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A Stained Glass Restoration That Almost Never Happened: St Giles’ Catherdral

February 20, 2018 in Church Stained Glass Restoration

A Church Renovation That Started A Stained Glass Tradition

When you think of old churches like St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland you probably think of towering stained glass windows that are centuries upon centuries old.  However, although Saint Giles Cathedral has been a religious center for nearly 900 years, the windows as it turns out are a little less than 200 years old dating back to the later part of the 19th century.  The reason for this is because Presbyterian churches only had clear glass windows since the reformation.  Stained glass, as it turns out, they held in poor or suspicious regard and as a form of idolatry. When  William Chambers set out to restore the St Giles Cathedral in the 1870s and 80s. he was determined to put stained glass again where only small fragments from the middle ages still survived when he restored the Cathedral.  By this point in history the Presbyterian objections had gradually faded away so James Ballantine (who had gained wide publicity when he won a national competition to design some of the stained glass windows for the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster and Chambers) was commissioned  to create nine new windows for the Cathedral chancel, illustrating the life of Christ The well-known artist Robert Herdman was an advisory on the design and the stained glass windows were paid for by a series of donors.  The focal point of the series is The Great East Window, donated by Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir James Falshaw.    

The St Giles Stained Glass Tradition Lives On

Happily, even after the death of Chambers, the Cathedral Managing Board continued to commission new works of stained glass art for the cathedral of mostly biblical scenes.  Today such gorgeous works are renowned around the world and include noteworthy stained glass windows like North Window, Warden Children Memorial Window and blue glass porch at the West Door.  If not for the persistence of William Chambers, these works of art and the full restoration of this chapel may have never come to fruition.  

At Church Stained Glass Restoration we are carrying on the tradition of preserving stained glass much like William Chambers.  We believe the stained glass is something worth saving and restoring whenever possible and would love to consult with you on your church’s stained glass restoration project.  Contact us today for a free inspection of your church’s glass today!

Why Plastic or Fiberglass Coatings May Be A Bad Idea To Protect Stained Glass

January 26, 2018 in Church Stained Glass Restoration

Church Stained Glass Protection And Upkeep

The stained glass windows of your church are veritable treasures to your congregation and the community at large.  These beautiful works of art, like most, are fragile and need to be kept up and protected from the elements and other corrosive or potentially hazardous factors like air pollution or vandalism.  There are many ways to protect stained glass windows from various threats: metal grills, layers of sacrificial glass, glazing applications and more.  

Protective Coverings For Stained Glass

As a general rule of thumb, a protective layer should not be added to church stained glass unless that window was designed for it.  In most cases, the potential drawbacks outweigh the potential benefits.  Take metal grills for instance.  While great against vandalism they often time dramatically change the view of the glass on the inside with prominent criss-cross patterns.  Another stained glass preservation method that is not at all a good idea is plastic or fiberglass coverings.  Although the plastic products are very strong, lightweight, and relatively easy to install, they will scratch, haze, and yellow over time, even with UV inhibitors. They also have a high coefficient of expansion and contraction, so the frames accompanying them must be designed to move and expand with them as the temperatures fluctuate.  Poor installations of fiberglass or plastic in restrictive frames cause distorted reflections from bowing panels and even damage the historic frame.

The better alternative to plastic or fiberglass to protect stained glass windows is protective glass panels.

Glass Panels To Protect Your Church Stained Glass Windows

At Church Stained Glass Restoration, our preferred method of protection for stained glass we have built or restored is Protective Glass Panels.   While it is true that protective panels of glass are heavier and more difficult to install and thusly more expensive, glass will not bow, scratch, or haze when exposed to the element.  In terms of lasting beauty and historical preservation, protective glass panels for church stained glass are almost always the best option and one we employ frequently.

For more information on stained glass restoration for your church, contact us today and we will be happy to go over your options in a free consultation.

Our Stained Glass Building Process for Church Windows

January 15, 2018 in Church Stained Glass Restoration

As the recognized leader in church stained glass window restoration, we have a comprehensive, detailed building process to ensure everyone of our Denver church clients are beyond satisfied with their finished product. This extraordinary restoration building process is a multi-step project that renews your historical, vintage stained glass windows, restoring them to a exceedingly clean, vibrant new look.

The Assessment for Church Window Stained Glass Restoration

The on-site assessment is incredibly pertinent in the church window stained glass restoration process. The assessment completed by our restoration experts allows us to determine the problems in what exactly are causing your stained glass windows the need for restoration. For instance, if your church’s stained glass windows are bowed shaped, we can determine if it’s an external weather element causing this shape and how to restore your church’s windows to prevent this from happening in the future.

Once the assessment is complete, our team of restoration experts move on to the next step: problem solving. This step details all the ongoing issues that have causes your beautiful stained glass windows to deteriorate, and identifies why this has happened. Based on this problem solving step, our experienced team can manipulate the restoration process to ensure that these issues don’t interfere with your church’s stained glass windows again.

Church Stained Glass Restoration Building Process

Once the analytical steps are completed, we carefully removed the window from your church and bring it back to our workshop. From there, we let the glass soak for at least two weeks in our proprietary soapy blend in order to remove all the dirt buildup from over the last hundred years. We take the lead apart and dispose of it responsibly. Our experts then rebuild your stained glass windows with new lead, ensuring it matches the original lead-work, and duplicates the painted glass technique design. We add a molten mix of lead and tin to seal all the joints in your stained glass window. For the last step, we cover your window with a black cement, strengthening your window, then polishing it off the glass surfaces. We also install additional support bars if needed.

Call today to schedule a consultation to see how we can transform your church’s stained glass windows: (720) 835-2165


For more information on the applications, process, products and pricing for religious stained glass restoration, contact us!