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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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Karina Foster

Monday, March 20, 2017
Delphi Expert
146 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@ While there is no absolute rule based on the project size, our experts would generally suggest using a zinc came border. This can be bent to match your pattern using a came bender tool, and it may take several passes through the tool to achieve the correct diameter curve without folding, crimping or buckling. In addition to using a rigid metal came, it would be a good idea to use a single piece of rebar run horizontally at the center of a panel this size. If that cannot be accommodated based on the intended installation you could opt to use reinforcing strip between pieces, but it would make assembly a bit more complicated as it needs to be run as a continuous strip from edge to edge.

Karina Foster

Monday, February 20, 2017
Delphi Expert
146 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@ The exact approach you take to reinforcing the panel will depend on the design as well as how you plan to install it. Using reinforcing strip, run continuously across the shorter dimension of the project (between glass pieces) in a few places often is sufficient. Alternately you could use rebar spanning the shorter dimension in 2 places (splitting the panel roughly into thirds visually) is another way to add considerable strength. For either option, I would encourage you to consider using a rigid came border around the panel and install it into the door using appropriate trim to secure your art.

Karina Foster

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Delphi Expert
146 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@ Many homeowners opt to leave an existing window in place when installing a glass art sidelight or transom. The additional panes of glass can protect the art, add thermal insulation value, and help provide additional security for the home.When installing glass art next to an existing window it is ideal to maintain a small air space between panes and around the outside frame of the project to allow air to circulate, preventing moisture from being trapped where it will cause condensation. This can be achieved by using Cabinet Door Clips to install the panel or by installing small wood spacer blocks before capturing the panel in the finish trim.

Karina Foster

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Delphi Expert
146 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@Memd913 While a 2' x 2' copper foil panel typically wouldn't require additional reinforcement, the extra strain from being installed horizontally warrants a bit of extra strength. You can opt to use reinforcing strip positioned between glass pieces from border to border through the panel or to give it a little heavier support by installing zinc rebar. The rebar should be attached standing "on-edge" from border to border, and soldered or wire-tied to the panel at each point it crosses a solder line, then soldered to the rigid came border on the panel. Many people find that using 2 pieces of rebar positioned evenly on the panel is less visible than a single piece positioned at the center.

Memd913

Monday, January 2, 2017
1 Post

I'm making a 2'x2' copper foil panel that will be laid flat as a skylight. What do you suggest for reinforcement?

Chandra Agostini

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Delphi Expert
153 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@kjcarfieldIt should be sufficent if you are running the rebar from horizontally from one side to the other.

Jennifer Bonesteel

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Delphi Expert
188 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@niemanla one piece of rebar through the center should be sufficient to support your piece.

niemanla

Thursday, July 2, 2015
1 Post

I'm working on a 27" radius half circle panel that will go on the inside of a window flat against the glass. (I can send you a picture of panel pattern in the actual window) The panel will have 3/8" U zinc along the bottom, and 1/8" zinc capping along the circle outer edge. Will a single 1/8" x 1/4" tinned steel rebar placed vertically up the center of the panel be sufficient? I plan to attached the rebar on the front side so the panel can rest flat against the window glass.

kjcarfield

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
2 Posts

I have finished a semi circle copper foiled project with 225 pieces measuring 64 in X 32 (approx. 11 sq ft). I have framed it with 1/2" U zinc came. I was planning on reinforcing the project using 1/8" steel rebar and 1/3 intervals vertically. Will my project be sufficiently reinforced?

Jennifer Bonesteel

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Delphi Expert
188 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@Rzwerdling ideally you would use three pieces of rebar - one in the center and two more - one between the center and the top, the other between the center and the bottom.