Stained Glass
Repair & Restoration

 

Leaded Light Repair

You can expect a well-made stained glass window to last a lifetime. However, breakages happen, and over the years cement deteriorates, solder joints split, and the glass becomes unstable. This is especially true for door panels and opening casements of age due to the daily action of opening and closing.

The restoration process is different for every leaded light we work on. A handful of broken pieces could be repaired on site, but a door panel that has deteriorated may have to be removed from the door and restored at our workshop in Leeds. Nearly all of the glass used in leaded lights dating from pre-WW2 is now obsolete. Glass produced in Britain pre 1940 was exceptional, and has a certain clarity and sparkle not often found in modern flat glass. Many of the textures are also no longer made, which can present challenges when carrying out restoration. We have a good stock of glass from old leaded lights and we will always use an exact match from our reclaimed stock if possible when replacing broken pieces. 

Contact us to enquire about repairs.

Before and after repair of an old stained glass window
 

In situ Repairs
 

Single pieces of the leaded light that have broken can be replaced on site in most circumstances. We always do our best to replace the broken piece with an appropriate match. Whether that’s an exact or close match from salvage, or using a modern reproduction. See the gallery below for some examples of in situ repairs.

 

Re-leading
 

The term re-leading simply means to rebuild the leaded light with new lead and preserving as much original glass as possible. This is done when the lead has perished, solder joints have split, cement is falling out and the panel feels wobbly or unstable. If left too long in this condition glass may fall out and break, so it’s best to address it before that happens. The re-leading process is as follows. Damian or James will come and remove the leaded light and securely board or temporarily glaze the window/door. The leaded light will then be taken to our workshop. We take a rubbing (impression of the lead lines) as a guide for when we rebuild it.

 

The panel is then disassembled, and the old lead is set aside for recycling. Each piece of glass is thoroughly cleaned using a variety of methods. Any broken pieces are replaced at this point with the best possible match. We then begin rebuilding with new lead came of the same profile as the original. The lead is soldered together and cemented (forming a weather seal and giving stability). The panel is then cleaned again and polished to a high standard ready for glazing. We will then book a date to reinstall the leaded light. The process from removing to reinstalling can take a few weeks.