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The Enlightenment: The Lamb Studios Stained Glass Newsletter

Issue No. 2, March 2014


Welcome to the second issue of “The Enlightenment – the J&R Lamb Studios Stained Glass Newsletter”. Our goal is to inform our readers about the many aspects of stained glass windows. Technical articles about stained glass construction and maintenance, stained glass in the news, recent stained glass projects, and the history of stained glass will all be featured.

Why Should Protective Coverings Be Vented?

J&R Lamb Studios window, early 1900's, below

Over the long term, improperly designed protective coverings will shorten the life expectancy of stained glass windows. Poor designs for stained glass protection typically do not have any ventilation or inadequate ventilation.
Stained glass windows with protective coverings that are not properly vented allow for the trapping of condensation and the buildup of excessive heat in the airspace between the stained glass and the protective covering. Water is likely the greatest enemy of a stained glass window; moisture trapped in the airspace creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, which results in the secretion of acids which attack the lead and painted glass in the windows. These acids also increase the rate at which wood frames rot and metal frames oxidize. Additionally, the buildup of excessive heat can exaggerate the expansion and contraction of the building materials, which also accelerates the aging of a stained glass window.

The Solution

Proper ventilation can be achieved by having a series of 1” diameter holes drilled at the top and bottom of the airspace. Louvered aluminum vents with screen are installed into the holes to keep out water and insects. This amount of ventilation will create a column of air which alleviates any condensation and heat buildup that may occur between stained glass and protection material. The end result is an increase in the lifespan of the stained glass windows.

Spring Cleaning - How Can You Tell if Your Stained Glass Windows Need Restoration?

If you’re not sure, you can learn by making these five easy visual inspection steps and save money by taking care of minor repairs yourself.

  1. Does the window push outward when pressed? If a window is not set firmly in its frame and sash, major repair is called for.
  2. Are the thick reinforcing bars still securely attached to the window? If they have broken away in places, major repair is needed.
  3. Do the glass panes rattle within their lead frameworks? Loose glass may only need a fresh supply of putty (regular glazing compound) pushed up by hand under the leads, around the pieces of glass, and into any gaps between lead and glass. If the problem is cracked solder joints or broken leads, major repair is required.
  4. Are the panels bulging? If the bulging area is still firmly set in sound leads, there is no immediate danger. If the bulging occurs around the reinforcing bars, a structural weakness is indicated requiring major repair.
  5. Is the glass cracked, broken, or shattered? Cracked pieces still secure in their lead frame can be left alone. Loose pieces can be carefully glued together with a clear epoxy or silicone cement. It is better to save an original, rare glass if possible than attempt a difficult match. Missing, mismatched, or leaking glass should be replaced.
 *Coming soon: Aluminum frames versus wood frames.

In This Issue

Why Should Protective Coverings Be Vented?

Recent Lamb Studio Projects

We recently completed the creation of new stained glass doors for SURGEM, a development and management company. The doors were made for the office doors of Dr. John H. Hajjir and were fabricated of all German mouth blown glasses and feature the SURGEM crest and crown logo etched and painted on glass.

In the News

Waynesboro, VA – Stained Glass Artist Rowan LeCompte, 88, who designed more than 40 of the stained-glass windows at the Washington National Cathedral, died Feb. 11 after a bout with pneumonia. The artist created 45 of the 231 windows in the Cathedral, including its largest and most spectacular, the "Creation" west end rose window which the Washington Post hailed in 1976 as "one of the masterpieces of Christendom".

Stained Glass Trend: In recent years, we have seen here at Lamb Studios that more and more private investors are purchasing valuable art glass from churches to have them restored and displayed in museums and private collections.  These sales have allowed for the preservation of these valuable stained glass windows while at the same time showing a windfall for struggling churches.
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