Friday, 25 May 2012

Removing Cement

Sometimes life gets in the way and a partially cemented panel is left for days. When you come back to it the lead light cement is hard. Removal requires a material hard enough to shift the cement but not cut into or damage the lead or glass.
The best tool is a rectangular stick of hard wood. It should be at least 6 mm thick to stand up to the pressures of cleaning, but not much more than 12 mm - 15 mm wide to enable you to get into corners. It should be 200 mm – 250 mm long for ease of handling. Shape one end in a chisel or wedge shape. I prefer the wedge shape, but the chisel shape can be re-formed more quickly than the wedge because there is only one edge.
Use the stick by running it along the lead with some downward force, but remember you can break the glass with too much pressure. This should break the adhesion between the cement and the glass. To get all the cement off the glass, you will need to use the stick in localised areas almost as a kind of pick. This is the kind of tool that I use in conjunction with a stiff brush for the final clean up of each panel before polishing.