Measuring for a Commission or Purchase

One the most common problems with commissions for stained glass is a failure to provide accurate measurements. If you provide me with measurements of where a stained glass panel is to be installed, you are responsible for the accuracy of those measurements.

For most types of installations I will construct the stained glass panel 1/8 " smaller all the way around. The allows for the proper use of compressible shims which absorb minor building movement. It also has the advantage of allowing for minor measurement errors. If a stained glass panel I construct is no larger than the measurements you provide and no smaller than those measurements less 3/8", then I am not responsible if the panel does not fit in it's intended location.

I strongly recommend having an experienced carpenter do the measuring. A carpenter with experience will know how to avoid common measuring mistakes. Inexperienced people frequently make measuring mistakes such as:

  • holding the tape measure at an angle
  • making the wrong allowance for how the tape measure tip sits against the inside of a sill
  • misreading measurements where the tape bends against the inside of the sill
  • Misjudging the inside point of a radius curved window sill edge.

The most accurate way to ensure I have perfect measurements for a stained glass panel is with a carpenter's template. A carpenter cuts a template from some rigid material. This template is inserted in the window opening to ensure it fits. Any adjustments are made until the template is perfect.

However, this method is difficult, time consuming and then template must be shipped to me.

For many rectangular type windows, a series of accurate measurements is often OK. See Measurement Guidelines. Also see Installation for an idea how final panel might be installed.

For irregular or curved windows, an accurate template is the only possibility. A rigid carpenter's template as described above is preferred. However for large windows this may be impossible. In this case an accurate paper template is acceptable. Extreme care must be taken to ensure the paper is tight against the window with absolutely no creases or folds to throw off the template.

Thank you, Timothy Atwood