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Questions About Restoring An Old Panel For A Door

restoration colonial came solder issues

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#1 jjg825

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 01:09 PM

Hello,

 

This is my first major (relative term) restoration project. I have previously soldered a few pieces into a lamp shade, and have lots of electrical soldering experience.

 

I am trying to restore and old window (from an exterior wood door) and I have lots of questions. Hopefully some of you can offer insights.

 

Here are a few pictures of the window:

https://goo.gl/photo...nLgMrRE4QJjWei7https://goo.gl/photo...jCVcY5ShYZeCDP7https://goo.gl/photo...DuZsrgtfCuqbK2Ahttps://goo.gl/photo...i9oLTfyti49ruP6

 

The window is missing a few panes and has a few others that are cracked -- as well as -- many places where the came is cracked at the top, or joints are separated. I attempted to clean and solder one of the cracked joints, to see how it would take the solder -- it didn't go well at all.

My questions are:

1 - Replacing the broken and missing panes -- is it best to cut out the top side of the came and use foil and flow solder, or something else?

2 - The came appears to be hollow -- is it possible to fill in the little cracks that appear on the crown of the came?

3 - Soldering seems to be difficult -- what is the process for cleaning, fluxing and soldering that will give me the best chance for solid joints?

4 - Reinforcement -- currently there is no reinforcement, which is probably why it didn't fare so well in the door. What would be the best method for reinforcing this window for use in an exterior wood door?

 

Thank you all in advance,

jjg825



#2 Tod Beall

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:33 PM

1. The came is zinc. It can't be worked as easily (relative term) as lead.

1a. Personally, I've never liked the look of a repair done with foil instead of actual lead. An opinion. It's certainly a "stop-gap" method and one very few real restorers would use.

 

2 & 3. If the came is cracked, I'd guess that it would be possible to fill those. However, folks who restore zinc windows generally complain about how hard it is to clean it enough to take solder (aggressive flux required, I believe) and how easy it is to melt! You must scratch down to bare metal - as you probably know.

4. It would benefit from a couple of reinforcing bars (flat bars, IMHO) soldered to the joints and let into the wood.

 

Questions: Have you talked with the owner and set parameters and goals for the repairs? A budget? Or is the owner you? That could be helpful!

Do you have the necessary replacement glass? Are any of the beveled pieces missing?

My understanding is that finding new zinc in the Colonial styles is getting harder since Chicago Metallic went out of business. However, there are several basic shapes which are still available in most glass shops, so somebody must be making them! You may need to start looking around.

In my area, there are virtually no panels made with zinc so I've only worked on a few through the years (usually cabinet doors) and generally lucked out as less rather than more work & manipulation was needed. However, there are several folks who stop by here with lots of zinc-y experience and they will flesh out the discussion, I'm sure.

Good questions & good project.



#3 jjg825

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 04:39 PM

Tod,

 

Thanks so much for your response!

 

I am the owner. The window was in one of our doors when we moved in, but shortly thereafter I removed it to prevent further deterioration. The glass that fell out was badly cracked and came out during storage.

 

1 -- It sounds like my only choice for a true restoration would be to find new (matching) colonial came? Not going to be easy. Can I just take apart the lower portion, or do I need to redo the entire window? 

 

I do have all of the replacement glass. There is only one piece of beveled glass, I have it, but there is a little piece chipped out of the bottom. I was assuming I could fill that little piece with some solder???

 

I would be appreciative for any other information/tutorials that you think would be beneficial.

 

Thanks.



#4 Knight

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 07:44 AM

You can find colonial came. http://www.franklina...se-h-5-32/4470/ here is a link to Franklin Art Glass in Columbus Ohio, I am sure there are many other places you can find it as well.

 

You don't need to take apart the entire window...you just need to take apart what is needed to get to the areas that have the broken glass. Keep in mind that it will look new and not be pitted and oxidized like the other areas. Often I have to step back on a zinc repair and realize when the tables need to tip from repair to rebuild. The beveled piece can be camouflaged with a little creative soldering. 

 

The biggest thing with zinc is getting it clean enough to take solder...I often use a Dremel and miscellaneous tips to grind away the old to reveal the new.



#5 jjg825

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

Knight,

 

Thanks for the reply!

So, if this were your piece would you be repairing, or rebuilding?

After hearing the advice on the forum, I am leaning toward first trying to repair the solder joints in the top 2/3rd's -- and if successful -- then rebuilding the bottom 1/3. Does that sound like a reasonable approach?

Also, any guess on the age of the window?



#6 Knight

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 09:19 AM

Since you asked what I would do if it were my piece.......

I would rebuild.

The window has clear glass and taking it apart, cleaning all the glass, replacing broken glass that has been repaired in the past, and getting it nice and shiny and new would be my approach for a panel in my front door.

 

However......

Your experience is still green, so it is easier said than done. You can get the glass quite clean giving it a good scrub, and the repairs can be completed by creeping into the panel where you need to. The only other thing that makes me a little apprehensive to repair instead of a rebuild is the second photo that shows the failed solder joint. It is clear that the panel has seen better days and would really benefit from a rebuild. After the panel is rebuilt you can attach some rebar for strength and you are good as new!



#7 jjg825

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

I knew you were going to say that!

The panel is in one of my back doors, not my front door. Not that that makes a big difference. 

I would love to make it all shiny and new, but I'm apprehensive. I believe I could do it, but how much time is it going to take -- that's my big dilemma. 

The panel is in rough shape. That broken solder joint in the middle has actually allowed the panel to stretch, in width. I am concerned that I will not be able to clamp the window back into it's original position, solder the joint, and have the solder hold when I un-clamp it. If that is the case -- it'll need to be a rebuild.

I appreciate your time and advice!



#8 Knight

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 07:31 AM

Good Luck!

The worst that can happen is you learn a few techniques repairing it to aid down the line if it needs a rebuild!



#9 annabelle

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:57 AM

I agree with Knight.  I would rebuild...That way, you would be able to have it fit back where it goes...And it would be stronger with the reinforcement you would add. Good luck with the project!



#10 jjg825

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for all the supportive responses. I will let you know how it goes.



#11 Boris_USA

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:35 PM

Good advice from everyone.  I would not use any foil here either.  As Knight and Tod said, you need to get down to new metal for the solder to flow right since flux just won't remove enough of the deep set oxidation. Like Knight, I use a Dental rotary micromotor or you can use a Dremel tool to carefully remove the oxidized part, in this case likely with a small round burr that would fit in side the side indents on each side of the came, and leaving the center rib higher, as its pictured. A very light touch to keep the burr from digging in, Fresh solder and flux would cover the grinding larks and fix the cracks, from looking at it. The apprehension I would have with just a "Fix" is the fact you said its in a Door.  Each time the door is opened and shut, there will be some "Inertia" force on the glass, even with out slamming the door hard,  because its in a rigid frame, and you don't know the condition of all the rest of your joints under the surface you can see.  For that reason, if it was mine, and being a door panel,  as Knight said, I would rebuild with new came and extra support bar. Just more thoughts. 



#12 Tod Beall

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:01 AM

Good luck - let us see some in-process photos & comments if you can.



#13 jjg825

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

Thanks everyone. I will post updates when I can!






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