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How a Window is Made

Some details are provided for you to appreciate the process of how a Tiffany-style window is made. It's like assembling a jigsaw puzzle but you get to create the image, make all the pieces, and put it together.  Of course, the difference is that the goal is to keep the window together!

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 Decide on a design, details, and sixe.  Formalize a plan.  Stained glass is manufactured by 8-9 companies in North America.  Glass can be colorless or colored, come in a variety of textures, and be transparent, translucent or opaque.

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All of the glass is cut and  roughly shaped.

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The process is continued until completion.

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The design is converted into a template so that the individual pieces can be laid out.  Each piece of glass is cut according to the templet

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The edges of each piece are ground smooth both to closely follow the desired shape but also to provide a smooth edge to which the copper foil can be attached.

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Each piece is wrapped around its perimeter with a strip of copper foil.  The copper foil is adjacent to the foil of the next piece and then is soldered with a 60/40 mix of tin and lead.

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Glass is selected and cut to shape by hand using any of a variety of  a variety of  diamond or carbide-tipped cutters

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All the cut and ground pieces are assembled.

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With all the adjacent pieces soldered together, a structural frame (often extruded zinc) is attached to ensure integrity and rigidity.  Add loop and it's ready for hanging.

Tin-lead solder obviously contains lead, a substance that might be alarming.  Lead is not volatile (i.e., spread as atoms through the air even when it's a liquid). It is not transferred (i.e., transdermal) through the skin.  Lead is toxic when ingested, as in the form of paint dust spread through the air or chips being chewed.

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