stained-glass window repair

I hope this is the correct group in which to ask this. Our village has taken over the upkeep of an old church; some of the stained-glass windows are damaged, in that some of the panes are broken in the kame. A professional claims that the only way to repair is to take out the whole window and make a new one at a cost of $1000 Cdn. for a window about 4' high and 2' wide, has the traditional "curved to a point" in the top section. I don't quibble with the price for what he wants to do, but isn't it possible to just spread the kame and cut a new piece of glass to the right size and re-insert before bringing the kame back down again?
Any and all suggestions gratefully received. Mike Gray in Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Reply to
Michael Gray

Ah...this is right down my alley, so to speak.
Certainly it can be repaired. But it might be cheaper to make a new one. Depends on your goals.
The questions are:
What is the location of the window in the building? Can it be reached from the floor, or must it be worked on from a scaffold? Does it have any historical significance? Are there any hand-painted parts (faces and the like)? Is it installed in the building from the inside, or from the exterior?
What is the overall condition of the window? Does it leak? Are the panes loose in the CAME (not Kame) ;>), how much glass is missing, or cracked, and is it "matchable" with current production glass? Finding replacement glass that matches exactly can get really pricey.
The ability to fold the lip of the came back enough to finesse a piece of glass into the opening is dependent on several things. The width of the came, what condition it is in, and the shape of the piece of glass have a lot to do with whether one could finesse a piece into the opening. Prying around on old lead that is deterioriated can lead to disaster. Additional glass breakage, lead crumbling, etc.
What is the purpose of the repair? Are you doing a full restoration back to "perfect"?, or are you just trying to keep the bugs out? In my opinion, the only PROPER way to repair a panel is to remove it from the sash/door, disassemble it like a jigsaw puzzle to remove the broken design elements, and then reassemble it with new glass and lead (where needed). There are those who rely on peeling apart the lead and using epoxy and putty to hold the glass in place, others who fold back the came, and probably other techniques I haven't heard about.
I always approach a repair with the idea that the panel needs to be laying flat on a workbench in order to repair it properly. Failing the ability to get the panel out of the building, then I might consider other options. If I could see photos of the window, I could give you a price in US$$ for a repair, assuming it was in my locale. At least you'd have something to go on.
Frankly, anyone who would quote you a new window (assuming he was going to remove the old one and reinstall the new one) for $1000 Cdn isn't gonna make any money on the deal. I don't know anyone who would (or could) design a 8sq/ft window, supply all the glass/lead/ materials/ labor/removal/reinstallation for $700US. That works out to about $90/ft. The going rate around here starts at $125 for simple designs. You pick up at the studio and install it yourself, no sash. Maybe your guy is a hobbiest and just needs to make a name for himself...but that sounds awfully cheap to me.
Reply to
YOU are correct. Perhaps your "professional" needs to hire professional help for this job.
I've done a number of on-site repairs doing precisely what you propose. It's time consuming, but not especially difficult. I don't know what other artisans charge but for a contract quote I estimate $50./piece plus $50./hr allowance for travel time - alternatively, straight $50/hr plus materials. Minimum charge for on site repair $200. There would have to be some very serious damage to justify a $1,000. repair bill.
Reply to
Dennis Brady

I don't
Damn, Dennis. Don't come down here to GA and start spreading those cheap prices around. ;>)
I get $140US for the first hour and $70/hr thereafter. The first hour charge includes a (too small) trip charge and "standard" materials, i.e., single glue chip, double glue, water, artique, ice crystal, etc. I upcharge for Baroque and some of the others, along with colors and bevels.
In the last 6 weeks, I've had 3 repairs that were more than $1500 US and have one scheduled to start tomorrow that will be darn close to $2K.
Reply to
Up here in the Great White North, those are mid-range prices. Very few are higher - most willing to work much lower.
Not certain why, but I suspect it's because we have an abundance of hungry artisans with insufficient business to keep them well fed. If it wasn't for wholesale production sales (heavily reliant on export) I'd be missing a few meals. We have too much supply - too little demand. Commissions and repairs are lucrative, but too far between to provide a reliable diet.
Our shop does a lot of work for kitchen cabinets, but I've always been aware that we could double prices if stateside.
Reply to
Dennis Brady

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