In his chilly ground-floor workshop, Phil Wilson leans over a square of green-coloured glass and scores it with a cutter. The sound of steel on glass is like an oxyacetylene flame.

Phil, is designing and making a rectangular fanlight for the space above a door in a private house. Designing and making stained glass windows is his speciality. The front door of his workshop has stained glass designs that he made.

In an equally chilly workshop next door, his colleague Paul Arron is bashing wooden panels out of a door. He will be fitting squares of stained glass into the empty spaces that he’s extracted from job lots of doors and windows that he buys.

He has two specialities: salvaging and restoring stained glass, and buying and selling stained glass objects as antiques.

“One thing I have never done is buying and selling stained glass,” says Phil, meaning to say that he tried it but was not as adept at the business of trading pieces as Paul.

“I was always over-valuing their worth. Paul’s business is pretty much salvaging stained glass, restoring it and selling it on at a profit. He pays good prices, tries to be fair.”

Before the recession drove up the price of sterling against the US dollar, Americans rivalled the Japanese as importers. Paul sold items in bulk through a dealer in London. But over the past year or so, Americans have all but stopped buying.

Nevertheless, Phil and Paul look busy enough. Paul, reluctant to stop his work, devotes his attention to the doors he’s converting. Phil does the talking as he moves between two worktops.

One is littered with the tools of his craft: pencils, paper, soldering iron, glass cutter, pliers and Don Carlos – a hook-like blade made from German steel, used for cutting lead and lifting lead from windows.

Phil’s pencilled design for the fanlight window is on the other table-top and it is on this that he cuts into the piece of green glass, relishing the sound and saying, “We love it here.”

The location is Cathedral Halls, one of the empty buildings owned by Bradford Cathedral in Stott Hill. The two large rooms on the ground floor have no central heating, which is why Phil and Paul wear woolly hats and several layers of clothing.

Phil, 44, has been cutting and crafting glass since the age of 16 when he left school in Birmingham and was put on a youth training scheme. He went to the John Hardman Studio, which specialises in the maintenance of ecclesiastical stained glass. Stained glass, it would be true to say, has entered Phil’s soul.

On a wall of his workshop are the designs and photographs of a commission he did for St Joseph’s Roman Catholic College in Bradford: three windows depicting the Passion. He has taken the images of the Crucifixion – the Crown of Thorns, the disciples – and made them into abstract designs.

Another project is a stained glass lamp representing the Holy Spirit and the Ascension which Paul has been commissioned to make for St John’s School, Bierley.

“I did a window for the school to commemorate its 150th anniversary. The kids designed it and I made it. I think I did a pretty good job translating it into stained glass,” he says.

The Cleckheaton company Big Old Doors, specialises in bespoke doors, offers Phil a good deal of his work.

Although some people disdain stained glass, others like it, probably because it offers something unique to a house, unlike ubiquitous uPVC.

“I think the main reason why somebody would want rid of stained glass is because they cannot afford to have it restored, although it’s more economical to restore it than buy it new,” he says.

Good stained glass can last for centuries. Using it in doors and windows of houses was commonplace years ago, which is why there is so much of it stacked around the walls Phil and Paul’s workshops.

T&A photographer Mike Simmonds, who loves stained glass, is in his element.

After an hour I have to leave for the sake of my circulation, but he’s still taking pictures of Phil at work, the sound of steel cutting into glass taking the edge off the cold.

- Phil Wilson can be contacted on (01274) 270824 or 07989 431197. Paul Allon can be contacted on (01274) 651158 or 07969 357389.