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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

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Delphi Expert
175 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@ For a large panel, such as the 5' x 6' size you are working on, the project should be reinforced with rebar. Rebar should be installed horizontally from border to border and soldered to the artwork at each point it contacts a solder line and to the came border. Most artists find that installing the rebar so that it divides the panel into thirds approximately is the least visually distracting and provides adequate support. Zinc rebar

Karina Foster

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Delphi Expert
175 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@LeonJBeha a window of this size is in the gray-area of what sort of reinforcement may be necessary or appropriate. The 1/2" zinc border and fixed wood sash mount will do a considerable amount to help protect your art and keep it strong for years to come. If you want the peace of mind of knowing it's reinforced, you can absolutely add reinforcement. Your options are to use reinforcing strip, started at one edge of the panel, worked across to the other border by inserting it into the lead channel as you build up and out. It will meander, but by keeping a continuous strip it helps to disperse the weight. Another option is to use zinc rebar run across the 20" span attached at the borders and tacked at each point it crosses a lead line. If opting to use zinc rebar, most artists find it less visually distracting to install 2 pieces that visually break the artwork into thirds approximately.

LeonJBeha

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
1 Post

I am making a 28 inch wide x 20 inch high leaded glass window. It will be exposed on the inside but will have a thermopane panel on the outside to protect it from the elements. It will have a 1/2 inch zinc channel around the perimeter and will be mounted in a fixed wood window sash. Do I need edge to edge reinforcing? If I do, since there are no straight lines all the way through the design, what do you recommend I use?

Karina Foster

Friday, September 1, 2017
Delphi Expert
175 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@Romykay Often the method of reinforcement is dictated by the design of your artwork. If the project is designed as a sun catcher with an irregular outside shape, then the most effective method of reinforcement may be to run a continuous strip of copper wire, braided wire or ball chain around the perimeter and solder it in to create a lovely thick solder bead on the outer edge.

Romykay

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
1 Post

I made a stained glass letter D that is about 13 inches high and 8 inches wide. What can I use to reinforce it?

Karina Foster

Monday, March 20, 2017
Delphi Expert
175 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
175 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
175 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
175 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?