Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cleaning the back of the Saint's head.

In March I worked for a few days for a company that restores stained glass windows. They needed a carpenter at a job over in Lewes, Delaware. The real restoration craftsmanship was done back at their studio in north Jersey. In Lewes they were installing a clear plexiglas protection layer against the window jamb. To prepare for the plexiglas we had to remove the old exterior protective layers. Some of these were weathered plastic; some were glass. After they were removed - which involved dealing with old, hardened caulk and glazing compound - the old pieces were used as patterns for the new plexi protection.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the three days that I worked there. The building was a slate-roofed brick church in the oldest part of Lewes, which bills itself as the first city in the first state. The church was in a property that covered an entire block and included a churchyard with the graves of the early congregants.

We worked on the building from small aluminum scaffolds that were moved from window to window.
Church volunteers paused to thank us - the work crew - for the transformation of their windows. 
After the old glass and glazing compound were removed, the jamb was caulked and given a coat of paint. The last step to be performed before installing the new plexiglas was to sweep off any dust and spray a glass cleaning solution on the outside of the stained glass.

I didn't ask which Saint's head I was cleaning from the top of the scaffold. When I went inside on the last day to see what I'd been working on, he was just beaming.