Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stain Glass Lamp Repair Project- Part 1

Many years ago I broke a stain glass lamp of my Mother's that she had inherited from her Grandmother. I have felt guilty about damaging such a beautiful piece of art and family history ever since. When I start this, my second year, in the Historic Preservation and Restoration Program I saw an opportunity right this wrong. I enrolled in a class called Material Sciences: Stain Glass, and quickly found that the project was going to be much harder than i had envisioned . First of all, there are different kinds of glass, two of which are fusible and non fusible. Stain glass, for the most part, is not fusible, which means it is not good for slumping, which is how you get curved glass. Furthermore, you have to have a specialized glass kiln to heat the glass to a high enough temperature for the glass to slump and bend. We did not have one. So I had to be more creative and learn more about what I was attempting. I started with what I knew had to be done.

I taped the broken panel back together, making sure that I had the original shape and angle.(The lamp has six of these curved stain glass panels that make the shade.)

I laid tracing paper over the taped form and traced the outline of the panel.

I found a similar piece of glass (a little lighter) to the original and scored and grinded it to the fit my pattern.

In a separate class I made a clay mold, using the panel's curve. The mold was hollowed out then fired to a high temperature so that the mold be strong and retain it's shape.

Here is the clay mold. I made it a little wider than the new glass I cut, leaving room for expantion.

Picture of the day

The Steamboat Pilot house in the Holy Cross neighborhood of New Orleans.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back from New Orleans

A row of boarded up houses in the Holy Cross neighborhood.
John cutting glass for windows at the village.
The Village is a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward and also our daily meeting place while working with Historic Green.

Claire, Jeff, Ray and John at the village on our first day.

The author on the front steps of the our project house the day before we began work.

We have returned from our volunteer vacation in New Orleans. What a great experience and cool historic town! Most of us we able to work with Bill Hole on a fixer upper home in the lower ninth ward. We took down siding, repaired framing and termite infested girders. We installed bracing and ridge foam installation before re installing both old and new siding. Photos of this house and other in the Lower ninth and Holy Cross neighborhood are up on our Picasa site (http://http// Please check them out. I hope to have stories from everyone involved posted soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week One: Part Two

The removal of the window took longer than expected. We had first, jokingly, estimated the job would be in total 'about an hour'. From first arrival until the window made its way into the truck was in all a two day, three person, six hour process. The main difficulty came from the inwardly decreasing radius of the bay itself, and the parting bead that prevented the outward movement of the wood sash. Ultimately that wood sash had to be paired down with a series of sharp chisels to facilitate the inward removal of the window from its surrounds. Speculation was that the parting bead continued from the lower bay window through to the upper portion through the upper sill. I believe the leaded panel was later added to replace an original construction of radius antique glass, from when the house was first built.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Picture of the day

I am continuing to work on my broken stain glass window. I have been dedicating and extra few hours a weeks to it. After removing solder from joints that held in the broken glass, I took out and reassembled the panels of broken glass. Then I traced those shapes onto new glass. Next came cutting and grinding the new panels. Here I am refitting them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week One


Exterior of Barnum House, facing H street

Before work can begin on any piece of historic fabric, ample effort must first be given to the documentation of its history, composition and existing condition. Any damage or deterioration is recorded through the use of photography, sketching, and written documentation. All of this can easily be done with a camera, some quarter inch graph paper, a tape measure and a reliable pencil. Thought is directed towards the pathways of the problems back to their original sources. Future generations are now able to look back and understand why treatments were undertaken.

Interior photographic compilation

The degree of documentation prescribed depends on the significance of the project. Typically in leaded glass, dating and documenting is preformed by taking regard for the building context, inscriptions and signatures, composition and other stylistic elements, framing and surround, reinforcement and leading details, and by looking at the glass itself. Opalescent glass did not appear before the year 1880, when it was patented by John LaFarge. That same year Tiffany also patented two variations on LaFarge's technique.

Close-up of damaged glass, also some opalescent glass

Opalescent glass from Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co., Inc.

For more information on opalescent glass follow these links -