Thursday, August 20, 2015

Creating an Ornament from a Stained Glass Rondel

The previous post showed the design and creation of a small window inside a front door.  The original window had a small clear glass Star of David rondel at the center.  As a small token of thanks, I offered to make the rondel into an ornament for my customers.  Here are the steps ..

Here's the original leaded glass window.  I used needle-nose pliers to pull away the old lead came from the rondel as shown.  I then gave it it a good cleaning.

Then I added 7/32" copper foil to the outer edge.  On top of that, I laid some fine gauge wire and taped it in place.  To make the hanging hook, I looped the wire twice around the barrel of a metal acid brush.

Holding the rondel carefully, I added solder to the edge, trapping both lengths of wire on top of the  foil.  I added more at the base of the loop, for strength.

 After the soldering was smoothed out, I cleaned it thoroughly and let it dry.  Then I brushed on Novacan Black Patina as shown.  After the patina set, I washed it again, let it dry, and applied Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound to protect the patina and to shine up the glass.

And here it is, a short time later.  A re-purposed little gem to enjoy rather than discard.
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Custom Stained Glass Window for Door Insert

After two years with a broken front door window, my customers decided it was time to have a new one created.  We sat together and chose glass in textures and colors which complemented an existing nearby window as shown below:

I prepared three different designs and rendered them, in full color, in several combinations of the colors we decided upon.  The final choice is this one .. It uses Clear Granite glass, Mystic Purple, Turquoise and Blue opalescent glass, with a bevel cluster in the center. The bevels will catch and transmit light and loosely mimic the shape of the center of the nearby window.

When panels include bevels, they always go down onto the pattern first, since their size cannot be adjusted.

With the bevels in place, I trace them and the rest of the "cartoon" onto file folders taped side by side beneath carbon paper.  All markings and colors are transferred.

The border of the pattern is cut with regular scissors.  However, the pattern pieces are cut with specialized stained glass pattern shears as shown.  They cut a thin strip of paper between each piece.  This allows room for the copper foil which will follow.

I generally cut all of one color at the same time.  I started with the Mystic Purple glass for this project.  I've traced the square corner glass pieces as shown and am ready to trace the ovals around the bevels.

The glass is scored along the lines using an oil-filled pistol grip cutter (shown on the table).  After scoring straight lines, I use these blue "running pliers" to snap the score as shown.  For curves and smaller pieces of glass, I use metal "groziers".  (Not shown)

After several pieces of glass are cut, I grind the edges with an electric wet grinder. For this process, I wear either leather-palmed gardening gloves, or rubber fingers which are available at office supply stores.

With the purple cut, I'm moving onto the Clear Granite Glass.  Each piece is traced onto the glass as shown, then cut and grinded.  (The groziers are on the table, above the gloves).

Now I've cut all the glass and laid it in place on the pattern or "cartoon".  Notice that I've set up a "fence" or metal border around the panel.  This prevents the pieces from shifting.

Here I'm applying adhesive "black back" 7/32" copper foil to each piece of glass.  "Black back" foil is used when clear glass and black patina are used together.  Since the inside of the patina is black, it will effectively disappear after the solder is patina-ed.

Here I'm using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to press the copper foil onto the glass.  This prevents liquids from seeping under the foil and allows for neater soldering lines. If there are any overlapping areas, I trim them with a razor knife.

Note that the "fence" is still in place.  All of the pieces have been foiled. 

Here I'm brushing on liquid flux which is an agent that permits the solder to gather on top of the copper foil.

This next step is called "tack soldering".  I'm applying a small dot of solder to the intersections of each glass piece as shown.

Now that the panel is tack soldered, I've removed the "fence" and I'm sliding out the "cartoon" from beneath the panel.  This is to protect it from the chemicals and liquids which follow.

Now the front of the panel has been fully soldered.

Next, the front receives a thorough cleaning with Kwik-Clean spray.

Next, my husband Eric prepares a custom cut metal frame, with mitered edges.  The frame is then held in place with push pins.

Here I've soldered the lead lines to the frame, then I've removed the pins. With the frame in place, I'm now able to fully solder the back of the panel.
 Now that both sides of the panel are soldered, I'm applying Novacan black patina to the solder using a metal acid brush.  This blue chemical reacts instantly with the solder and the zinc frame.  I let both sides dry and then I clean the whole panel again with Kwik-Clean spray.

Once the patina has set and dried, I apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  This is a light wax which gives the glass a nice shine and adds a protective coating to the patina.

And here is the finished panel!  We hope to install it this week, at which time I will post photos of the installation. 
 Here are a few photos of the installation, completed tonight (August 19th) ..  Here's my husband Eric taping up the window to prepare it for silicone caulk. 

In this photo, taken from the inside of the window, the textures of the various glass can readily be seen.  Note the variation in color as well.  Lighting is everything.  Colored glass is very dynamic .. It looks differently in various lighting situations and at different times of year as well!

Here's the newly installed window with the light coming from the back.  This is a more "true to life" rendition which shows the colors under ideal conditions.  Another labor of love.

Thank you Carol and Mike for your hospitality and for giving us the chance to spruce up your front door.  It was a pleasure working with you! 
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinet Update

This 1970's kitchen cabinet panel was in need of an update, so this is where Boehm Stained Glass Studio stepped in.  Watch me work as I go through the process of preparing a modern yet ageless, all-clear glass replacement.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Here's the single original cabinet door, with a floral motif.

And here a view from the inside the door.

My customer wanted an updated look without color but with enough opacity so that the spices behind the glass could not easily be seen.  I presented three different designs in different color combinations including clear.  We decided upon using a Spectrum Crystal Ice glass, which is a clear yet highly textured glass, along with dual center diamonds and border accents of clear frosted glass. 

Here is the computer rendition of the winning panel design:

Here are the specialized shears which cut a small channel between the pattern pieces.  This allows for the copper foil which will follow.

Here I'm pressing an oil-filled pistol grip cutter along the edge of a flat ruler to score the glass.  Once its scored, I tap firmly on the glass on both sides.  After a minute or so, the glass will crack in a straight line.

To conserve glass and to save time, I've traced several pieces of the frosted border, side by side.

As each piece is cut, I bring it to the grinder.  The edges of the each piece of glass must be ground to make it safe to handle and for the proper adhesion of the copper foil.

This is an older cabinet and it was not completely symmetrical, as my husband discovered when he did the measurements.  Rather than work off of the computer pattern, then, I decided to work directly from the tracing he did of the cabinet.
Here is the glass, all cut and laying on the pattern.  Notice the metal fence around the glass.  This is to keep it in place while I work.

Applying copper foil to the center of the edge of each piece of glass.  Here I'm using black backed 7/32" foil.

I use a flexible plastic wand or "fid" to press the foil onto the glass as shown.

Now the panel has been completely foiled.  It is still locked into the fence.

Then I apply liquid flux onto the copper foil directly from the bottle cap.  I discard the remains of the cap rather than risk contaminating the entire container.

The next step is "tack soldering" whereby I add a small dot of solder to the intersections of the glass.  This locks the pieces in place so I can remove the fence.

I've removed the fence and I'm sliding the pattern out from under the panel.  This will protect it from the chemicals and cleaning process which will follow.

I've fully foiled the front of the panel and now I'm spray cleaning off the flux and excess solder with "Kwik-Clean".

After a thorough cleaning, I custom cut and snapped on a thin metal frame around the entire piece. This will give the panel strength and stability.  It will also enable the homeowner to remove it if she moves, and make a window hanging from it.  When the frame has been placed onto the panel, I put the fence back around it.  Then I can solder the frame onto the lead lines and add foil and solder around the corners as shown,

The panel is now out of the fence and I'm applying black liquid patina to the solder, again from the bottle cap.  After letting the solder set for a while, I use the Kwik-Clean Spray to wash off the excess.  At this point, I've also soldered and patina-ed the reverse side of the panel.  After the patina is cleaned off, I dry it thoroughly and add a coat of thin wax.  The wax brightens the glass and protects the patina.

And here is the finished panel!  I'm looking forward to installing it, hopefully this week!  Thank you Darlene, for entrusting your panel replacement with us.  It was a pleasure creating this for you~!
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Amber and Glue Chip Glass Lamp Repair

This pretty 30 year old lamp came to me with a few cracks which I repaired.  See the process below and click on any image to enlarge.

The clear double Glue Chip is cracked in a "V" as shown, and the amber glass also sustained damage.

Another view of the cracks, from the inside of the dome.

Here I've used a pistol grip glass cutter to score and crack out the entire amber piece.  Here I'm using a metal file to grind the edges of the adjacent glass.  This helps the copper foil to adhere more firmly.  Many lamps of this era contain glass which has not been ground.  

Now I've traced the opening onto a piece of a recycled file folder. Notice the splint over the heart-shaped brown piece.  This piece also sustained a crack, but we opted to leave it in place since an exact match for this piece was not available.  It will receive a coating of strong, clear epoxy on the back when the repairs are completed.

 Tracing the pattern onto the glass with a Sharpie.  For a perfect fit, the glass is cut on the inside of the line.
As for the adhesive copper foil, 7/32" is the most commonly used width.  Instead, I've chosen to use 13/64" which is narrower and better suited as a match for the existing foil.  The "fid", or flexible plastic wand, is used to press the foil onto the glass.

 Now the border and the replacement amber glass have been foiled.  I taped the back to make sure that the replacement in soldered flush to the rest of the lamp.  I'm applying liquid flux with a metal acid brush.  I take the flux from the bottle cap to prevent contaminating the contents of the bottle.  The excess from the cap is discarded.

Now the amber piece has been replaced and I'm moving onto the double glue chip. With textured glass, it is the artist's choice whether to have the texture facing in or out.  In this case, the double glue chip glass is facing in, so I followed suit.
Here I'm scoring the piece with the pistol grip cutter.  Then I'll tap firmly on the piece with the metal end of the cutter.  This will cause the glass to shatter so that I can remove it.  I'm wearing safety glasses throughout this process.

Most of the glass will crack out on its own.  Here I'm removing more shards using needle nose pliers.

With any repair, the borders must be cleaned of all old solder, foil and adhesive.  Here I'm tugging off the old foil and solder with the needle nose pliers.  The upper foil and solder was not so easily removed, so I melted it off using the hot soldering iron.  After the old elements are removed, I clean the borders using either Goo Gone and/or a household spray cleaner.

Now the borders are cleaned and I've applied copper foil.  I've also cut a file folder template and laid it in place to assure a good fit. I've also marked which side of the glass faces which way.
 The blue tape is showing through the clear double glue chip.  Its been soldered in place on both the inside and the outside of the dome.

Applying liquid black patina to the solder with a metal acid brush. After applying the patina, I spray-wash the lamp and apply and buff a coat of stained glass finishing compound which is a light wax.  The wax protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.
 And here's the finished lamp, as seen from above.

 Another view.  Thank you, Gary, for the opportunity to put your lamp back in service.  Its a beauty!

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!