Leading Up A Circle

Leading up a circle in a stained glass panel can be frustrating. You tend to cut it either too short or too long, or the ends don't join up properly. Just knowing where or how to start can be a mystery. Let me show you how easy it is.

Double click on the pictures to enlarge them

step one

Lay the circle on the cartoon exactly where you want it. Mark the circle where it will meet a joint. Make the mark fairly thick so you can definitely see a left and right side to it.

step two

Take a long strip of lead and place it, with the channel facing up, on your work bench. Starting about 1 inch in from the end, set the circle in the channel, with the mark pointing straight down.

step three

Roll the circle along the channel until the mark is pointing straight down again. Cut the lead about 1 inch beyond where the mark is pointing.

step four

When you are wrapping a circle in lead, start about 1 inch in from the end of the lead. Wrap the lead around the circle just like you see in this picture (make note of where the mark is on the circle in this picture and do the same).You don't want to wrap the farthest end of the lead all the way around just yet. With a lead knife, exacto knife or fine tip marking pen, mark the lead on either the left or right side of the mark on the circle. Remember which side of the mark you use, because you will use the same side of the mark for the other end of the lead.

step five

Holding the lead firmly in place, lift off the end you just marked and wrap the other end around. Mark the lead where it touches the line on the same side of the line that you used to mark the first end of the lead.

step six

Now you can lift the second end up and cut both ends of the lead where the marks are. Make straight (not angled) cuts. It is easy to do with lead dykes, as you won't need to remove the lead in order to cut it. If you have to fully remove the lead, try not to bend it or put a kink in it. When you are leading up a circle, the less you have to manipulate the lead, the nicer the finished circle will look.

step seven

Push the lead back on the circle and squeeze both ends of the lead together. You now have a perfect fitting leaded circle with the ends joining correctly. Now you can slide the circle into place and continue building your leaded window.

If you have any questions or comments about leading up a circle, please feel free to Contact Me.

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This page was last updated on March 5, 2016

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