This will be the last posting here that is dedicated exclusively to the new rose window for Saint Anne’s Church in San Diego. I am eager to take up several other subjects such as what American religious stained glass should look like in the 21st Century. In the meantime, lets give our rose window a proper blog send-off.
As Mike was putting the reinforcing bars on, he noticed a crack in one of the outer border pieces. He removed the piece and here it is with the replacement that Melissa was forced to make to replace it. You can see how the crack literally wiggles through the piece. We know just looking at this that this crack was caused when the piece was cooling after being fired and not the result of an accidental impact. These kind of cracks happen all the time and occur completely by themselves. The crack is caused when different areas in a piece of glass cool at different rates. When the differences in the rate of cooling become irreconcilable, the pieces get divorced.
We get much more upset about this when it happens to the head of a figure. As it is, Melissa will trace the lines and put on a matte, do the shading then fire it once. Then she will apply the gold stain and fire it again. Mike had to open the leads and remove the piece and it was more than a day before he had the replacement to put into the leading. Here is a photo of the broken piece alongside the replacement being painted.
So now on to the baring. The steel reinforcing bars are soldered directly to the interior surface of the window and are secured enough that you can pick the window up holding only the bars. While the bars are 1/2″ deep, their visual profile is only 1/8″. You will be surprised at how little these bars are visible once the light bleeds around them.
We arranged the reinforcing bars to provide the maximum amount of support ensuring that this window remains flat indefinitely, without ever requiring attention in our lifetime. The bars are arranged in a crossing pattern with vertical bars dovetailing through horizontal bars. We place an extra bar across the lower area of the window because this is where the effects of gravity over time would cause a bulge. Because we restore so many old windows, we have the benefit of learning from the mistakes of past craftsmen who never worked on old windows. Why didn’t they restore old windows you ask- because a hundred years ago, there weren’t any old stained glass windows in the U.S.
Note that the ends of all of the bars have been bent to an angle parallel with the perimeter of the panel. Two holes have been drilled through each of these bar ends and the holes counter-sunk on the interior side. The intention with this engineering is so that the bars can be fastened directly into the wood window frame. I recommend flat head stainless steel screws for this. The new moldings that will seal the section of stained glass in-place will be installed right over these bar ends. The moldings will have to be notched in-place to allow the bars to pas through them.
When the installers have this window up in-place, they will have to be certain that they get the composition plumb in the opening so that when they are done, it doesn’t look cock-eyed. While you are handling the window up on a scaffold, you cannot see if it looks right. People on the ground can’t tell if it looks good because you are blocking the view, standing in the window opening supporting the stained glass. So how do you get it straight? Simple- take a level up the scaffold with you, a four-foot one, and use it to align the top edge of the horizontal arms on the crucifix.
This photo shows the crate built to protect the window during transit. There is actually a box within the box here, with a thick circle of plywood that will cradle the window. Next the window is placed within the ring and the lid secured over the inner box.Thick sheet styrofoam cushions the inner crate inside the larger, outer crate. The crate is clearly marked directing the handlers to never lay the box flat. There are a great many screws holding this box together but they all don’t have to be removed to open the box. The ones marked in red are the screws to remove to open the box.
My thanks to all the Parishioners at Saint Anne’s who have sent many kind comments and especially to Father Gismondi for inviting us to make such an important contribution to your worship space.