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Friday, September 23, 2011

How to add hanging hooks to a window with a zinc frame

Since we typically frame our Tiffany windows with zinc came, we thought we'd share with our readers how to hang those windows.  Unless we are using a wood frame on a window, we use zinc came.  We never frame a window with lead came, even when we used lead came in its construction.  Lead came is weak and over time it will stretch out of shape and fail.

We like to use tinned copper wire for all of our hanging hooks (jump rings).  It's strong, plus since it has been already tinned, it is easy to solder.  It is available in a few different gauges, like 14, 16, 18 and 20.  We prefer to use 20 gauge but it is not necessary.

Take the copper wire and twist it tightly, by hand, neatly around something round and straight, like a pen or pencil or dowel stick.  Whatever you use, it should be the size of the desired jump ring that you want to make.  After you've wound the wire a bunch of times around whatever you are using, slide it off.  It should look very much like a spring now.  Take a pair of dykes or lead nippers and carefully cut into the twisted copper wire loops, one by one, so you now have circles or rings.  You are now ready to solder these on to your zinc frame.

If you don't have a zinc frame on the window you need to hang, you can solder the jump ring on to the outer edge of your glass piece, making sure that the ring is soldered to a soldered copper area.  Do not solder the hanging hook on to the the foil that is on the outer part of the window since it is not strong and will not be able to hold any weight.  Instead, make sure the hook is soldered to an area where two pieces of glass come in contact, we call the area a solder joint.  At that area you can solder the hook on to the outer perimeter of the piece.


As you can see from the example to the left,  we soldered the hanging hooks to the back of the frame so that it doesn't look so distracting and obvious. And since we framed this suncatcher with zinc came, we can solder our jump ring at any location along the frame.  Just add enough solder to securely hold the jump ring in place, leaving enough open area in the ring to thread string through it or hang with a nail.

When soldering the hanging hook in place, hold it with a pair of pliers since the ring will get too hot to hold with fingers.

Another fancier way to make jump rings is to use a piece of copper wire about 2 1/2 feet long, fold it in half and hook it to the front of an electric drill.  Remove the bit and hold the wire in the section that typically holds the bit.  Secure the two loose ends of the wire in a vice.  Turn on the drill and the wire will twist tightly to look nice and uniform.  We have actually seen twisted wire for sale, and it can be quite expensive!  Now you can bend that twisted wire the same way we said above or loop this twisted wire over your zinc came frame and solder.  Always clean the flux off of those solder joints because flux will break down the solder over time and the hooks will fall off.

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