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home : community : tips & techniques : stained glass : stained glass window panels : reinforcing stained glass windows

Reinforcing Stained Glass Windows

Reinforcement is necessary on larger windows. As a rule of thumb, a window more than three square feet should be reinforced. Either reinforcing bar or rod may be used for support. Be sure to consider this when designing the window so that the reinforcement does not intrude or compromise the design of the finished work. In either case the reinforcement is soldered to the back of the panel in one of two ways. The bar should be pre-tinned before use. You will solder the bar in several places at intersecting lines on the window. Rough the areas to be soldered on the bar with steel wool. Apply flux and coat the areas with solder. Doing this will make soldering the bar to the window much easier. Place the bar on edge and solder to the window in the predetermined areas.

When using rod, a length of pre-tinned wire is first soldered at several intersecting lines on the window where the rod will sit. The rod rests on the wire which is twisted around it. Apply a bit of solder to the twisted wire. Solder either end of the rod (or bar) to the edge came. In some cases the rod or bar extends on either side of the panel and is “buried” in the wood casing of the window to provide optimum security. The casing is notched where the bar will fit and filled over to disguise it.

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162 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist
Jennifer Bonesteel
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
@Retired Plumber we would suggest one piece of rebar running horizontally on the 14.5" x 59.5" piece and three pieces, two vertically and one horizontally on the 12" x 81.5" piece.
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1 Post
Linda R.
Friday, April 12, 2013
I am making a 22" x 10" panel for outside wall, but the window has an overhang and is inset so has limited weather exposure. Is it okay to use foil technique?
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147 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist
Chandra Agostini
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
@Tina/Larry It is recommended that you cement first, but bear in mind that you will need to wash with flux remover again after tacking/soldering the reinforcing strip in place in order to prevent any acid flux from sitting on or near the lead/solder joints.
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1 Post
Monday, August 27, 2012
When using a steel reinforcing bar, do you cement first or after the bar is soldered?
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1 Post
Gallery Artist Contest Participant
Monday, May 7, 2012
Hi, I am working on a panel using the copper foil method of construction. The panel is 21" tall and 30" wide. After reading thru some of the responses here, I am a little confused. Should I be reinforcing my panel horizontally or vertically every 18"?
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1 Post
Friday, March 30, 2012
I saw a product somewhere that was some sort of a clip that attached to the glass so you didn't have to drill a hole to make a wind chime. Does anyone know of this method and where to get them? alcheral
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38 Posts
Top Contributor
Monday, March 26, 2012
@jdavidson Based on the width of your panel reinforcement isn’t really necessary but it doesn’t hurt to be safe. As far as the exterior H came; finding a break in your design where you can align the solder lines will probably create the best aesthetic. We would love to see pictures when you are done!
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1 Post
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I want to make panels for my full sidelights at front door entry. My plan is to use 1/2" lead H came for the frame. Will renforcemet flat 1/8" bar be sufficent if placed at thirds? The finished panel will be 12 x 78 inches. The longest 1/2 inch H came I can find is 72 inches long. Should I divide the came in thirds along the long side of the panel as well so the points where the came frame is soldered is where reinforcement will be placed?
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1 Post
Monday, December 19, 2011
Hi! I have a 6'x3' half round panel I have to make that will go above a church door. Do you think that Strong Line Steel Reinforcement or restrip would be enough to hold it considering that the door will be continuously slammed I would imagine and the vibration will probably stress the glass? Also another concern I had is due to the fact that the window has a curve, I will have to use lead, as opposed to zinc U channel (I do not hve a jig to bend zinc). Would that be strong enough to hold up such design?
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2 Posts
Gallery Artist Contest Participant
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I recently finished a large window (approximately 6' tall by 30" wide) and I used copper strips along each side, then across the panel where I could fit it into the pattern. It seems to be "ok" so far. I have it mounted in an oak frame and that is screwed in place inside of the existing window frame against four lath strips. The soldering is a little tricky since the copper strips are higher than the glass surface, but it puts more solder along those lines in the panel. Since the stained glass window is inside the home and not exposed to any outside weather, I think it will be fine. I also don't live in an earthquake area; if I did I would most likely have used some reinforcing rods as well.
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