Quantcast

DIY leaded lights. Any advice?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

MikeG.

No longer posting.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
650
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
I have a need of quite a few leads lights, and want to do them myself. Most of them are internal, but there some external ones around the porch. I will have to buy a decent soldering iron, so any suggestions there would help. I've actually got quite a lot of 4mm glass here, and glass cutting isn't a problem for me, but it would be nice to find a bit of glass with some flaws, ripples etc. What do you know? Anyone done this?
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,414
Reaction score
55
Location
Leicestershire
It’s fairly simple but you really need some tuition to get you going IMHO.

Cutting the glass is fairly easy once you know how.
I use quite a lot of recycled glass.
You are going to be surprised how expensive new glass is!!
Surprisingly routing and cutting the lead came is a bit more skilful than it looks. If the joints don’t visually flow then the best work will still look like a pigs ear.

A good iron will set you back well over a hundred quid.
Soldering is a small part of the job.
I have just done a window that I guess took me 50 hours, the soldering was well under an hour.

Whilst I have got quite decent 8) , I still do at least half of a window build at the place that taught me, partly to use the more expensive tools they have and partly so help and advice is on hand.
Cos I can go when they are not busy they charge me £5 per hour for a bench.
Normal classes are £10 per hour for two tutors between 10 students.
 

Phil Pascoe

occasional purveyor of blunt tools.
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
19,042
Reaction score
233
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
good firm to deal with -
https://www.creativeglassguild.co.uk/

I have an Antex soldering iron that was cheaper than the Weller, but I've not used it enough yet to recommend it. I was put off by all the negative reviews of the Wellers - I suspect from the number of people who said they had ancient ones that still worked and the number who said they had nearly new ones that had packed up (with no support from Weller) that the quality has taken a dive in recent years. The lady tutor I had had three that no longer worked and a chap she worked with had five.
 

Steve Maskery

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2004
Messages
11,714
Reaction score
56
Location
Kirkby-in-Ashfield
I've done it only once and 20 years ago. It fell into the Pig's Ear category. But.
It's harder than it looks and an ordinary soldering iron for electrical work is not the right tool for the job, it will destroy your lead. You do need the right sort of iron.
 

Yojevol

Wooden tit be nice... ♪♪♪♪♪♪
Joined
29 Jan 2017
Messages
529
Reaction score
65
Location
Cheltenham
I had a strong desire to do some stained glass work and I started by doing a short summer school course at thee wonderful Stanton Guildhouse. I made a small panel with various coloured glasses. It had an Art Nouveau feel which is the direction I was heading. I found it all quite easy as I'm sure you would Mike. The biggest hurdle was gaining confidence with glass cutting, especially curves to a particular design. I eventually made a pair of mirror image cabinet doors which was very time-consuming but hugely satisfying. I haven't made anything since but I would love to find another project to do.
Regarding soldering irons, I bought a 100w Antex but I down rated it by putting a heavy resistor in the supply cable. I bought all my supplies from Creative Glass as mentioned by Phil. They're based in Bristol so I was near enough to visit and browse. I picked up a quantity of clear rippled sheets at sale price and these formed the basis of my design. I see there are quite a few suppliers in your neck of the woods, Mike. It would be interesting to know what sort of design you're thinking of.
Brian
 

MikeG.

No longer posting.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
650
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
lurker":1ec4zbtr said:
........Cutting the glass is fairly easy once you know how.
Yep, I'm fine with that. I've been doing that for years.

I use quite a lot of recycled glass.
You are going to be surprised how expensive new glass is!!
I have more than enough glass here to do the job times over. It's just a bit boring, really. Some flaws would add to the interest.

Surprisingly routing and cutting the lead came is a bit more skilful than it looks. If the joints don’t visually flow then the best work will still look like a pigs ear.
Mine would all be straight. It's very simple leaded lights, no pattern, no coloured glass. The design team are still mulling over the diamond/ rectangle design issue.

A good iron will set you back well over a hundred quid.
Ouch! Are they available second hand? Even if I have to pay that, I imagine that a single panel of glazing would cost me more than that.
Soldering is a small part of the job.
I have just done a window that I guess took me 50 hours, the soldering was well under an hour.

Normal classes are £10 per hour for two tutors between 10 students.
This is definitely going to have to be auto-didactic.
 

MikeG.

No longer posting.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
650
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Yojevol":1gfwn9m9 said:
...... It would be interesting to know what sort of design you're thinking of.
Brian
The three principle panels are rectangular, portrait, and about 470 x 1200. The plan is either diamond or rectangular pieces, only. No decoration. You can see a couple of them in the background, here:

 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,081
Reaction score
55
Location
Nottingham
I am surprised that Weller soldering irons are unreliable I use one for electronics and it is happy to be left on all day and some times overnight.

Pete
 

Phil Pascoe

occasional purveyor of blunt tools.
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
19,042
Reaction score
233
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
... Ouch! Are they available second hand? Even if I have to pay that, I imagine that a single panel of glazing would cost me more than that ...

Weller tips have electronics in them and fail, and they're £17.50 a piece. :D

Pete - as I said, it appears to be dependent on their age. All or nothing. :D
 

morturn

Established Member
Joined
25 Nov 2009
Messages
196
Reaction score
0
Location
Birmingham UK
If you can cut glass ok, then your 80% of the way there. You can buy a temperature-controlled soldering iron, but if its for a couple of panels, a cheep Weller will be fine. The tip will burn out quicker that is all.

Have a chat to Tempsford Stained Glass, they are quite helpful and have a vast stock of glass, lead came, solder etc.

https://tempsfordstainedglass.co.uk/
 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,081
Reaction score
55
Location
Nottingham
Phil Pascoe":352hs04z said:
... Ouch! Are they available second hand? Even if I have to pay that, I imagine that a single panel of glazing would cost me more than that ...

Weller tips have electronics in them and fail, and they're £17.50 a piece. :D

Pete - as I said, it appears to be dependent on their age. All or nothing. :D
Weller tips have magnets in and operate a switch until the curie point and the magnetic field collapses and switches off the heating coil. It's a simple and very reliable system.

Pete
 

Phil Pascoe

occasional purveyor of blunt tools.
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
19,042
Reaction score
233
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Pete Maddex" Weller tips have magnets in and operate a switch until the curie point and the magnetic field collapses and switches off the heating coil. It's a simple and very reliable system. Pete[/quote said:
Apparently not, from some of the people I've spoken to.
 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,081
Reaction score
55
Location
Nottingham
The ones without adjustable temperature control will use the curie point any of the adjustable ones with a temperature display will have a sensor probably a thermistor in the element, no electronics will survive in the tip or element the temperature is far to high.

Pete
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,414
Reaction score
55
Location
Leicestershire
I have just done a window using just rectangles and diamonds and i found it much harder than more free flowing stuff. Absolutely everything has to be spot on. To get mm perfect pieces just by cutting is hard. A glass works will have a grinder table (use like a router table) to do what us woodies use a shooting board for.

Pity about the lockdown as I have an enormous stash of none stained 30s glass you could have.
You will need two or more types of lead came.
A decent lead knife - mine are modified putty knifes.
Solder and flux
You realise you need cement too?
 

MikeG.

No longer posting.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
650
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
Cement? I presume that is for the external lights. I'm going to start with the internal ones. I have seen someone say that a bit of putty is all you need to waterproof external lights (here, 37.00).

What is 30s glass?
 

lurker

Le dullard de la commune
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
5,414
Reaction score
55
Location
Leicestershire
You need to force cement into the gaps between the came and the glass, this is what gives the panel its strength . It's a absolutely filthy job.
Sorry, glass from 1930s Windows
 
Top