H Came vs. U Came for Outside Edge

by Lisa Seger
(covington, OH USA)

I have only been working with stained glass for a few months, and so far have only used the copper foil. I would like to make larger pieces and I know I need to start working with the lead came for this. I have several questions to clarify the process, after reading your very helpful tutorial:

Is it ok to use the foil technique for the inside pieces, and just frame the final piece in the lead came to give it the strength it needs?
When constructing the outside edges, wouldn't it make more sense to use the U came, instead of the H came? I understand that the the heart of the came is what the glass seats into, so if you are using lead inside the piece to fit the pieces together, the glass pieces will fit into both the heart and the face, right?
I know it would make more sense to me if I could see it being done, (I'm a very visual person) but since I dont have a location nearby the offers classes, I have to rely on what I learn on the net. I really appreciate any help you can give.
Lisa Seger

Hi Lisa,

Hmm..I'm going to try to explain this without using visuals, and that's quite difficult to do.

H came looks like the letter H on it's side. The heart is the short piece that connects the two long pieces. When you are constructing a leaded panel, the glass slides in the channel (the open space between the 2 faces) and sits against the heart. Another piece of glass will eventually slide in the channel on the other side of that piece of lead. You now have two pieces of glass separated by the heart of the lead. Each piece of lead will butt up against another piece of lead, and where they butt you will have a solder joint.

The face of the lead is what you see on the front and back of your finished panel. Make sure you use a size lead that will compliment the design. You can use more than one size lead in any panel...perhaps finer lead around flower petals, wider lead on tree trunks.

The channel is almost always deeper than the depth of the glass, That's one of the reasons we putty after the panel is soldered. The putty keeps the glass from rattling around in the lead.

When you frame a foiled piece with lead, you can use either lead or zinc, and it can be either H came or U came. U came looks like a square U on it's side. What you use around the outside depends totally on the look you want to achieve. If you make a large panel with large pieces, H came will usually look better. If your panel is delicate, with small pieces, U came might compliment the design better than H came.

If it's a panel that will be installed in an opening (door, window, etc) of a specific size, H came is the best way to go, as it can be trimmed, if necessary, to prevent too tight a fit.

If you are going to put a foiled panel in a wooden frame, to be a free hanging panel, you don't really need to frame it with came first. The wooden frame will give it all of the strength it will need.

I hope this answers your question. If not, use the comments section below to ask more.

Comments for H Came vs. U Came for Outside Edge

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Apr 16, 2010
Thanks AGAIN!!
by: Lisa Seger

I just can't thank you enough for your very helpful website. I just went back and reread my original post and your replies. I have come so far in one year. I opened my own art gallery in December 09, featuring my stained glass, as well as my son's & his girlfriend's. I am teaching them the art of stained glass, as learned from your website and many hands-on hours over the last 18 months. I started doing shows in March of 09, and did 24 total for the year. Decided that was a lot of extra work and hard on the wear and tear of my product, so opened the store-front. I still do small shows just to help get my name out, and I keep my prices very competitive so that everyone can afford something.
Most of all, I enjoy this art so much that I want others to enjoy it as well. I am teaching beginner classes in my shop, sharing many of your useful tidbits with others who want to experience the art. I know I couldn't do so much in such a short time without your help, so I just wanted to give thanks where it is deserved! BLESS YOU!

Thank you, and the best of luck with your new business :-)

Jan 20, 2009
Thanks so much!
by: Lisa

Yes, that does help a lot. I guess my only question about using the H came (supposing that I will not be framing it in a wooden frame, but using the came as the frame), the outer channel will be open...is that then filled in with putty? I have not used putty yet, because I just foil & solder. Should I be using putty to finish off the foiled soldered pieces? Maybe I need to go back and read your tutorial about putty.
I would like to eventually be able to sell my pieces at art fairs and such, but so far, I am giving them as pieces to friends and family. Oh, and I made 16 transoms for my old house...each one different in color, design and style. I am addicted, but am starting to think I need to have a goal for my pieces ( such as selling them at art fairs). Do you have suggestions about selling the pieces if you don't have a store front?
Again, thank you for your website and help. I learn so much from your experiences and tutorials!

If you want h came as the border for a foiled or leaded piece, first of all NO...you don't fill the outer channel with putty. You can leave it open, or you could fill it with U came to give the edge a finished look. Why U inside H you ask?? Because you might want to use a fairly wide H, to compliment the size or design.

As for selling pieces, your best bet would be to start at a high end art and craft show. Have plenty of business cards with you and freely give them out, but don't expect to sell a lot at first. Once you get known, people will come to you.

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