The steps that we use in creating a commissioned stained glass window

Our initial meeting includes a presentation of our completed work and a discussion with the client on design preferences and budget.

Firm prices depend on the amount of detail in the windows, and quotations made upon submission of watercolor renderings of our suggested designs.

The watercolor renderings are made to a scale of 1”=1’0”. They show the size and number of the pieces, and the color scheme. We request a non-refundable deposit of 10% of the total ordered (per window design) to cover the cost of the designs and the research into possible themes for the windows. Upon approval of the preliminary design, another drawing is submitted for approval that is the actual size of the window(s), and in black-and-white (the cartoon). The full size drawings become the patterns that are used to cut and assemble the glass. Samples of the proposed glass are also shown.

Upon approval of the full size drawing, the glass is selected and cut. If required by the design, the glass is hand painted to achieve certain details, after it is cut into the individual pieces and before the pieces are assembled. All of our painted glass is fired permanently onto the glass. Some of the details require up to three applications and firings in our kiln to achieve the desired effects.

To assemble the window, each piece of cut glass is set into its respective position and bound with a strip of lead in the form of an “H” channel. Where each of these metal strips intersects, a joint is formed. Each joint in the assembled panel is soldered on both sides of the panel, using a lead and tin combination heated with a soldering iron. We use the highest quality lead and solder in the completion of the windows. After assembly, the window is waterproofed by brushing a soft, putty-like mixture on both sides of the window panels.

The completed window is installed at the site. All of our work is installed so that it may be removed and/or repaired in the future. All framing is plumb, level and true, with proper reinforcing used to prevent premature aging of the windows. Your new stained glass windows will last for over a century with little maintenance.

Step 1
A proposal is made in the form of watercolor renderings, to scale (usually, 1’ = 1’0”), with accompanying price quotations.
Step 2
Upon approval of the preliminary design, another drawing is made that is the actual size of the window, and in black-and-white.
Step 3
From the full size drawing, the glass is selected and cut. The scale drawings are a fairly accurate rendition of the finished work, and the full size drawings are the patterns that are used to cut and assemble the glass.
Step 4
Glass painting, gluing or etching: When there are details on the glass not achieved by lead and glass alone, these processes must be completed before the pieces of glass are assembled. With glass painting, the pieces are hand painted onto the surface, and fired permanently in a kiln, much like in ceramics.
Step 5
Assembly: Each piece of lead came is formed and cut to fit every piece of glass individually, by hand, using the pattern or glazing drawing as a template. When the entire section of window has been completed, the next step is to solder each of the lead intersections, or “joints”, on both sides of the panels.
Step 6
Finishing: May include the Cementing: An organic mixture of glazing compound, linseed oil and calcium carbonate is brushed under the edges of the lead cames on both sides of the windows. Then the edges of the lead are smoothed down and the excess cement is brushed off. Finally, calcium carbonate is applied to absorb the excess cement, and the window is cleaned and ready for reinforcement before installation.
Step 7