Lead Tips

I'd like to start working in lead came. I already have tools for copper foil, what else do I need?
To work in lead came there are a few additional tools and supplies that will be needed or helpful.
lead window dvd Start with a good basic instruction book or DVD.  Try checking out Stained Glass Basics if you prefer a book.  Some of it will be review, but it also has a good section on lead came and repairs.  Traditional Leaded Glass Windows or Get the Lead Out are two of the many DVD's available at Delphi. Both are informative and walk you through the process of building a lead came panel.

Add a few basic tools to your workshop. The first is a pair of lead nippers or a lead knife, which are used to cut the came accurately for a good fit. A lead stretcher such as our Stanton Lead Stretcher is very helpful, but if not in your budget you can get by with a lead vise and a pair of pliers (plus a bit of muscle) to stretch your came to keep the panel from stretching or sagging over time. Horseshoe nails and a glazing hammer are used to keep the project assembled and snugly fit as you build outward. The lead stop blocks are a great addition, keeping the lead channel open and the glass pieces level as you tack it in place.

New supplies: came, cement and whiting powder. Select the lead came you want to use - it comes in a number of sizes and configurations (this is where the book and DVD will help out). Lead is available in strips or spools. After assembling and soldering, you will need cement or putty. The Inland cement system is premixed and eliminates the messy measuring and mixing of several products to make cement. You will also want some whiting powder to help clean up the excess cement and jump start the drying process while polishing the project. Also pick up a scrub brush that you can use to apply the cement and whiting powder.
lead tool kit

Does lead came always need to be stretched?
Yes. Always stretch your lead came, whether it's in strips or on a roll. This will keep your lead from stretching and sagging after you've assembled it into a project. Stretching will also give you nice, straight pieces of lead to work with as you build your project.


Friday, February 8, 2019
91 Posts

@ A trick I learned from our expert lead instructor is that for sharply angled points it can sometimes be difficult to cut as a single cut. To achieve the sharp corners, cut the came slightly longer than needed. Using lead nippers, make cuts to separate the "heart" of the came from both "faces" of the came. Cut the faces of the came to the length and angle needed to fit your pattern, then trim the heart of the came to match the shortest edge of your angle cut. It should now assemble neatly to join your pieces.


Thursday, October 27, 2016
47 Posts

@loveofpoms If you wish to make the repairs yourself, you can use your regular stained glass tools. You can find helpful instructions for making the repair in a book such as "Making Stained Glass Lamps" or "Stained Glass Basics".


Tuesday, August 16, 2016
1 Post

I have a vintage Tiffany dragonfly lamp , that needs repair where the lead has come loose. Can you please tell me what I will need to repair this? Thank you!


Monday, January 18, 2016
91 Posts

@Rzwerdling The channel of the wood framing stock that we offer is 3/8" deep x 5/16" wide, and will completely conceal your 1/4" Adjustable U (or smaller) zinc, brass or copper came border.


Sunday, January 17, 2016
2 Posts

I'm interested in adding a wood frame from Delphi to frame my stained glass panel 9" x 36". I wanted the frame to be 1" wide oak from Delphi What type/ size of came channel (?) do I need to fit in the wood frame routing so it is completely concealed when constructed?


Friday, December 11, 2015
91 Posts

@bsxtr2311150357 5/64" RU Hobby Came is designed as a border for small projects and sun catchers. To stretch it you can secure one end in a bench vise then, making sure it's not twisted, use pliers to pull and stretch it. It doesn't overlap far onto the edges of the glass, so it's very important that it is well stretched before use (any amount of stretching or sagging after assembly will allow glass to come out easily). It should be cut for a tight fit, then soldered at the cut ends and each point an internal solder line or lead line intersects with it. Because it is narrow, it solders very quickly - be careful not to overheat and melt the came. If you are looking for a more substantial border, 1/8" Flat U Lead would be slightly wider (1/16" is not available - it would actually be smaller than 5/64").


Wednesday, December 9, 2015
1 Post

I just got some of the 5/64" u channel hobby came like the others and also cannot find good information on how to use it. It it flat with very tiny edges that will not hold the glass. Do you stretch it by hand and then use it like copper foil, bending up the edges and then burnishing it? Then, just carefully solder the joints so it doesn't melt? It is for a small sun catcher. Also, it 1/16" a better choice than 5/64"? I couldn't find 1/16 on Delphi's website so I thought I would try the 5/64, but as I said, there is really no lip on the 5/64 so I am not sure how it is supposed to hold the glass well.

Jennifer Bonesteel

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Delphi Expert
188 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist

@livinit04 cement and whiting powder should always be used in lead applications for strenth and stability.


Saturday, April 4, 2015
1 Post

I'm using 1/4" round U-shaped lead came to frame a panel that is 20"x12" with the top arched. Do I need to cement/whiting?


Friday, April 5, 2013
22 Posts

@fred223delphi Also stretching lead removes the kinks, straightens the lead, making it more rigid which helps reduce the likelihood that it will sag over time.