If you decided to repair your broken glass panel – Here are some hints:
For most designs, once you begin to dismantle the pieces, the panel will become more flimsy.
Take your time, and make sure you support all pieces of what is left at all times.
A blanket or cloth over a piece of plywood will allow you to move the panel pieces to the best, most accessible position as you work on it. The blanket will allow you to lay the panel fairly level but not create stress otherwise caused by different glass thicknesses.
Pry as much of the foil and solder as you can up away from around each piece of glass that you are trying to remove. A craft knife point and a lot of patience is best.
Position the panel so that the seam you will be removing is above a “waste” area and use a temperature slightly higher than you would normally use to solder. Heat up the solder seam and push the melting solder along until it drips away from the panel. Keep doing this until most of the solder is removed. Go around the broken piece area, repositioning the panel as you need the solder to flow in a different direction.
Once all the solder (or as much as you can manage) is removed from the foil, you should be able to pry it away enough to take out the glass.
Turn the panel over and follow the same procedure to remove the solder from the back. Once this is done, it should be possible to remove the foil from the broken piece while leaving the foil attached to the surrounding pieces. If any foil tears, you can re-wrap that area before you re-solder.
Choose the glass for replacement and trace the “hole” left in the panel to make a pattern for this.
Take care to match the texture, colour and any variations in the piece you removed (this is where the photos are handy)
You are aiming for the repair not to be noticeable.
If the break was caused by a weakness in the design, add copper reinforcing strip at this point to strengthen it.
Fit, foil and re-solder the seams around the repair site as you would normally.
Choose the patina to match the original one applied – test this on a test solder seam on some scrap glass first to be sure you have the match very close.
Finish and clean – Breathe out!
© 2009 Jackie Barnaby
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