When To Stretching Lead?

by Susan
(MD)

I was wondering, when using lead came as a border, do you always have to stretch it and what do you use? Thank you for your time.


Answer

Hi Susan,

Here is the URL to my tutorial on lead came: Lead Came. It would be a good idea to read it, as it is goes into much more detailed than my answer below.

If the lead is dead soft or seems somewhat limp, you will have to stretch it. If it's stiff, then no you won't have to. Most lead is now made with the addition of another element to stiffen it. I only buy the stiffened lead and the only time I stretch it is when it is a bit twisted and needs to be straighten. If it is badly twisted, it goes in the scrap box.

What lead to use around the border is totally up to you. It depends on what you're constructing. If it's a window that will be installed in an opening, use H came. The size will depend on the beading that holds the window in place. If you don't want a border of lead to show, use lead a little narrower than the beading. If you do want a border of lead showing (my preference) use lead that is wide enough so that what shows is about the same width as the internal lead. Don't forget that you will have to figure all of this out before you draw your cartoon so you can make the correct allowances for the border lead.

For free hanging items the choice is yours. You can use U came or H came, wide or narrow. Use whatever compliments the panel.

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Do You Need to StretchLead Free Came?

by Becca
(michigan)

Do you need to stretch lead free came?

Answer
Becca, I've never used lead free came and I don't know the answer. Hopefully someone reading this has used it and can give us an answer in the comments section below.

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strectching lead came using a lead came vise

by SHERRY
(TORONTO, CANADA)

I have attached the vise to a work bench. When I insert the came into the vise and attach the other end to a pair of vise grips and pull, the vise does not hold the came and it pulls out. I have used two different vises and each does the same thing so obviously it is something I am doing wrong. I have even tapped the arm of the vise down with a hammer.

Answer
It sounds like you have the vise attached to your workbench backwards. Have a look at how it's used here Lead Stretching It's a common mistake as it looks like it should be the other way around.

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Stretching Lead

by Roger
(FL)

How much do you need to stretch lead, and do you stretch it different amounts for different applications?

Answer

Hi Roger,

When you stretch lead it stretches fairly easy for a short time, then stops. You can actually feel it stop. That's when you stop stretching. Don't try for a little bit more. The lead can actually break if you try to over stretch it.

There is no formula for how many inches a six foot piece of lead should gain when it's stretched. It's simply a feel of stretching, then not stretching.

No you don't stretch it differently for different applications.

A lot of the newer leads don't need to be stretched. They have been hardened with the addition of antimony and copper. If your lead stays pretty straight when you hold it up, it doesn't need stretching. If it droops like a piece of string, stretch it.

Sue

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stretching came

I've had some came for about a year and am (finally!) ready to use it but I can't remember if I've already stretched it! Is there a way to tell?
Regards,
Mary Van Haren

Answer

Most lead today has an alloy added that makes it stiff. You don't need to stretch it.

If you did stretch the lead you would see marks from the vise or pliers on the ends of it.

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Stretching Lead

Why must you stretch the lead before using it in stained glass?

Answer

Hi,
Most lead, made today, has another element added that makes it stiff, therefore it does not need to be stretched. That lead will stay fairly straight when you hold it horizontally.

If your lead droops way down on both ends when you hold it horizontally, it will need to be stretched. It's called "putting a set" in the lead. Lead is much easier to work with when it's stiff instead of being soft and floppy. Also, once it is in a window, if it hasn't been stretched before use, over a period of time it will most likely stretch on it's own, from gravity, causing the glass to become loose.

The last reason to stretch lead, even the ready made stiff lead, is to straighten out any kinks and twists. If the lead is slightly kinked or twisted, stretching will straighten it out. If it's badly twisted, throw it away, as no amount of stretching will help.

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stretching lead came

by gaye Sagar
(albany New york)

Do you have to stretch the lead and how do I know how much to stretch it to get set?

Answer

This Tutorial will answer all of your questions.

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Pre Stretching Lead and Turning Over a Large Panel

by Sandra
(Canada)

Hi!

If I buy a box of lead came,could I stretch it in quieter times and store it 'set'.?
Are there any reasons this would not be successful.
Also turning over a 10ft panel.I have thought of placing wide strong webbing straps under the 3/4" work board,and when its time to turn over the panel,put another on top to 'sandwich the glass' Secure the 3 belts and getting helpers to lift and turn it over.
Would this theory work ,or do you have any other suggestions?
Thanks so much
Sandra

Answer

Hi Sandra,

I can't see any reason why you couldn't pre-stretch the lead. I wouldn't do it if it was going to sit in the box for years, but if you're going to use it in a few months, go ahead and do it. It would certainly save you time when you're constructing a window.

As for turning the window, your idea sounds good.
My husband and I use a similar method for turning very large windows. Just make sure the straps are tight and have them going both around the boards as well as from top to bottom. You don't want the panel slipping out, although the framing boards will help to hold it in place.

The best way to turn it over is to slide the "sandwich" off the table until it is about 5/8 off the table and 3/8 on the table. Now you can tip it and gently slide it down to the floor so it is sitting on the bottom edge. "Walk" it around so the opposite side is now facing out. Make sure it is tight up against the work bench and reverse the process to get it back. Just make sure you have enough people to be able to handle the weight. A 10 foot window will be very heavy, even more so with that second board in place.

Good luck with your project. Send us a picture when it's done. I'm sure everyone would like to see it.

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loose lead came

how can I make the came tight around a project. I get sags and a loose fit.

Answer

I'm assuming you are framing a copper foil piece with lead.

First of all, if your lead isn't pre-stretched (most new lead comes pre-stretched), stretch it. That will keep it from sagging

Solder your panel to the lead wherever there is a solder line that the lead touches. That will keep it tight to the glass and neat looking. When you solder your panel, before you apply the lead, stop the solder beads before you get to the outside edges of the panel. Once the lead is on, flux the lead where the solder line will join it. Then you can add a bit more solder to the existing solder lines building a solder bead that will attach the foil to the lead.

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