What is the best way to reinforce a 36" round Medallion

by Tina

I found this beautiful medallion that I want to make. It'll be 36 x 36 round. I will be making it with the copper foil method and wanted to know the best way to reinforce it without effecting the picture. I've used copper reinforcer within the picture for large items before, however, I wasn't sure if that would be enough for this item.


Yes, copper restrip will be fine as long as you use it wherever there is a hinge joint and always run the strip from one edge to another edge. Restrip has amazing strength when used properly.

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Replacing Broken Rebar

by Checkride
(New Orleans, LA)

The original rebar broke off my leaded 3/4 glass door. I'm inquiring where to get new rebar and how to install it. Epoxy or resoilder?


You can get rebar from most stained glass suppliers. It needs to be soldered. Install it just the way the old one was installed.

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Reinforcement of Door Panel

by Matt


Im also drawing up a new panel, 1170 high 600mm wide (3.8ft x 2 ft) of a couple of birds of paradise with green leaves.

It's to be installed into a door inside a house.
Due to the size, I am running a lot of restrip throughout.

Should I be splitting this panel into 2 slotting one inside the other, or would a rebar solderd across the back of the panel do?


As long as you don't have any hinge joints, a couple of rebars will be fine. Door panels tend to "oil can" more than most panels, due to the movement caused by opening and closing or slamming the door.

If you have horizontal hinge joints the tongue in groove, plus several rebars would be better.

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Reinforce ceiling panel

by Lucie

Hi Sue,

A friend asked me to make a 3 ft x 4 ft stained glass panel for his ceiling. I intend make a zinc frame and then incorporate it into a wood frame that will be screwed to his ceiling joists. Any tips on design to use (or avoid) for ceiling glass art as well as rebar techniques to prevent sagging are much appreciated!


You will want to reinforce the panel extremely well. Use copper re-strip across any hinge joints (from one edge of the panel to the other edge) and use re-rod or re-bars across the panel in at least 2 places.

I have just finished an ebook on reinforcement. You can learn about what it includes Here

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What is Rebar and How is it Used?

Wire on left has been wrapped

Wire on left has been wrapped

What is rebar? I know they use it in building houses, but is there a different kind for glass? And where do you get it? I looked thru every question to you, but couldn't find anything that describes what and how you do it.


Hi Linda,

Rather than rambling on about rebar, I am giving you information written by Delphi Stained Glass and by Vic Rothman who owns a studio in NYC and does a lot of large windows as well as restoration work. I trust anything Vic has to say. I use him for a resource when I run into restoration problems.

VIC'S REBAR '101':

The term rebar means different things to different people. The round (sometime square) bars you see in church windows are actually called saddle bars. The bars are set into holes drilled into the window sash (removable window frame) or window frames (nonremovable).

The windows have ties soldered to them at the solder joints. In olden days they used lead as ties, today it's copper wires. These ties are twisted around the saddle bars. The purpose of the saddle bars is to prevent the windows from being blown into the building, not support. At one time stained glass was a real window out in the weather.

The ties should not be made very tight, but should be about one twist loose, thus the window can move in the wind. These bars are normally across the shortest distance.

Next is flat rebar solder directly to the stained glass. These bars are sometimes drilled into the sash and frames, or just run full length of the stained glass and put under moldings. These rebars act like the saddle bars, but because they
are soldered in place they also prevent the window from deflecting near the bars. They will not hold up the windows.

Rebar traditionally goes on the inside, because you do not want rain, snow etc getting on and corroding the bars if there were outside. If there is outside glazing you can put the rebar on the rear. The placement of rebar is not rocket science. It is very logical. You put them perpendicular to a lead line that might fold...parallel lines, glass borders, concentric
circles etc. In large windows you may need rebar running through the center to prevent the window from flexing. Rebar is VERY design and window location dependent. The size of the window does not matter. You can have a 12"x12" window that needs rebar and a 3'x3' that does not. If you design the lead lines well you need less rebar.

As for seeing the rebar get over it. Rebar is part of stained glass construction. If done right it should not detract from a good looking window.
Vic Rothman

Delphi says:
Reinforcement is necessary on larger windows. As a rule of thumb, a window more than three square feet should be reinforced. Either reinforcing bar or rod may be used for support. Be sure to consider this when designing the window so that the reinforcement does not intrude or compromise the design of the finished work.

In either case the reinforcement is soldered to the back of the panel in one of two ways. The bar should be pre-tinned before use. You will solder the bar in several places at intersecting lines on the window. Rough the areas to be soldered on the bar with steel wool. Apply flux and coat the areas with solder. Doing this will make soldering the bar to the window much easier. Place the bar on edge and solder to the window in the predetermined areas.

When using rod, a length of pre-tinned wire is first soldered at several intersecting lines on the window where the rod will sit. The rod rests on the wire which is twisted around it. Apply a bit of solder to the twisted wire. Solder either end of the rod (or bar) to the edge came. In most cases the rod or bar extends on either side of the panel and is “buried” in the wood casing of the window to provide optimum security. The casing is notched where the bar will fit and filled over to disguise it.

We use rods, and instead of twisting the wire we wrap both ends around the rod, cut off any excess, (circled with red in the picture above) then solder over the wire. We also paint the rods black before they put are wired place, then paint black over the soldered wire after the flux is wiped off.

Both bars and rods can be bought at any large hardware/home improvement store. Ask for mild steel for the rods, and zinc plated mild steel for the bars.

Here's what they look like:
Flat bars
Round Rods/bars

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by Charlene
(Newport News, VA)

I am working on a panel, 15 1/2 inches wide by 66 inches high. I've attached a copy of my design. Can you recommend where I should add reinforcement to the panel. The entire piece will be done in foil. Thanks.


I can't make out where the cut lines are on your picture, so the best i can tell you is: you need to run copper re-strip across (not along them but across them) any hinge joints, making sure it goes from one edge of the panel to the other.

It looks like the top and bottom pieces are a single piece of glass. They are big time hinge joints. You will need to solder copper wire along the edges to prevent them from pulling loose.

Maybe you're not aware that I have a new ebook out, all about reinforcement. You can read about it Here It will show you where and why and how to reinforce.

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When to Use Rebar?

by Ann
(Hoover, AL)

Hi Sue,
When is a panel so large that rebar must be used to stablilize it? And is there a difference for leaded and copper foil panels?

Hi Ann,

A panel larger than 2ft x 3ft should have rebar. But even that depends on where it will be installed. You must take into consideration how much vibration from slammed doors, wind, etc
it will get. There are so many variations, it's impossible to cover them all.

If there are hinge joints in the panel, you might want to use rebar on a panel as small as 1 ft x 3 ft. Also, you should always use copper restrip in both leaded or foiled panels with hinge joints, no matter what the size is, whether or not you use rebar.

We use copper restrip in most panels we make regardless of hinge joints. It is surprising how much restrip firms up a panel. Copper restrip is always run horizontal from one side to the other, making sure the ends go into the edging material (lead or zinc). There are times when we will run some restrip vertically as well as horizontally. Again it must go from top to bottom, and obviously it will be cut as it meets the horizontal strips, restarting on the other side of those strips. There are also times when we only use copper restrip without the addition of rebars.

A good rule of thumb for the distance between rebars is a rebar every 2 feet unless it's in a door. On a panel going in a door, 1 1/2 ft. would be advisable. Doors, whether they are external or internal, including cupboard doors, get a lot of slamming. Slamming causes the panel to move in a way that will eventually cause it to bow and then, farther down the road, the glass might start falling out. Properly rebaring a panel will prevent this from happening.

I hope this helps you. As I said before, there are so many variables it's difficult to cover all of them without writing a book on the subject.

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Reinforcement Bar

by Peta
(Perth WA)

Can I solder the wires back on to a reinforcement bar on a door whilst door still hanging.

Hi Peta,

I'm assuming the wires are already attached to the window and you want to attach them to the reinforcing bar.

The easiest way to attach the wires to the bar is to tightly wrap them around the bar, then solder the wires to "seal" them closed. It can be done in an upright position, but you'll have to be careful so solder doesn't run onto any lead that is below the bar.

If the wires aren't already attached to the window, please give me more information so I can give you the correct answer. You can reply in the comments are just below here.

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Tempered Glass Reinforcement for Stained Glass Panel

by Edie Van Riper
(Farmington, NM, USA)

I am new to stained glass, I just completed a 17" x 48" stained glass panel, I used Zinc came on the border, I have read that for support, I need to back my stained glass panel with a solid piece of tempered glass. My question is, do I frame it with zinc came, and solder it to the zinc came frame of the stained glass? Please advise, I think this is what I do, but not sure.


Is that a local building code? That is the only reason you would do that (that I know of).

If the panel has been properly reinforced during construction, it should not need any additional reinforcement except for a couple of rebars wherever it is to be installed.

If you decide to go ahead and use tempered glass, you will have to get it cut to size. It is not something you can cut yourself. As for how you would attach it, I honestly don't know until you give me more information:

1. Is the tempered glass due to a building code?
2. How is the window going to be used?
(hanging, installed in a window opening, etc).
3. Where is the window going to be used?
(external window, internal window, hanging inside...outside).
4. Is it made with foil or lead came?
5. Did you reinforce the window during construction?
6. Tell me anything else that might be relevent.

You can answer in the comments section below.

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by Dot
(Columbus NC)

I'm using steel rebar on a piece 6'wide by 3' high, where do I need the most reinforcement and do I solder it to the zinc frame?


I would need to see a picture of the window before I could even begin to give you any concrete answers. I would also need to know where the window will be installed, if it's an exterior or interior window, and if you used any other form of reinforcement during construction.

You can find all of the information is in my newest ebook Reinforcement

Or you can email me the information (use the contact me form) and I will try to give you some direction. However, it's difficult to explain without using pictures to show you what I mean.

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integration of rebar into the frame

by Randy Cavender

I have made a 22'x 34" leaded and copper foiled piece. I have framed it in zinc and I plan to construct a wood frame for it. I think it probably would be ok without reinforcement, but I probably will add a couple of rebar. How should the end of the rebar integrate into the frame?


If the rebars are round, you will drill holes in the frame and slide the rebar in the holes. One hole will be twice as deep as the other and the rebar will be the length of the deep hole plus the width of the frame opening. That way, you can slide the bar in the deep hole first, then push it back into the shallow hole.

If the bar is flat, you'll need to cut slots in the frame for the bar to fit into, then cover the bar with some type of wood filler.

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Strenthening Glass with Wire

by Cynthia L. Markley
(Kearneysville, W.Va. USA)

I am trying to learn how to put copper wire into a piece of stained glass so I can strengthen it also wrapping it on the outside. Is there a video that I could watch to learn this procedure and also how to solder it too. Thanks so very much!


It would be better to use copper restrip in the piece and solder a ire around the perimeter. The restrip goes from edge to edge any where there is a hinge joint. It sits, on edge, betweeh the pieces of glass.

Here's a tutorila on how to Solder Wire around the edges.

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Reinforcing Small Window In Cabinet Door

by Susan

I've read your comments on the large window reinforcement, and that reinforcement should be done on cabinets or doors that will be shut. My question is.... what about a window in a cabinet that is not used excessively that is 3 3/4 by 10 1/8th? Does this need reinforcement? I was planning on doing the copper foil method.

Thank you for your time.


No matter what the size, it will depend on the design more than anything. If there are a lot of hinge joints, it will need reinforcement. On the other hand, if the design has many small pieces that do not create hinge joints, something that small should be okay.

Foil won't flex like lead does, which is both good and bad. Since there is no give, at all, a foiled panel has the tendency to break easier than a leaded panel, if it is in a door that is frequently slammed shut.

A leaded panel has some give, but it's downfall is that over the years the lead can begin to give enough for the panel to bow. I've seen leaded panels not properly reinforced (in doors), with glass falling out from so much bow in the lead.

So...take everything into consideration when you're deciding on both design and reinforcement.

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