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The lead in the frames have flaked / dull

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default The lead in the frames have flaked / dull

    The lead in the leadlight at my place has become dull and begun to what looks like flake off the top coating .. I was wondering Has any one heard seen or know how to restore it back to its previous condition. Im redoing the window bays at home and i want the leadlight to look as good as the finished windows will.

    I was sondering painting just the lead ? as the glass is in perfect condition ?

    thoughts idea's guys ?

  2. #2
    1K Club Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    You don't say how old the house is. If it is old leadlight then the dull finish is simply oxidisation of the lead surface - patina as they say in the trade - and something to value, not cover. The flaking is a bit of a mystery - any chance of photos?

    I would not go the 'painting' route - far too fiddly and not necessary as lead is sufficient unto itself in terms of dealing with the weather.

  3. #3
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Jerrabomberra New South Wales

    Default Flaking Lead

    Unless the lead is hundreds of years old it is most likely that it is the finish originally used to seal (putty) or finish the lead that is flaking. If you want to restore it to look new then I recommend:
    1. Safety glasses and dust masks are required for this task!!
    2. Remove leadlight from frame and lay it flat onto newspaper.
    3. Get hold of a stiff bristle brush and some whiting (calcium carbonate powder).
    4. Sprincle whiting over the surface of the glass and lead and scrub along the length of the lead and into all the corners between glass and lead. The lead will appear to be a dullish gray colour when the job is done.
    5. Purchase some "stove-black" and with a soft brush cover the lead with the blackening material. Don't worry if it gets onto the glass. If you did step 4 properly then the black will polish off easily.
    Don't forget to do both sides of the panel. While it's out of its frame you might as well check that the putty holding the glass in is also in reasonable condition and, if not, touch it up. If this doesn't fix the flaking then you will need to take it along to a leadlight supplier as the materials used in the leadlight panel are suspect.

    The materials needed can be bough from glass suppliers. Apart from being a dirty job (do it outside if possible) almost anyone can do this work.

    If you aren't sure then just take it along to a leadlight supplier to get a quote on having it repaired for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Western Australia


    Before proceeding with a polish you need to establish the condition of the leadlight and whether or not it has lost any of its existing cementing between lead and glass. If you gently rap the leadlight with the knuckles of your hand.....if you hear it rattle, its due for a full reputty. If there is any fractured solder joints these also need attention. In many cases these windows need rebuilding with new lead.
    If the window is due for reputtying then the old remnants of putty need to be removed before reputtying. None of this work can be done with the window in situ. Leadlight needs to be deframed and soaked in a caustic bath to removes the last of the putty before cleaning up and reputtying or recementing the whole leadlight.
    If the putty is sound and all you need is repolishing, there is a product called Neils Stove Polish in paste form and liquid form. Again best used with the window out and on a work bench. If its just a polish needed you can do it in frame flat on a bench, but mask of the areas you dont want the black polish on and support the window.
    We use the old ( 2 brush )hoover floor polishers for polishing up our leadlights once they have been treated to new stove polish.
    Any paint on stove black products do not usually stay on.
    Establish whether or not yours is actual leadlight or zinclight first.
    Karen of Artistry Stained Glass
    30 Years in the Business of leadlight and stained glass ( church windows )

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