. Once that was done, I removed the 1x4s and ripped them length-wise at approximately the angle of the curve marked earlier. The result of which was one for the convex and one for the concave form. Once complete, they were reattached and lined with 1/2 inch plywood. For some reason, the curve was off slightly; hence, the shims in this photo. I discovered this during a sanity check when I laid the original curved glass on the form and discovered that it wasn’t quite correct.
The next step was to remove the existing glass, strip the sash (inside and out), prime and paint the exterior, shellac the interior, design the window, create a cartoon, and attach the cartoon to the form. Two straight edges were then attached to the form on the cartoon on which to begin the build process. This window went through a couple of revisions. The cartoon was, obviously, originally designed for “stars” and curved clear pieces. It was easily changed to diamonds all around; a much simpler design element from a construction perspective.
I began first by building the “medallions” using copper foil instead of lead. Okay, I’m not the greatest at copper foil construction…
A photo of the construction in progress. (If you have viewed my blog before, some of these images may be a repeat.)
Once the window was built and soldered on one side, it was time to flip it and solder the other side. This was done by covering it with an old flannel sheet and sandwiching it between the two forms, connecting the forms together, flipping them, and removing the concave form. The rag attached to the window was to protect the crystal facet in the medallion during the many moves on and off the form.
Once the soldering was complete, it was time to cement the window. The leaded window was surprising strong at this point. It could be removed from the form with relative ease. Cementing serves two purposes–1) It makes the window weatherproof, and 2) it provides strength to the window itself. Both forms were covered in plastic since they would be brought back inside and used as part of the build process. Cementing makes quite a mess and it was easier to protect the cartoon rather than removing it to cement each window.
Once the cement was forced into every nook and cranny, the entire window was covered with whiting and scrubbed vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush. The whiting absorbs excess linseed oil and polishes the glass, removing any flux, etc. left from soldering.
Using a sharp, wooden stick, all of the lead lines were traced removing any excess cement left after scrubbing with the whiting.
Using the same stiff-bristled brush the entire window was “swept” off and cleaned of any remaining debris. Of course, this whole process was repeated for both sides of the window.
The window was then returned inside to complete the final solder step–attaching the ties for the window bracing. For this project, I opted to go with ties since I have yet to master the art of soldering to rectangular reinforcing. Ties are also historically accurate, so I’m good with it.
For this window, my stained glass supplier/teacher/mentor suggested that I use round bracing rods as they would be easier to bend to the shape of the curve. I planned to use two rods on each sash. Once it was determined where in the design they were best suited, I transferred those measurements to the sash. I drilled holes into the sash to receive the rods.
And installed the rods…
The leaded window and sash were now ready. After laying down glazing compound, the window was placed in the sash and attached to the rods. The ends of the ties were soldered to prevent them from coming apart and to cover the sharp end left after cutting them to length.
The window, glazed and ready for installation.
And, of course, the final product…