Choosing Lead Came

Which Lead Is Best?

Stained glass lead came comes in 6ft lengths and is sold in single lengths or boxes.
There are many different widths, depths and profiles and a bewildering array of ‘sections’ – for example, round, flat, H and C.

Traditionally, 1/2" (12mm) flat lead is used for the edges of windows, as it gives you 3/16 " (5mm) leeway on each side for any errors in the measuring/fitting process.

Stained Glass Lead Tips

Remember that the main reason for choosing a particular lead is the best one - how it will look in your stained glasswindow design.

- Stained glass lead came with a round profile is better for leading curved shapes, as it doesn’t pucker up like the flat lead does.

- Wide heart lead is higher than standard came, and useful for plated glass (two pieces leaded together on top of each other) and for antique sheetglass that is irregular in thickness.

- It's also useful if you've slumped your piece and it's a bit uneven. I’ve also used wide heart lead when I wanted to increase the strength of the panel, as you can cram in more cement.

- Biased lead is used to join two parts of a large panel together. The heart of this came is not centered. You put the wider came at the bottom, to increase its ability to keep out the weather.

- Steel cored lead is used for strengthening stained glass panels, and can accommodate slight curves.

- Alternatively, if your design has deeper curves that you want to strengthen, you can buy separate hardened steel wire that is placed next to the heart of the lead when you’re leading your stained glass panel. You can buy it singly or by the kilo (approximately 12 lengths).

stained glass lead

Stained glass lead came profiles

Lead Sizes Availible

Standard sections (heart thickness 1/16" (1.2mm), heart width 3/16 " (5mm):


Round: 3/16 " (5mm), 1/4" (6mm), 5/16" (8mm), 3/8" (10mm), 1/2" (12mm)
Flat: 1/8" (3mm), 3/16 " (5mm), 1/4" (6mm), 5/16" (8mm), 3/8" (10mm), 1/2" (12mm) 9/16" (14mm), 5/8" (16mm), 1" (25mm)
Flat biased: 1/2" (12mm), 5/8" (16mm)
Steel cored: 3/8" (10mm) round, 1/2" (12mm) flat
Wide heart: 1/4" (6mm) flat, 5/16" (8mm) flat, 1/2" (12mm) flat

I often get asked about poisoning, and I can honestly say that none of my blood tests have ever shown any dodgy levels in my system. Having said that, it is recommended that you wear latex gloves when leading, and that you seek medical advice if you are pregnant.

For an expert tutorial showing how to use came go here.




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