March 15th, 2011 – Stained Glass Restoration

photograph of a stained glass restoration studio workshop
workshop photograph

Well, I started back doing the restoration work in January. How can we sum up last year selling art on the streets… Utterly miserable in terms of financial reward. If I hadn’t of been so broke I would have given up several times but sometimes when you are in it so much there’s no point giving up. I started so ill finish… The year was a tester and Christmas was brutal, standing out there till about 9 pm at night in an average of -15 degrees. mmmm was it all worth it? No. The whole plan of putting in enough effort throughout the year to hopefully get some come-back custom come Christmas didn’t happen. I was also severely understocked and I feel wasn’t able to even show my best work because I didn’t have the money to buy lead and glass. I worked with what I had and that revealed some new ideas in itself but overall it really sucked.
But alas I saw it through and in January got my old job back doing the restoration work.
I used my first 2 weeks’ wages to buy some food…. no that would have been sensible… I bought a camera so I could start documenting the work we do. I feel it’s a true hand trade that’s going to be lost, tricks and wee bits of information that are slipping away into the cracks of time and these things are not recoverable so I’m doing my best to learn and at the same time capture some photos of the work we do. When the scaffolding is up around the church I’m privileged to views that have not been seen since the church was built in the first place. So with the camera around my back, it’s off to work. The main part of the plan was to set the camera up and try some time-lapse photography as we work. Taking a photo every 10 seconds then string them together. I’ve had some problems as I get used to the camera itself ( i have little knowledge of how the damn thing works) so I try and learn from each attempt. The job we are doing had already started so I had no time to trial test the experiment.

The windows we are removing are zinc framed and really in disrepair. They practically fall apart, so first, we remove the old windows saving as much of the glass as we can to be used elsewhere then chisel out the window channels (the window rests a little in each side and each panel sits on top of the previous). Once they are all in an iron bar is fitted at the intersections of the panels into the channels and copper ties that are positioned on the 2 meeting panels are wound around the bar locking it all in place.

Then Putty is worked into the sides all around the entire window, finished nicely and that’s that.
Hers one of the best day shots so far, I missed the first 1o minutes of work until I noticed the camera wasn’t making its familiar clicking sound every 10 seconds. Remember to check the remote is on the right setting before you start work… another lesson learned.

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