View through broken window pane of St. Francis Savior Cathedral


While cutting and installing floor molding on the second floor of the main hall, a piece of timber broke through one of the larger stained glass windows. Luckily, the broken glass was not a piece containing terrific detail as in the face of a person. As I have learned from Kelly Smith, from Cristal Vetro, Stained and Beveled Glass, a detailed piece of glass would have been very difficult to reproduce.

brokenpane11.jpg brokenpane2.jpg brokenpane3.jpg

1. Broken Pane, 2. Pane Removed, 3. Pane Install Complete

Kelly, a glass artist located here in Green Bay, was brought in to repair the broken pane. She explained that the more detail in a given pane, the more time and talent it requires to replace it. A person’s face on a glass pane, for instance, requires painting and firing over five times to reach the level detail needed in the glasswork. That’s “panes” taking effort…pun intended!


In her effort to restore the window back to normal, she had to remove the broken piece from the glass wall. As you can see from the photograph, the accident happened on a window painted to represent a stone wall. Kelly had to match the glass, cut the shape needed, and paint the texture, then fire the glass for a match.


The piece was then installed back into the original window on the building. This was a particular challenge as Kelly could only work from one side of the window; the other side was inaccessible.


Thanks to Kelly’s vast experience and talent, the mishap is now undetectable. With the glass repaired, she offered cleaning advice for the building’s windows. For anyone who has stained-glass windows, here are the steps she recommends for properly cleaning them.

1. Using a light setting on a vacuum cleaner, carefully vacuum the panes of glass to remove any surface dust.

2. Fill a bucket with warm water adding vinegar and a mild dishwashing soap. Mix or whisk thoroughly until suds begin to build.

3. Fill a second bucket with warm water.

4. Working in tandem between the two buckets and using a separate sponge for each, apply the suds/foam to a small area of the window, dabbing it gently. Do not use water directly on the glass as it may loosen the grout that bonds the glass to the lead.

5. Using the second bucket of clear water, wet a new sponge and wipe the suds from window pane. Rinse the sponge in clean water.

6. Repeat process until the sponge used for rinsing extracts clear water when rung out.

7. Move on to a new area until entire window is completed.

Thanks Kelly for your wonderful insights and expertise!

Paul Meinke

Next up, some of the finer points of the building and the artists that helped to make them happen!

Look what else we’ve been up to at:



~ by Paul James on February 7, 2007.

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