Song Birds

Another door project. This time a pair of traditional stained glass panels in a front door. In a house probably not far off 100 years old and the door itself beginning to feel its age.

At one time the panels would have been very attractive, matching and secure. One of the panels had been restored at some point in a very sloppy way. It no longer matched its partner, which was to be rebuilt because the putty had deteriorated and was mostly gone, some pieces of glass were broken or missing and all the lead was failing; it was falling apart.

A very interesting project because in addition to removing and rebuilding one of the panels I also had to do something about the other panel, as it no longer had a matching diamond shaped central piece.

This image shows the original pair of panels in the door.

Note the mismatching diamond centres. The panel on the right was rebuilt previously and whoever did it had to contend with a broken and presumably unrepairable diamond piece. They replaced it with a piece of yellow textured glass and then stuck a picture of a whale and rainbow in the middle. Hmmm, nice.

The panel on the left is the one that needed to be rebuilt, and note that it had reinforcing rods at intervals. These were needed because the panels are quite large, being 140cm tall and 40cm wide.

Another glaring issue was that the rebuilt panel had not been put back together correctly. Notice how the roundels had been set closer to the diamond than in the original. Whoops. I confirmed with the client that I should adjust the design in a similar manner during the rebuild.
Looking closely at the panel you can see how several of the pieces were broken. Getting replacements specially made was going to be too expensive, so I decided to repair as many as I could. Missing pieces would be replaced with textured coloured glass and everything rearranged to give the final panel a balanced look.
There were several pieces actually missing. One had been replaced already with a piece of translucent glass, which looked decidedly odd and was half blanked out with some sticky tape.

The sticky tape was holding one section together as the lead was weathered badly and had very little putty stopping it from collapsing.

Luckily the song bird diamond on the panel to be rebuilt was in perfect condition. You can imagine how carefully I handled the removal of the panel from the door and the subsequent dismantling of it when I got it back to the workshop.
This image shows a stage in the rebuilding process. Overall the job easy since the panel consists mostly of straight lines and the various squares that needed to be repaired just made the task interesting.
The final panel installed back in the door. All the broken pieces have been fixed. All new lead and some new glass for those missing pieces.

Note that the two panels now match perfectly. The roundels on the new panel have been moved to line up with those on the right and check out the diamond piece on the right.

To make the pieces match exactly I had the diamond on the left photocopied, flipped over and printed on sticky backed acetate. It was a bit tricky to get the size right, but with some expert assistance we managed to sort it out. And doesn’t it look fantastic!