Glass Repair


This face of Prometheus from Napier Waller’s 1935 ‘Leckie’ window was badly damaged, with fragments of glass having been lost.  In this case we were able to access some of the original red flashed glass from his studio which remains in trust as it did the day he died in 1972.  The face was originally made using two separate pieces of glass plated one in front of the other.

One of the basic principles of ethical conservation practice is maximum retention of the original fabric and with modern repair techniques broken glass can be repaired in a manner that is all but invisible.  For this reason it is important for the custodian, if the worst should occur, to gather up all the broken shards of glass and retain them until they can be repaired.

Our preferred method of repair is achieved through the use of thin copper foil and solder.  This method is unaffected by either UV radiation or dampness, as are all currently available adhesives, and the process is fully reversible if the need should arise at any time in the future.

Each shard of glass has copper foil tape wrapped around its edge and then the pieces are pinned together in tight position on the work bench before being fused together with tin/lead solder.  The resultant repair is invisible in the window except at very close quarters.

Preservation of window glass

The numerous pieces of painted coloured glass that go to make up a stained glass window are the ‘canvas’ of the original stained glass artist and should be preserved at all costs. Many of our most beautiful windows have had ‘mongrel’ glass inserted in them over the years with no thought given to the long term conservation of what is often a very valuable and culturally significant art work. Modern conservation techniques, and indeed traditional methods, enable the repair and retention of all broken glass. 

Too often, due to no known alternative, a handyman or leadlighter is given the job of repairing broken stained glass and must come up with some solution to stop the rain and other weather from entering the building. He usually achieves this by replacing the original glass with whatever new glass he has available at the time and which hardly ever matches the original in colour, let alone painted artwork. If this is the only solution available to you, it is very important to collect and store all of the broken glass fragments which can be repaired and replaced in the window in the future.

What from the outside may appear to be an irretrievably shattered piece of old glass, when viewed from the inside reveals itself to be a beautiful and restorable work of art.

Copyright © 1996-2012  Geoffrey Wallace Stained Glass