Attached Lead Came to Foiled Window

by diane metz
(Cranford, NJ USA)


Your website is fabulous! Thanks for so much information.
I just finished a 53"x35" oval window with foil. I was told by my glass supplier to put lead came around the edges and use cement to adhere it to the foiled window, for support. I have never worked with lead before and not sure about how to use the cement. Do I have to also use whiting?
Also, I did leave some room for the came, but if it does not fit perfectly, you mentioned that the came can be trimmed. How would you trim it?
Thank you for your much need help.
diane metz

Hi Diane,

Did your supplier mean to only attach the lead to the panel with cement? Don't do that!

First of all, when you are soldering the copper foil, stop soldering the beads about 1/4 inch from the edge of the panel. You want room for the lead to slide over the edge of the glass without solder preventing it from sliding all the way on.

Next, you will solder the lead to the panel every place the lead meets a solder joint. You will also solder the two ends of the lead together. Make sure you start and stop the lead on a solder joint.

For that large a panel, I would putty it, but I would also use copper restrip to reinforce the outside edge. The restrip goes inside the lead channel, bit by bit as you are putting the lead on.

Also, make sure you reinforce the panel with restrip wherever there is the possibility of a hinge joint. You don't want that panel to fold and break when you are turning it or moving it.

Make sure you use a putty that does not contain cement or plaster of paris.

Whiting is used to absorb the oils in the putty. It helps the putty to dry, and it helps in the clean-up process. If you putty carefully, without getting putty all over the glass, you might not need to use whiting. However, there are so many variables that I can't say yes or no. You'll have to make decisions as you go. If it looks like you'll need to use whiting, then do it.

For trimming the lead, an exacto knife works very well.

This tutorial might help you:
How to Putty a Leaded Window

Comments for Attached Lead Came to Foiled Window

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Feb 08, 2009
lead came around window
by: diane metz

Thank you so much for your getting back to me so fast.
Yes, they did say to use cement, so glad I contacted you about that. Also I did reinforce the window with copper restrip throughout the pattern. It is pretty strong.

My only concern about putting the copper restrip inside the came is, it will make the window a little larger. But if you think it is the best thing to do, then I will do it.

As far as the putty goes, is it suppose to go under the came or just on the edges? Is putty for sealing it? (Sorry I just never used it before.)

I am going to use copper patina and have read all your comments on it. Because this is copper foil and lead, any tips on how to get it all the look the same color? And should I wax the solder and the lead before I patina?

Because this is such a big window any alternatives to actual washing with water and ammonia?
Thank you again for all your help.

Diane...if you've used copper restrip through out the panel, then you shouldn't need it under the came.

The putty goes under the lead, between the glass and the lead, on both sides. If you read the tutorial I referred to, you will see exactly how to use it.

Clean the panel before you putty. You don't want to be washing it after. Could you wash it in your bathtub? It really needs to be cleaned properly.
If you can't move it to wash it, then clean it with CJ's flux remover.

As for patina, you are not going to find a copper patina for lead that works well. I'd leave it all silver, or patina the solder and paint the lead. Rustoleum works well and looks nice. I'm not a big fan of painting lead or zinc, but sometimes we have to do whatever we can to make the best of a situation.

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