The process of stained glass repair can be carried out in two ways:
- In situ- This is where the stained glass repair is carried out with the panel still in its original setting, in place in the building it was originally made for. These are usually small breakages that would not warrant removal of the whole panel from site. The lead came is carefully opened up from the outside to free the glass, scraping any leaded light cement holding it in place away, and then gently removing the piece of glass to be replaced. Sometimes this can be done without any further damage, and a particular effort would be made to preserve the glass if it is painted, if the building is listed with English Heritage, or if the colour or pattern is no longer produced. A new piece of glass would then be cut using as close a match as possible, if painted work needs to be done the opening would be covered and sealed until the new piece is ready. Once the new glass has been reinserted, the lead came is smoothed back down to hold the glass in place. Glazing putty would be used to push in between the glass and lead to weather proof the stained glass repair.
- On the bench-This type of stained glass repair is carried out when there is substantial damage to the panel, and particularly where the leads have been damaged. Also if the panel is loose or wobbly where the leaded light cement has worked its way loose, and the solder joints are weak. If this is the case, the panel may need to be taped before removal so that it doesn’t disintegrate further while it is taken back to the workshop. The panel will be fixed in place either with glazing putty, which can be hacked away, or with glazing strips made of wood, which can usually be removed with minimal damage. Once the panel is free from it’s surroundings, it can be taken back to the workshop to be restored and repaired as necessary. The opening will be boarded up to secure the property.