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Question
When installing a h lead framed panel, how exactly are neoprene setting blocks used? While I understand that they adjust the panel in the opening, do they sit up inside the channel too or are they as wide or wider than the channel? Also,  I've read where people recommend "filling" the bottom of the lower channel below with something so the h channel doesn't crush or sag.  Your best advice?  Thanks!

Answer
Janet, I apologize for the delay. My wife had hip replacement surgery and I have been out of pocket for a couple of weeks.

Actually, there are several questions here. I will try to answer based on my more than 45 years experience.

Lead, as you realize, is a weak supportive material. It depends upon the size of your panel,to a great extent, whether lead should even be used on the perimeter.  If you do use lead, run the side leads from top to bottom with the upper and lower leads fitting in between the outer border leads. The vertical leads will, then have the heart of the border lead adding to the overall lead for support. It is then, less likely the bottom leads will crush. Adding a small strip of wood or large diameter copper wire into the bottom channel of the lead will help prevent the crushing. You could also use a length of square or round steel rod into the bottom portion of the bottom lead. Perhaps galvanized wire in an appropriate diameter would be preferable. I am just letting my mind wander with alternatives; mainly because I do not know what materials you have access to.

The setting blocks you mention are generally used in commercial applications, but can be used to set your leaded glass windows. Set them so that the entire width (thickness ) of your lead is supported. A small section of lead worked into the bottom channel to fill that portion of the channel where you place the setting blocks will help prevent the crushing of the lead from the gravitationally downward thrust on the bottom border channel.

Personally, I prefer zinc channel for the perimeter of my panels. It is lighter than lead, but stronger in several aspects than lead. I use channel from 1/4" to 1/2"; depending on the size of the panel. Again, follow the procedure above with the outside border cames going from top to bottom. Zinc is more expensive than lead on a pound for pound basis, but you will get far more strips of any dimension of zinc in a 50 pound box than a 50 pound box of lead came. Zinc will be both stronger and less expensive in the long run;

There are some who object to using lead and zinc together; stating the potential fro electrolytic corrosion between the two dissimilar metals. Unless there will be a lot of moisture in the environment, this won't occur.  I frequently do restoration of 100 year old windows with zing borders that have no corrosion problems.The corrosion that might result will more than likely be caused from a poor choice of soldering flux that was not mediated in the cleanup of the window.

Another aspect with application to the sagging problem with lead came (zinc as well) is the way in which support bars are installed. Run your bars top to bottom so that the ends of the bars extend to both edges of the border. This transfers the weight throughout the vertical dimension of your panel with the greatest amount of weight concentrated at the junction of the support bar and the width of your bottom border. Support bars should not be placed so that they are not fully engaged with the border channel. Otherwise, the weight will be concentrated to the solder joint; ultimately weakening the integrity of the window along the border.   

Janet, I hope my wandering response helps. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to add a further question.

Also, please don't forget to rate my response.

Regards,
Carl Trimble
Trimble Studios
www.trimblestudios.com  

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H Carl Trimble III

Expertise

One of a kind custom design stained glass as well as other glass art methods and the restoration of stained glass. Inquiries regarding leaded, beveled, etched sand carved, and fused glass techniques are invited. Other methods, technical questions,history of the art and supply source inquiries also welcome. Information on the pro's and con's of protective glazing of stained glass windows. Visit www.TrimbleStudios.com for more complete information.

Experience

Over forty years experience in a wide range of techniques that include "stained glass", wood working and metal fabrication. Have worked from my own full service studio since 1977. Many major residential, commercial and religious installations from Charlottesville, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego California as well as much of the State of Texas

Organizations
Professional Affiliate,Certified Trainer, and Preferred Provider for the American Institute of Architects, AIA, Dallas, Texas. I have served on the Board of Directors of both the Texas Fine Arts Association and the Texas Visual Arts Association

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Fine Arts, The University of Texas, Tyler. Master of Fine Arts, The University of North Texas, Denton. Just a few hours short of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Awards and Honors
Many first place and best of show awards in both stained glass and fine arts competitions. Steady commission work for the past ten years has obviated any recent competitive activity.

Past/Present Clients
Most recent major commissions are for American Airlines CR Smith Museum; JFK Airport Terminal 8 stained glass; TXU Energy Plaza Thor stained glass. The Mansion at Turtle Creek, Dallas and and St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Terrell, Texas

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