Grace Cathedral | Installing temporary glass

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After stained glass panels are removed for treatment, clients have a number of options for how the void is filled during the interim period. Plywood, plexiglass, or glass are among the options.  Glass is the most labor-intensive option because it is the least forgiving material, thus presenting a number of challenges. It also is very appealing in that it comes in an endless variety of colors and textures; and can be used again, in similar configurations in other areas of a building (i.e. used for multiple, successive treatment campaigns).  Grace Cathedral has chosen to fill their space temporarily with textured, streaky amber glass.

Templates

The New Testament Window (#41) has 6 “roses” similar to the one in the picture above. Each rose consists of 8 shapes which are repeated.  Though the shapes are consistent for all of the roses, there are minor variations in the actual dimensions of each space.  The most labor-intensive option would be to measure every space and cut unique pieces of glass. This is obviously time (and cost) prohibitive.  Instead, we chose to find a master template for each of the 8 shapes that would be sufficient for all 6 roses. Multiples identical pieces of glass were cut from these master templates.

The Goldilocks Effect

Since each space is different, the glass pieces were either perfect, a little too small, or a little too large.  Take for example shape B, what we call the “stingray”:

Shape B

Notice how we cut two pieces of glass for this shape.  This is because the (stained) glass is set in a traditional stone setting. If you looked at a cross-section of the building, the space in which they are set is a “U” channel, not an “L”. If one piece of glass were cut, it would be impossible to fit into the channel.  To solve this problem, we cut the glass in half and add a piece of lead to connect them.  This is called a “slip joint”.

A Fit that is “Just Right”

For the opening above, we found that the shape B glass was a little too small for the space.  To resolve this, we cut an extra strip of glass and lead to span the distance. This per basis modification takes a little extra time, but it ensures a perfect fit for every opening.  The master template works for the majority of the spaces, however, maximizing efficiency and reducing costs.

Despite the challenges presented by glass fills, the process is fun and exciting… misc_01

… and the results are breathtaking.

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