Monday, 18 April 2016

Inspiration from Amsterdam

I've just got back from a short visit to Amsterdam.

There's much more use of stained glass ('Glas in Lood' as they call it) over there than in the UK, with even modern buildings and shops using some coloured glass to soften the light coming in, and to give some colour to light going out (at night).
One bar we found - 't Lommertje on Bos en Lommerweg - has large panels in all the outer windows, with the leaded panels encapsulated in double glazed units (partly for insulation, and partly, no doubt, for security - the panels would be very vulnerable to damage). Somehow this has rather more style than the sterile uPVC units you see in shop and café windows in the UK:
Most of the designs we saw made maximum use of straight lines - straight cuts being much easier to get right than curves, greatly reducing the labour cost of each panel. Here are a few examples:

In at least one case I saw a leaded panel fitted behind a conventional uPVC window (rather than bei9ng encapsulated within it). I've been planning to try that for some time, and it will be one of my next projects.
One glass-related observation I did make - in the otherwise wonderful Rembrandtshuis museum, the leaded windows of the 17th century building have obviously been restored, with new leads, and some glass lights being replaced. Unfortunately, it's clear which lights have been replaced - they have used modern 3mm glass (optically perfect) whereas the old 17th century stuff had a few ripples in it. I did wonder whether they could get something like clear water glass, which would work better; I've used red and pastel water glass in the past but I wasn't sure if clear is available. Later that day we went to the 't Lommertje, where some of the lights are clear water glass! I will be reviewing Rembrandshuis for Tripadvisor soon, I'm not sure whether everyone will feel it a fair criticism but, in fact, the glass in the windows would have had a significant impact on the light available to the artist - so it should really be right.

Friday, 1 April 2016

I’ve now found some amber glass that’s suitable for the panel in the Victorian house. It’s ‘Wissmach Light Amber Seville’, code W112. I’ve shown a sample to the client and she is happy with the match, next step is to order some more and then plan in the job, probably for some time in early May.

I’ve moved forward on the other two pieces previously mentioned. For the mirror, I have selected some coloured glass to plate in front of some parts of the mirror: the English Muffle green and red pick up the light well, and will look good in the planned garden setting.

Work on the small panel I picked up in Cambridgeshire has started. Both top and bottom leads will need replacing, and the side ones will need some work to clean them up satisfactorily. I’ve soldered some of the broken joints and am trimming the side leads to allow a new top lead to be fitted.

I’ve also had a couple of other projects worth mentioning. The first, albeit not at all time consuming, involves a window which I repaired four years ago in ‘The Cock’ in Hitchin, (on a July day, in pouring rain, with a bagpipe player fifteen yards away..!)  
Areas of the lead that I had worked had become oxidised over the last couple of years, and I popped by and polished them with a little boiled linseed oil. This should keep them looking good for at least a few years. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos below don’t really show how much better the lead looks now but I can wholly recommend this treatment for any leads that are looking a bit pale.

(Befiore: )


Finally, I had a request to help save a copper foil panel from disintegration. The foil had weakened at the edges and broken resulting in a small piece of glass coming away:

This often happens with copper foil work; the solution I’ve used in the past has been to frame the whole piece in some C-section lead. Having done this, the piece now looks fit for another few years on a windowsill: