Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Is Lead Came?

Newcomers to the hobby of creating stained glass suncatchers occasionally ask us what is lead came?

For those of us who aren't familiar with the term; a came is a divider bar used between small pieces of glass that is used to make a larger glazed panel.

Came is often referred to as "leaded glass" while the process is often referred to as "leading".

Came is usually made from soft metals like lead, zinc, copper or brass in the form or an H shaped or U shaped cross section in various sizes.

5/64 Round U Lead Hobby Came 3/16 Round H Lead Came - 45 Lbs. Box

H shaped came is used for the interior construction of stained glass panels and U shaped came is used almost exclusively for the borders of glass projects.

The came joints are soldered together to create strength and is a good method for creating large stained glass patterns like windows or panels.

Lead came stained glass construction is historically the more traditional process for making stained glass projects.

Pieces of glass are cut to fit like a glove to fit inside the soft metal H or U shaped came channels.

Although the most common metal used for came is lead; copper, brass and zinc are also used for larger stained glass projects where extra strength or a different color is desired.

Stained glass suncatchers in particular are often constructed using a hybrid of both foil and came.

The interior glass pieces are usually foiled and then soldered to the U shaped came border.

This hybrid method is often used on smaller stained glass suncatcher projects to cut down on the "bulky" look and weight of the finished project.

In upcoming articles we will explain in detail how to construct stained glass projects using came and what equipment is necessary.

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