Commissioning a new custom stained glass window

Step 1– Design consultation
Step 2– Design preparation
Step 3– Glass selection
Step 4– Cartooning
Step 5– Fabrication and installation

Once you have contacted us to discuss your requirements, the next step is the design consultation. This can take place at the stained glass studio or, preferably, at the site where the proposed piece is to be installed.

A site visit gives a better understanding of the light conditions; whether there is a need for privacy; how the finished work will impact on its surroundings; also we can better gauge the client’s personal tastes and perhaps pick up on any existing design elements that may help in coming up with ideas that will excite and enthuse both customer and designer. We will also bring an extensive portfolio of designs and photographs of previous work to give a better idea of the possibilities and to help establish your requirements. You may have ideas of what you want already and any pictures or source material you may have will be helpful. At this stage accurate measurements can be taken and details of method of installation and any strengthening requirements can be noted.

A visit to the studio, by appointment, can also be useful as there are many finished examples on view and seeing the variety and beauty of the glass available and getting a better understanding of the different techniques and processes, can often help foment the ideas that will eventually lead to a successful and pleasing design.

This initial consultation is free of charge and without obligation. Once the measurements have been made and an understanding of the nature of the work has been reached, a rough estimate of the final cost can be made. At this point, a design fee of £150 or 10% of the estimate is payable. This is non-returnable but will be deducted from the final invoice.

The next stage is the preparation of a full colour design, made to scale and indicating the lead lines, any painting and staining, and any visible strengthening saddle bars. This design is then offered for your approval and, if necessary, alterations or reworking will be made until you are completely satisfied.

Once the design is agreed there will be another site or studio visit to select the glass that is to be used. At this point a firm quotation can be made and a 30% deposit will be required before we proceed with the project.

If there is to be any painting on the glass a full size cartoon, indicating trace lines and toning, is made. A cutline is then prepared, the glass is cut to shape, painted, fired and then leaded up. The panel is then weatherproofed with leaded light cement and, once this has completely hardened, the leads are polished, copper ties for attaching to saddle bars are added if required and the finished piece is ready for fitting. You are welcome, by appointment, at any time during this process to come and view the work in progress.

Finally the finished work is installed and comes to life with the passage of light, there for a lifetime’s enjoyment and pleasure.

Repairs and Restoration

Repairs can often be made in situ, depending on the extent of the damage and the condition of the lead and general fabric of the window. It can be useful if you could e-mail photographs of the whole panel and some close ups of the damaged areas. Either way a site visit will determine whether it is feasible to carry out in situ repairs or if the panel will need to be brought back to the workshop for repair/restoration. This will depend on any cracked or damaged leads, excessive movement within the light, and a breakdown of the leaded light cement and the extent of the damaged or missing panes.

If it is judged that in situ repairs are appropriate and can be made without unduly weakening the light, all the broken glass is removed, old cement cleaned out of the lead channels, suitable replacement glass cut to shape and fitted and blackened putty is added to seal between the new glass and the lead.

In the event that in situ repairs are not recommended or are undesirable, the whole panel will be carefully removed, the window or door boarded up or temporary glazed, if necessary, and the damaged light taken back to the workshop. Here it will either be fully re-leaded and re-cemented, with any broken glass replaced; or repaired by means of re-soldering any cracked joints, replacing any damaged leads and broken glass and re-cementing. Once the leaded light cement has fully hardened the light is cleaned and polished, ready for refitting.
For in situ repairs there is an initial call out fee which includes the first repair, with subsequent repairs charged, depending on the intricacy of each individual pane. If the work needs to be carried out at the workshop, the extent of the repair or restoration work will be discussed with the customer and a quotation will be given before work commences.