Is it worth restoring or replacing?
To restore or not, a question that came up when a set of leadlight windows in our lounge room looked a little bit weathered.
The house built around the 1930s, a period where many houses in Sydney had leadlight windows.
On rainy days, water would get through the lead and glass fixture. On close inspection, the whole structure of the glass window was weak and could give way under strong wind.
Getting the craftsman in
First of all, I got in touch with a local craftsman in leadlight restoration. His prognostic was good. The restoration would bring back the beauty of these windows, once restored it will outlast us!
How the restoration process works
I found the task of restoration quite fascinating. Also, I love the old original stained glass panels. They have this perfect clear colour and a patina that comes with years of exposure to the element.
The process of restoring is quite intricate and most importantly precision is a must. The traditional method of restoration hasn’t changed much since the medieval period.
Each glass section is cleaned and reused. Broken sections are replaced with similar glass design or colour. Most craftsmen have a library of glass sheets, salvaged from demolition yards. The choice is huge from coloured glass to clear textured glass.
A template of the design is drawn up on paper and each piece is labelled a number for reference. The design is replicated so that it fits into the timber frame. The new lead stripes are repositioned to the glass fixture like a puzzle. The end result is superb.
How can I find a restorer?
The number of good restorers is getting smaller and smaller. Our craftsman who we used has retired now; we found Chippendale Restorations in Sydney a great starting point. At Chippendale Restorations, you will find salvaged door and window panels. They have contacts for restoration work too.
Besides the inconvenience of having the windows boarded with plywood during restoration, the result was worth it!