Assembly or "Leading-up" the Window
Now the fabrication craftsperson takes over to assemble the stained glass
window. The glass components are placed on the assembly bench and arranged on
the working drawing according to the pattern lines.
The fabricator starts in one corner of the window and begins the leading process
by stretching an "H" channel of lead came and placing one strip on
the drawing along the bottom and another strip along one side of the window.
The first glass piece (usually a corner piece) is placed in this perimeter
channel and temporarily held with a tack nail. Another piece of H lead is cut
to size with a sharp lead knife or diagonal nipper pliers (called dykes) and
shaped to fit around the exposed edge of the first glass piece.
A second, adjoining glass piece is placed in the perimeter channel and another
lead strip is cut and placed along the exposed glass edge of that piece. This
process continues along, placing glass, cutting and fitting lead strips, until
every component is in place. The final step in the leading process is to solder
the lead strips together at each joint creating one continuous metal matrix to
hold the stained glass window together. The window is then turned over and
soldered on the backside. Depending on the size of the window and the skill of
the fabricator, the leading and soldering process could take hours or even days
Article continues...Cementing and Cleaning
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