A Better Vanished Time

Hand tools…….They don’t make’em the way they used to!


The process of manufacturing stained glass windows has changed little since medieval times. Admittedly an electric temperature controlled soldering iron is a vast improvement on a lump of copper heated in a fire and a tungsten carbide glass cutting wheel is also an improvement on its predecessor; the diamond tipped cutter.

The rest of the tools required are fairly standard hand tools but I prefer a tool with a bit of character and where possible a family connection.

A sharp blade (Leading knife) for cutting lead calme. I made the one pictured thirty three years ago by burning and pegging a standard putty knife blade into one of my grandfathers woodworking boxwood gouge handles. You can still just see his name  J Dutton stamped into the handle. This one was retired many years ago as the blade has become to short for practical use. It was reemployed for the leading of the Armathwaite window purely because of its historical family connections.

The oil sharpening stone was a recent inheritance and is stamped with my great grandfathers name  J W Dutton.

The strange shaped piece of wood is known as a Lathekin and is used for opening the channels of the lead sections. I made five or six thirty or so years back out of an old teak table top. It is decorated with my monogram combining the initials P S J D.

Horseshoe nails to hold the glass and lead in position on the bench before it is soldered and a hammer to knock them in. Although l mostly use the handle of the leading knife for that purpose. The hammer is a fine specimen bought locally from ‘Hillarys Antiques’.

The small plane is used to adjust the lead profile, tapering leads purely for aesthetic effect. I made mine in school metalwork class when I was aged fourteen or fifteen. The body was cast into sand moulds in aluminium (a kindly donated greenhouse), the blade was made of steel and hardened by a process l recall as ‘Case Hardening’.






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