Monday, April 18, 2016

Fruit Lamp Repair #8

Through the years, I feel like I've repaired more than eight fruit lamps .. I know them inside and out by now!  They've graced the kitchens and dining rooms of many homes and they bring back fond memories.  Here's a posting to document the replacement of a cracked pear and the minimization of a missing purple grape.

I gave the lamp an overall cleaning before starting my work.  Here is where the cracked green pear was once situated.  It had fallen out prior to my receiving the lamp.

The first step in replacing the glass is to remove any old solder and copper foil from the borders.  Here I'm using needle nose pliers to tug it off gently.

Next, I apply 7/32" copper foil to the borders of the pear.  Here I'm burnishing the foil onto the pear.  I also clean the area which had the old solder and foil, and I line that with fresh copper foil as well.

I apply liquid flux to the copper foil and begin melting the solder onto it, as shown below.

Now the border of the pear is fully soldered.  I also added some new wire to the border and soldered that in place, to assure the stability of the lamp.

Here's the view of the newly soldered pear from inside the lamp dome.  Its now black because I brushed black patina onto the solder.  After waiting a short time, I cleaned off the work area and then waxed and buffed it.

A single grape was missing from the opposite side of the lamp.  In every repair, I often need to make judgement calls about how much to repair and how much to modify.  My decisions are always made for the structure and longevity of the lamp itself.  As you can see below, there is a great deal of solder around each of these glass grapes.  If I tried to replace one of the grapes, I would need to melt out so much solder that the other grapes would loosen.  Therefore I opted to just melt out enough solder for a smooth line between that upper right hand grape and the white glass on the left.
To assure the stability of the lamp, I again replaced the wire that runs along the edge, on top of the copper foil which is then coated with solder.

Here I've cleaned the border and added new solder.  Then I patina-ed it and waxed it, as I did with the pear.

And here is the finished lamp!  It's now ready to create more memories.  Thank you Adela, for bringing this sentimental piece to me for repair.  It was a pleasure meeting you!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Adding Hooks to Stained Glass

I've been away from my blog while I recover from my double knee replacement only 8 weeks apart.  I've returned to my studio this week .. Great to be back!  There are several projects in the works .. Stay tuned.

To add hooks to a stained glass window or panel, be sure the hooks are strong enough to support the weight of the piece. You may use purchased hooks which are specifically designed for stained glass panels. Or you may make your own, as I've done here.
First cut off a short length of wire in an appropriate gauge. Then, holding the ends together, carefully and tightly wrap it around a pencil or acid brush (shown here) or other round object which will accommodate the chain to be attached later. (February 25, 2016)

 Next, "tin" the hooks by coating them with "flux" (available in liquid or paste .. Here I'm using liquid flux). Then coat the hooks lightly with solder. This solder acts as the glue which bonds it to the frame.

 Using fine steel wool, sand off the patina in the area where the hook(s) will be affixed.
 Flux that area and lay down a thick bead of solder as shown.
 Lay the hook onto the bead of solder using needle nose pliers. Then press on the "legs" of the hook with the hot soldering iron. After a short time, the hook will melt into the solder and become encased in it. Liquid solder is very slippery. You may need to keep a firm hold with the pliers and you may need to reposition it as the solder cools.


And here is the attached hook, covered with solder. Next, using Kwik-Clean Flux & Patina Cleaner, wash off the area. Then apply patina to match the frame. Then clean again, apply wax, and buff.
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Repair to Lamp Cap

I'm happy to back in the studio after having my left knee replaced about six weeks ago.  Its a long recovery process but I'm glad to be back working with my beloved stained glass again!

Here is a beautiful lamp which I repaired last night.  See below the process from start to finish .. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

This photo shows where the lamp disconnected from the cap.  Since the cap holds the weight of the entire glass dome, this is a very common place for a stained glass lamp to fail.

When the cap separated from the dome, so did the solder and foil from a few pieces of glass, two of which can be seen here.  (The left side of the greenish piece on the bottom left .. and the left side of the brightly lit piece in center right).

The view from inside the dome shows several light leaks caused by the foil separating.

 To begin the repairs, its necessary for me to remove three pieces of glass which have the most separation.  Here I'm pressing onto the solder to melt it out.

In order to ensure that the copper foil adheres well, its a good idea to file down the glass.  This lamp, and most others, were made with sharp glass, not ground.  Here I'm using a hand file to sand down the glass.

The view from inside the dome .. A section of foil and solder which I'm tugging off of the glass in preparation for replacement.

Now the piece has been removed.  I've also cleaned off the old solder and foil and leftover old adhesive.  Then I've applied self-adhesive copper foil (the roll shown).  Here I'm using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to burnish the foil evenly on each side of the glass.

Then I cleaned off all the old adhesive from the area and encircled it with fresh copper foil as shown.

I did the same process to three pieces which had disconnected from the solder.  When all three pieces were removed from the dome, I repaired the cap which had bent.  Once the cap was repaired, I carefully pressed on the dome to tuck all of the edges into the channel between the top and bottom of the cap.  Using blue painter's tape, I taped each of the three pieces into place, to ensure that they will be flush with the rest of the dome.  I also taped the cap in place.  (Two of the three replaced pieces are shown here).

I've applied liquid "flux" to the copper foil.  This chemical is a catalyst which allows the solder to flow freely.  Here I'm soldering the foil to fill in the gap between the pieces.

The view inside the dome.  Now, I've added a strip of copper foil to the interior of the cap, to secure it together.  Then I cut a 1-1/2" piece of flat, braided, reinforcement wire and extended it from the solder line so that it overlaps and is bonded to the cap in three places, as shown.  This serves to give the cap more strength and longevity.  There were two minor separations of the glass from the solder, so I covered them with copper foil which I then soldered. These pieces did not require replacement.  After the inside and outside of the dome were fully fluxed and soldered, I spray cleaned off the remaining chemicals with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Cleaner.

Here I'm brushing on black patina.  This chemical reacts instantly with the solder, turning it a rich black.  After it sets for a few minutes, I washed it off with Kwik-Clean.  Then I let it dry overnight and waxed the lamp, to protect the patina and give the glass a nice shine.

And here is a view of the completed, repaired lamp.

And, another view.  Thank you, Leroy, for entrusting your gorgeous lamp to me for repair.  May you enjoy its light for many years to come!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dog Portrait in Stained Glass .. Poodles

Creating pet portraits from photographs ..  It's my latest passion in stained glass. See below the design and creation of a portrait of two Standard Poodles, Fabian and Dante, and an adorable little Poodle mix, Spencer.  These beautiful dogs are owned by dear friends, Georgeann and Bob.

And here they are!  Dante and Fabian are sibling purebreds and little Spencer is a rescue of indeterminate origin.  I shot this photograph for the family Christmas card, and modified it for the panel.

Here is my original computer rendition.  It's 15" square.

Tracing the markings from the original "cartoon" pattern onto the working pattern below.

The pattern "sandwich".  A layer of file folders covered with a layer of carbon paper with the "cartoon" on top.  They are push-pinned onto my work surface to prevent shifting as I trace.  Behind the pattern is the glass I've selected for the project.

Here are the specialized stained glass pattern shears.  They cut a thin channel between each piece to allow room for the adhesive copper foil which will follow later.

After I cut out the pieces, I group them by glass color, and set them aside in recycled junk-mail envelopes.

The patterns are then traced onto the glass.

This design has a lot of intricate pieces which I elected to cut on my electric ring saw, as shown.  Its a wet saw, meaning that water flows onto the glass to prevent the saw from overheating.

For straight cuts such as these, I score the cut with a pistol grip glass cutter, then I snap it with these blue "running pliers."

Here I'm chunking out a small arc using "groziers".

Each piece of glass has to have the edges grinded.  The ring saw will do this in one step.  Here I'm doing a touch-up with my grinder.  I'm wearing leather fingered gloves to guard against cuts.

The glass jigsaw puzzle is coming along .. I generally cut all of one color glass at a time.

Applying lip balm to the markings.  This prevents the ring saw from washing them off as I cut.

I try to make good use of every bit of glass.  Here I fit together five patterns onto a small space.

Now the dogs are cut and I'm about to cut the background.  Notice that the border is trapped in a "jig" or "fence".  This is on to assure that the glass doesn't shift while I work.  Also note the photo in the upper right which I use as my guide.

Etching my name and the date onto the glass.  For pet portraits, I also engrave the pets' names onto the window.

All the glass is now cut, including the background.  Now I'm applying 7/32" adhesive copper foil.  There are three types of foil, regular copper, black back and silver back.  This refers to the inside color of the foil, which can be visible from the outside of the glass, depending on its opacity.
For this panel, I decided to use black foil on the wispy and clear glass background.  I used copper back foil for the amber poodles, and silver back foil for the little white guy. 

Here are the pups' eyes which I will paint later to add realism.  Each one is wrapped in black back copper foil.

A little tip for fast-burnishing small pieces is to pop them into a small container, such as this 35mm film container.  Then just shake them for several seconds.  They will bump up against each other and voila! Burnished dogs' eyes.

The more conventional means of burnishing the copper foil is to use a "fid" or flat plastic wand, as shown.  The copper foil is pressed evenly onto the sides and edges of each piece of glass.

As the foiling process continues, there are invariably some pieces which must be trimmed slightly for a good fit.  Here's a piece of the background which I've marked with a series of small dots where I will grind down for a better fit.

Now all of the glass has been properly fitted and foiled.

Here I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foil, which is a catalyst to help the solder flow evenly.

This process is called "tack soldering".  I'm adding small dots of solder at the intersections of the glass pieces and randomly on longer lines.  This serves to lock the pieces together.

Now that the pieces are bonded, I removed the "jig" and slid out the paper "cartoon" to protect it from the chemicals which follow.

Here the front of the panel is completely soldered.

At this point, I hand the panel over to my husband Eric who custom-cuts a zinc metal frame.  Here he turned the piece over and push-pinned the frame in place.  Then I soldered the back (shown here), being sure to solder all the corners and also all the lead lines to the frame, for stability and strength.
At this point, I took a step back and painted the eyes with black permanent paint to represent the irises.  Then I added a dot of permanent white to bring out that spark of life which makes the glass portrait realistic.

After the frame is in place and both sides are soldered, I clean the entire panel.  Then I apply Novacan Black Patina with a metal acid brush, as shown.

I let the patina set for a few minutes, then I wash the excess off.  After it air dries, I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound to both sides and the frame.  This is a light wax which buffs to a nice shine and protects the patina.

And here's the finished window!

Here's the trio of images .. The original photograph, my computer rendition, and the finished panel.

Here are the boys, gracing the dining room window.  It was a real pleasure creating this for you, George and Bob.  Your reaction at seeing it was priceless!
Please contact me if you'd like to see your dog, cat or other pet rendered in stained glass.  Remember, we also work long distance.  These panels can be safely packed and shipped to your door.

I have two more pet dog portraits in the works .. One is in the design stage and another will follow after that.  But first, I'll be getting my knee replaced.  Back soon!

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.