Window Panels: Zinc Or Lead For The Edges?

I am making pattern 8054 Roses & Ribbons which has a size of 24" x 18". Should this project be framed with H-lead or zinc? The project will be placed into a wooden frame upon completion. Perhaps I have been reading too much, I have come across a few articles where repair work has had to be done on windows because the zinc could not stand up to the task and bowing of the glass, etc. resulted. For this project I am using the lead method instead of copper foil. HELP!

Don't let articles like these discourage you; there are several reasons why this may be happening and all can be prevented. It's possible for a panel which measures more than 18" to 24" vertically to buckle regardless of whether it is framed in lead or zinc. First of all, any panel with measurements this large should be reinforced approximately every 12" to 18" horizontally. The weight of the glass in panel may cause it to buckle or press downward. Use external reinforcement (zinc rebar), by soldering this directly across the back of your panel. This helps support the piece's weight. If a piece is to be framed with adjustable "U" zinc, the weight of the panel may cause the opening on the bottom strip to open and the panel will slide downward through the channel and buckle. All you need to remember to do is slip a dowel into the bottom piece before you finish soldering it into place to help support the panel. Framing your piece with flat "H" lead is fine, too. If you are installing your window into an opening that may potentially not be square or some of the framing is warped, you can trim part of the lead channel to make installation easier. If you were using zinc, brass, or copper, you would have to remove the channel, either re-cut or grind the glass, and replace the channel, which can be a lot of work!

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Steena Gaut

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Delphi Expert
108 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@I have repaired broken glass on several old (60-80 year old) panels that were made of zinc. So framing your lead panel in zinc shouldn't be a problem. If panels are to be outside I always recommend waxing (finishing compound) Spring, Summer and in November.

Kayleigh Clark

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Delphi Expert
125 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

The short answer is yes you can use zinc. However, over time, the moisture will break down the metal. This most likely will not happen right away. Zinc over time exposed to moisture will often turn white and oxidize. Lead actually would handle that much better.

comments4

Monday, April 1, 2019
91 Posts

@ The Canfield Diamond Lead Free Came you reference we only offer in an H channel, which is ideal for using between glass pieces to assemble a project. This came has a unique working temperature range, and can only be used with the matching solder from Canfield as shown together at https://www.delphiglass.com/lead-came-supplies/lead-free-came/Alternatively, we do offer zinc came which can be used with any lead-free solder, and it is available in both H channel to assemble glass pieces and U channel to apply a border. Zinc came unfortunately is a rigid metal, which can make it more challenging to use in designs that have curves.

Jennifer Bonesteel

Monday, July 14, 2014
Delphi Expert
188 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@Catherine E. we recommend framing your piece in zinc - 3/8" - 1/2" will work best for maximum support. Wood stop can be used to cover the zinc around the panel and secure the window.

Jennifer Bonesteel

Monday, July 14, 2014
Delphi Expert
188 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@toryhillglass assuming you've already framed your piece with rigid came, our oak framing stock is a great choice for adding strength and decorative framing.

toryhillglass

Monday, July 7, 2014
1 Post

I am working on a leaded panel that is approximately 3' x 3'. It has two support pieces, but I am looking for something about 1" that I can frame the panel in. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

catheagen2911151018

Friday, July 4, 2014
1 Post

I have only framed panels in zinc came for hanging but now I need to know about trimming a panel for installation. I need to trim a copper foil panel (8" wide by 18" tall) that will be installed on the interior of a double paned glass window in a wooden door. I am using a Delphi catalogue to look at came. To trim should I use lead came, 1/8" Flat U? Thanks for your expert advice.

csgtdw

Sunday, May 22, 2011
1 Post

This is a great article. I haven't had any issues with the zinc and rebar but I have also never heard of putting a dowel into the bottom channel of the came that is awesome. Would that same principle work by filling the bottom of the channel with caulk or the like possibly giving the window space to spread in the seasons (I am in Chicago and the weather is so varied that a door which closes nicely in the winter has to be given a shoulder and body weight to close in the summer because the wood swells so badly. I see more actual outward bowing than downward slumping in panels here.