Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Copper Foil Is The Best

Recently I got in a running discussion about the merits of the copper foil method. A reader saw that we had taken apart a leaded window, redesigned it and rebuilt it using the copper foil method.

"Why would you do that when leading is so much more versatile and strong?"

I was dumbfounded. You can see more pictures of the rebuilt window and the condition of the lead at rebuild.htm

It really was a sight. Just terrible condition.

I've discussed how superior the copper foil method is in articles before. The article at typeandquality.htm covers the subject very well, but in this running discussion (argument) that I had, I pointed out something that wasn't in that article which has been read and republished thousands of times.

Lead came deteriorates and crumbles and loses it integrity in as little as ten years and certainly within a hundred years unless encased in between glass. Copper foil doesn't because it isn't lead alone, but a mixture of tin and lead which is much stronger and stands up to the elements. Lamps and windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany sell from $30,000 to millions. But you don't see that price being commanded from lead came windows because they deteriorate so badly.

Her comment about lead came being more versatile is wrong in my opinion, this can be debated by others, but since it's my article, I say it's wrong. How many times have I seen lead came windows by really good artists that have a copper foil section in the panel because they need more detail in an area.

The only reason one would ever choose to use lead came is that it is faster to build, since only joints must be soldered, or that they were trying to achieve a certain perfection in laying out beveled diamonds in a French style window.


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david@gommstudios.com said...

I learned from my glass supplier yesterday that the composition of lead is different today and so it doesn't breakdown like it used to. So my experiences have been with the "Old Stuff."

david@gommstudios.com said...

A friend who does only lead came agrees that came that's 80 to 100 years old crumbles and that the timeline of bad came comes right up to about ten years ago. He says that came that is older than 100 years, even back to 500 or more years seems to be very stable. So, something must have happened at the time of the industrial revolution. He thinks that guilds broke up and formulas for good lead were lost and are just now being rediscovered.

sales said...

Oooooh... lead versus Copperfoil. That's a pretty good one that gets people heated up.

Our company http://www.oldworldstainedglass.net did both. Copperfoil for lamps and lead came for windows. As a third generation Somers I can assure you that lead will last a very long time. I also feel that it is stronger cause it is more flexible than foil... but to each his own. :)