June 7th, 2016 / Mt. Vernon News

Revitalization Lets Light Shine Through Windows

By Alan Reed / Mt. Vernon News June 7, 2016

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — As members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on East High Street are patiently waiting for the restoration project to be completed on their four large stained-glass windows, two specialty craft shops are collaborating in providing them with a high-end quality product which can be enjoyed for decades to come.

The stained-glass windows were made in Paris, France, in 1863. New window casings are being constructed at Arched Casings and Architectural Woodwork Inc. in Plain City, and the restoration of the multi-colored glass window panes is taking place simultaneously at Franklin Art Glass Studios in Columbus. Project manager Todd Mizer said he believes that repair of these windows could have taken place a few times already after observing the patchwork condition of the windows.

Located in German Village just southeast of downtown Columbus, this family-owned business has been producing high-quality stained-glass work since 1924. Custom sales manager Garrett Pilarski has been working closely with Arched Casings and Architectural Woodwork on the window project for St. Paul’s. Although the art of making stained glass windows has been around at least a couple centuries, Pilarski said the same process is still used to make the new windows today.

The bulk of the work on the four windows from St. Paul’s is replacing the leading in between each individual piece of colored glass which creates the design of the window. Performing the work on the glass panes is Bob Rowe who has worked at Franklin Art Glass for 39 years. His job is to revitalize the many pieces of glass, which consists of not only replacing the leading, but also repairing or replacing any panes as needed. Rowe was seen performing the tedious job of pulling up the old leading with a specialty tool and replacing it with new leading.

“You’ve got good stuff to work with here. We’ll make it happen for you,” Rowe told church representatives.

While some of the glass panes have been severely damaged, Rowe is attempting to keep as many of the original pieces in place as possible. “It’s more beneficial for you to keep the original parts,” said Rowe.

In some glass, cracks run the length of the glass pane, Rowe can install new thin leading, maintaining the integrity of the window while maintaining the design. In some places, adding leading is the only option to save the appearance as the expansion and contraction of window casings with the weather has caused some glass edges to become rough, making them difficult to be fit back in as they were.

Upon inspection, Rowe said that a few pieces of glass taken out for restoration may not be original as they have a different finish or even be a different type of glass than the others. Nevertheless, as many pieces as possible, including these, are being kept in the window panes for authenticity.

Once the window glass is completely repaired, Franklin Art Glass will coordinate with Arched Casings in installing the windows, with new casings, at St. Paul’s. Before the installation takes place, Modern Builders will assist in completing tuck-pointing of joints between the sandstone blocks and the brick. Clear tempered glass at 1/4-inch thick will then be applied over the exterior of the new windows.

The project is expected to be completed late this summer.
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