Jersey Art SGS  gold hued glass

The Restoration Process

The degree of intervention required and the specifications of the project determine which of the following steps are applied.

1) Documentation: All window sections (panels) are photographed in place from both sides prior to commencment of work.

Clerestory window at the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal, from below. During World War II, the windows were painted for blackout purposes. When the building was used as a Post Office, an interior wall crossed the skylight diagonally, and some of the paint was removed to allow light in once again.

document the mess

Clerestory window at the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal, from above. The deteriorated skylight above the leaded window allowed broken glass blocks to fall and sometimes pierce the leaded window, and contributed to the amount of dirt and grime covering the windows.

dirty, dirty, dirty documentation

2) Location Diagram: A window location diagram is drawn and all sections are labeled prior to removal.

Part of the window location diagram for the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal, shows the C6 clerestory skylight.

location diagram

3) Construction Drawings: Shop drawings showing proposed construction can be supplied.

Part of a drawing for the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal shows the protective acrylic dust cover.

construction drawing

4) Transportation: All windows are carefully removed, crated, and transported to the studio.

our van

5) Panel Documentation: All individual panels are photographed in the studio, showing existing condition of glass and wood.

This photo from the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal shows one panel in the studio. Evidence of the temporary diagonal wall can be seen, along with identifying marks.

panel photograph

Some parts of the wood frames at the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal were totally rotten.

frame photograph

6) Soaking: All panels are soaked in our soaking table, with pH neutral detergent. This process softens the old putty under the lead flanges, and loosens the dirt embedded in the surface texture of the glass.

Soaking table in use, with a non-acidic, non-caustic detergent.


7) Cleaning: All panels are scrubbed in our vertical washing unit, removing years of accumulated dirt and pollution.

Scrubbing a panel from the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal.


8) Rubbing: A detailed full-size rubbing is made of the panel's design, noting existing conditions, ie: broken or missing glass, lead came size & type, support bar location, previous repairs, intended repair strategies, etc.

Rubbing a panel from the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts.

making a rubbing

9) Disassembly: Each piece of glass is removed from the old lead came, cleaned, and placed on the lead line pattern of the rubbing taken from that panel.

Working on a panel from the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal. Note the rubbing in the foreground.

disassembly onto rubbing

10) Restoring Painted Glass: All lost or faded painting of figural elements is restored. Every effort is made to retain original glass and to employ reversible restoration processes. If a piece must be repainted, glass will match in all dimensions and all surface decoration is faithfully reproduced.

Original glass from the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford on the right, showing missing paint as light-colored patches. In this case, repainting was done on a matching but separate piece of glass, to be mounted directly behind the original glass.

restoration of painted glass on a backing pane

Final composite with repainted new backing glass behind the original glass.

composited painted glass

11) Assembly: The panel is completely re-constructed with new lead cames. Cames will match the original in profile and dimension. Then, all joints are securely soldered.

Assembling a panel from the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal, using glazing nails to hold everything tight before soldering.


Final soldering of a panel from the Newark Arts High School, Newark, NJ.


12) Weatherproofing: Each panel is weatherproofed by applying linseed oil-based putty under all lead flanges on both sides of the panel.

Applying putty to a panel from the Erie-Lackawanna Rail & Ferry Terminal.


13) Support Bars: New support bar wires or bars are soldered to each panel in the same locations as in the original. If original support system was insufficient, additional bars are added.

You can just see two new support bar wires in the lower left quadrant of this photo from the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, ready to be tied to support bars.

tie wires

14) Frames: The frames are repaired and repainted, following standard restoration processes.

The condition of the wood frame of the rose window from the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, at the beginning of work.

frame before

The same window at the completion of work.

frame after

15) Installation: All panels are carefully crated and transported to the site, and installed into the original openings. If protective glazing is in place, the air space between it and the leaded glass is vented. The installation method for restored panels will allow the panels to expand and contract within a flat plane.

Final installation of windows at the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Union, NJ.

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