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|You're right on that Vic. The cement would be capable of siphoning water as well as oil without maintenance. Routine maintenance is critical in the longevity of any window regardless of the cement used, and this would certainly be no exception. Like you, we have rarely seen diligent maintenance performed on stained glass windows. I've even had a church tell me their windows (behind two layers of unventilated PG) will last 100 years without service and since they are only 95 years old, they've got five more years before they have to deal with them. We have also worked on a large collection of F.X. Zettler windows ca. 1910 that had been recemented in situ once before many years ago, and we cemented them once again. The condition of most of these windows was remarkable in that there was no deflection and not one broken joint or failed came. Had this maintenance contributed to the healthy life of these windows that were still weather tight? If so, would there not be benefits to a cement that readily accepts oil if it means they can remain in their original installation well over a century if maintained?
We speculate the use of plaster in cement was commonplace 100 years ago. Many windows in our area have some form of PG and we have not seen first hand any permanent harmful effects of plaster in cement. Any church we have worked on with windows exposed to the elements has welcomed the idea of cementing their windows every 30 years or so, which is a very simple and delicate procedure. Many of them are also undertaking large roofing, tuck pointing, plaster and painting projects and it seems a lesson is being learned that it's better to stay diligent with their building maintenance rather than let it go until the point it's a significant problem. Now, not all churches have the funding or awareness to stay on top of every little issue their building may encounter, but we work closely with other trades and do our best to promote this philosophy. If such building maintenance can be picked away at in small pieces it spreads out the cost over the years and hopefully diminishes the necessity for massive costly projects which will not only benefit the parishioners but also anyone in the restoration trades.
Maybe it's wishful thinking, I guess I'm a dreamer.