Constructing Leaded Glass Door Panels for Exterior Doors

August 27, 2010
Source: Door Smart

A lot of work goes into the construction of a solid mahogany leaded glass door. Every component that goes into a door like this is done by hand. Each door is unique in and of itself. In this article you will get to peak inside of the construction process of these elegant doors. I will start with the construction of the glass panel and publish later articles on the milling, construction, assembly and packaging of the doors.

In this first step, you can see the glass pieces, or lites, cut by hand using a glass cutter that follows a pattern laid underneath the glass. The glass is cut from larger sheets of glass of either clear glass or glue-chip glass.

No machining is done here, each piece of glass is cut by hand. In a typical leaded glass door panel you can have on the upwards of one hundred plus pieces.

Hand Made Custom Doors

When you consider the time that goes into the cutting of the glass, you can appreciate the overall customized look that only leaded glass delivers.

After each piece is cut, they are laid out by pattern. notice in the picture how they are laid out. The glass itself is 1/4 inch thick and the bevel that will be applied is a 1/2 inch bevel.

The pieces of glass are laid out in trays to match the complete glass door panel design in advance of bevelling. From here each piece of glass will have a bevel applied to it.

Now that all the glass lites are laid out, the pieces are ready to have a bevel applied to them by hand using a beveling stone. A beveling stone contains a high grit including diamond dust to grind a smooth glass beveled finish to the edge of the entire piece of glass.

Notice the water being applied. The water allows for the glass to be smoothly ground down and acts as a lubricant to avoid breakage of the glass.

The stone pictured here is decades old and is a sign of the true atrisanship that goes into each piece of a final assembled leaded glass door.

Upon completion of the grinding, you will have the pieces now laid out for assembly into the final leaded glass panel.

You can see the leaded panel at the bottom of the photo, the lead is laid out between the pieces of glass. The glass pieces are then pressed into the lead caming channel. At this point, the glass panel is ready for final assembly.

Final Assembly of Leaded Glass Door Panel

Once the leaded glass panel is laid out and the lead inserted; the leaded glass door panel must be soldered together.

This is pain staking work, but the resulting leaded glass panel is truly beautiful, hand-made, and true testament to the quality and elegance of these doors.

As always, if you have any questions, please drop me a line. I would be happy to answer your questions and give you a straight answer.

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