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Case Study: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church


Client: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
Location: Mt. Holly, New Jersey, United States
Glass Installation Date: January 2010
Cost: $137,360

About The Client
The history of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church goes back to colonial times. It was founded by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1742 as a mission church of St. Mary's, Burlington. Over the next hundred years, the church changed locations twice before choosing its present location in 1844. Since then, they have expanded their facilities several times to accomodate their growing family.

In 1936, St. Andrew's commissioned Willet Studios to fabricate 23 stained glass windows. These windows were leaded and many of them contained several pieces of Norman slab glass, which is a handmade, specialty glass that is no longer manufactured. What's unique about Norman slab glass is that each piece varies in thickness. The edge of a piece of Norman slab glass might be 1/8" thick and the center 1/2" thick. The thick areas create deep, intense colors while the thinner areas create lighter, softer colors. Realizing the rarity of these glasses and the fact that many of the Willet windows contain some of them, Willet Studios purchased the complete run from the last manufacturer and has over 6,000 pieces of this rare glass in stock.

In 2004, Crosby Willet appraised the windows at St. Andrew's as being worth $1,039,725.

Project Overview
The effects of time caught up with the windows at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Some of the windows fell victim to major bulges, cracked glass, broken ties, and oxidation. There was quite a bit of stress cracking on the lead between solder joints and the flanges were easily torn. There were areas where the glasses were loose in the lead and were in danger of falling out of the window. Also, the cement that sealed the glass into the lead had powdered and some had washed away over the years.

In 2009, St. Andrew's comissioned Willet Hauser Architectural Glass to restore 4 large Willet windows. After being removed from the church, the windows were taken back to our studio where they were disassembled, had all glasses cleaned, completely releaded, and cracked and broken glasses were either glued or replaced. The restoration project involved the hard work of 7 craftspeople, 2 road crews, and several office staff. It was completed over a span of 7 months.

The windows were set into wood frames that were set into cast stone. The windows were then covered with Lexan protective covering.

Challenges
Because of the varying thicknesses of the Norman slab glasses used in the windows at St. Andrew's, standard lead cames weren't always capable of holding such glasses. To remedy this situation, our craftspeople created custom lead cames by hand that had a channel wide enough to allow such glasses to fit.

Client Feedback
"Excellent job! The crew was very dilligent and worked in an efficient and professional manner. They arrived on time, cleaned up after themselves and did a perfect job on the installation. We are very pleased with the stained glass restoration."

- Brian Faniro, Warden

See more pictures of the St. Andrew's Episcopal Churchwindows.