Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photographing my Stained Glass Work for a Contractor

In April, I completed  a set of four stained glass kitchen cabinet panels for a home which had been destroyed in a fire.  Last week, the contractor hired me to photograph the entire home, exterior and interior.  Here are a few of my photos.

My stained glass windows .. Cabinet panels on each side of the copper range hood.  I custom-mixed the patina to a deep bronze to match the homeowners' cabinet hardware.

Below are my other two stained glass windows which are installed in a hutch cabinet on the back wall of the kitchen.

My stained glass windows in the hutch.
To see more photos from the shoot, please click here for Proof Positive Photography, my photo blog site.

If you are considering a green addition or renovation project, please contact GroundSwell Contracting, based in northern NJ.  Call Quentin Unsworth, (below) 201-855-6676. Please click here for their FaceBook page .. Or click here for their website.

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 15, 2014

Geometric Bathroom Windows

Recently, we were very happy to hear again from the couple who commissioned a pair of geometric stained glass windows for their downstairs bath in August, 2012.  Click here to see their first commission with Boehm Stained Glass Studio.
They are in the process of remodeling part of their home, including their upstairs bath, and that's where we come in again .. Another pair of double hung stained glass windows is part of the plan.  

Here are the windows.  They are also off the porch, as were the first windows we did.  Therefore, we needed to choose glass that would afford privacy.  We decided on a mix of glue chip, opalescent, rough rolled, 3/4" bevels, and 1-1/2" square bevels.

 Here's the inspiration .. Beautiful gray tile and glass pencil tiles that line the shower and walls of the new bathroom. 

I submitted two preliminary designs, and then my customer designed a third concept which incorporated aspects of windows she liked.  Part of the fun of custom work is being able to add elements from other sources to personalize the look!  Here's the computer rendition of her design of the two windows, top and bottom.  They are approximately 18" wide and 15" high.  (The gray-looking glass in the rendition is actually clear glue chip glass.)
 After my husband, Eric, took measurements of the windows, I made a paper "cartoon", shown below.  Then I laid down the 3/4" bevels along the sides and the 1-1/2" square bevels in the center.  These fixed-size bevels become the guide for the sizing and placement of all the glass which is to follow.

Since the design of these two windows are identical, I opted to prepare two separate sets of identical patterns.  I used different color manila folders, as shown below.  I did this to be sure that the correct pieces of cut glass were placed on the correct pattern.  When making patterns, I use regular carbon paper sandwiched between the "cartoon" and the manila folders. Then I trace the design and transfer all of the markings as well.  I used "regular" manila folders for the first window, and colored folders for the second.

 I cut each piece of the pattern with double-bladed stained glass pattern shears which allow for a small amount of space which will be taken up by copper foil later.  As pattern pieces are cut, I separate them into recycled envelopes by type of glass.

These windows called for many pieces of glass which needed to be 3/4" inch wide, to correspond with the 3/4" clear bevels.  In order to have consistency in the width, I opted to use my Beetle Bits Cutting System shown below.  I've had this system for a few years but had not tried it before.  As a newbie in need of more practice, my results weren't quite as promised.  It did prove to be a useful tool, though, which I will use on other projects which require cutting strips of the same size.

 Below are a few 3/4" strips made with the Beetle Bits Cutting System.

  Here are a few more cuts .. 1/2" borders made with Glue Chip glass.

Marked off below are three strips of gray opalescent glass, ready for snapping with the (blue) running pliers and then placement on the two patterns.  Notice the metal fence or "jig" which surrounds the border of the window.  This is in place to ensure that the piece of glass do not shift.

Pieces marked and being snapped with the blue "running pliers".  The next step is grinding the edges on the Glastar II grinder (below).

Grinding the edges of a clear piece of glue chip glass.  I usually wear "rubber fingers" for protection, but my leather-palmed gloves were nearby, so I wore them instead.

Here's a handful of rough rolled dark gray glass, ready for placement on the patterns.  I keep the number on the piece until it is placed on the "cartoon".

Below, I'm cleaning the tip of the soldering iron on a block of Sal Ammoniac.  The white smoke indicates that the carbon build-up on the iron is being burned off.  This process helps keep the tip clean and the iron hot.  Note that I am always safety conscious and was wearing a safety mask during this process.

Wearing my lead-protectant mask (seen here while working on another project).

Since working with stained glass involves handling lead, I also use "D-Lead Abrasive Hand Soap" after each work session.  Although it is abrasive, it is actually mild on the hands.

Back to the project .. After all the glass pieces have been cut, I apply black-backed Copper Foil to the edges of each piece of glass.  Then, using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand, I press the foil onto the glass as shown.  This prevents any liquids from getting under the foil.
For added strength, I randomly insert strips of "Re-Strip Copper Reinforcing Strip".  It fits between the foiled pieces of glass and becomes invisible after soldering.

Now, all of the glass and bevels have been foiled.  Notice that both of the windows are still enclosed in the metal "fence" or "jig".

The next step is the application of Canfield Technologies Blu-Glass liquid Flux.  This is an agent which allows for the soldering of the copper foil.  After I've applied flux to all of the copper foil, I add a dab of solder to each intersection of the pieces, to bond them together.  This process is called "tack soldering". Then I pull the push pins out and remove the "jig", and carefully slide the paper "cartoon" out from under the glass.

Now the fronts of both windows have been fully soldered and the "cartoon" has been slid out.  So now I'm cleaning the chemicals off using "Kwik-Clean Stained Glass Flux and Patina Remover".

Now my husband Eric measures and custom cuts a sturdy metal channel frame for each side of both windows.  Here he's using a Dremel cutter to make the angle for the corner.

Eric placing the frame on the edge of the window. 
After each frame is cut and placed on the edge, he replaces the "jig" against the frame to hold it in place while I solder the frame to the window.  I solder the corners first, then I solder each lead line to the frame for added strength.  After the fronts are soldered and cleaned, I carefully turn the windows over and solder and clean the backs.  The blue tape is marking the front and top of each window.
Below, I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder.  After the patina is allowed to set, I again use "Kwik-Clean" to spray the patina and clean it off.  After the windows are dry, I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Polish to the front and back of each window.  This is a light wax which protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.

And here are the finished windows!   Thank you for having us back, Nancy and Roy .. It was a pleasure working with you again!  All the best in your "new" home!

And one more .. The computer rendition is on the right .. Finished windows on the right.

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! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stained Glass Vintage 1955 Thunderbird Auto

My  husband Eric and I own a vintage car and we meet some fun people at weekly "cruise ins" and car shows. Our friend Paul has a gorgeous black and chrome 1955 Thunderbird.  I had the pleasure of creating it in stained glass for him.  Here's the process ..

Below is a (slightly out of focus) photo of the 1955 Thunderbird.  My computer rendition design of the car is beneath it. Its 23" wide by 10" high.
Here I'm starting the process by making the pattern.  I've placed the "cartoon" or full size paper design on top of carbon paper which is laid on top of manila folders which have been taped together, edge to edge.  Then I trace all the markings including the numbers and colors for each piece of glass.

The outer border of the pattern is cut using regular scissors.  The pattern pieces are cut with stained glass pattern shears.  These are double-bladed scissors which cut a small area between the pieces.  This will be taken up by the copper foil which will be applied later.  After all of the pattern pieces have been cut, I organize them by color into separate recycled envelopes.  I cut all of the same color at once and place them onto the cartoon after each piece has been ground and rinsed off.

Although I do most of my glass cutting by hand, some pieces have sharp angles or curves which must be cut by my Gryphon Omni saw.  Here, I've marked black glass pieces for cutting by using a silver Sharpie.  The saw is a wet saw .. It drips water onto the glass to keep the saw blade cool.  I coat each of the Sharpie lines with lip balm to prevent them from washing off during the cutting process.  

Below, I'm back at the saw, cutting the curves in the sky glass.

An amazing cut by the Omni saw, not possible to do by hand.

 The chrome on this car is especially beautiful so I wanted to capture that by using Silver Coats glass.  It is a mirror glass with a waterglass texture.  Its highly reflective and looks just like chrome.
This glass requires some special care to ensure that the blue mirror finish on the back does not flake off over time.  Below, I'm coating the backs of each Silver Coat piece with clear nail enamel.  If any scratches appear, a good tip is to use a silver Sharpie pen to cover the scratch and re-coat with the clear enamel.

 Now all of the glass has been cut.  Notice the metal border around the panel.  This is a "fence" or "jig" which prevents the glass from shifting. The shiny chrome brightens up the panel and shows up this important feature of this classic car.

Here I'm applying 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the center of the edge of each of the 93 pieces of glass in the panel.  The copper foil is pressed onto the glass, on all sides, using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand.  This is to prevent any chemicals or cleaning agents from getting under the foil.

After the foiling is complete, I use a metal acid brush to apply Blu-Glass Liquid Flux to all the copper foil lines as shown.

Next, I "tack-solder" the pieces together.  I affix a dot of solder to the intersections of the glass and random places to assure that when I remove the jig, the pieces stay together in place without shifting. In between some of the pieces, I also add some braided reinforcement wire to strengthen the panel.
 I sign each of my custom designs.  Here I'm using an (upside down) Dremel Tool to engrave my name, the month, and the year, into the lower right hand piece.  After I rinse off the black guide lines, the signature is barely visible.

Now that the panel has been signed and tack-soldered, I remove the jig and slide out the paper pattern.  This will protect it from the chemicals which follow.

Now I've soldered the entire front of the panel.

My husband Eric custom cut a metal frame for the piece.  Then he put the jig back on so that I can solder the frame to the panel. After I've soldered the frame, I remove the jig, turn the panel over and solder the back.

With the frame soldered to the piece, I'm now adding two hanging hooks to the top corners.  I do this by "tinning" the hook, which means I flux it and add solder to the entire surface, front and back.  Then I add a bit of solder below the corner where the hook will be affixed.  By pressing the hot soldering iron onto the hook, the solder will eventually melt and I can place the hook in the proper position.  I use needle nose pliers to position the hook while the solder is melting.

Next, I apply Novacan Black Patina to the solder lines.  It reacts instantly with the solder.

Each step requires a thorough cleaning.  Here I'm spraying Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Remover onto the back of the panel.  Then I wipe the piece down with a towel.

The panel is now almost complete.

I coat each panel with Liva Stained Glass Polish.  Its a light wax which protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  No further maintenance will be needed for the panel other than a light dusting now and then.

Below are three photos of the finished 1955 Thunderbird, photographed in different lighting conditions. I'm very pleased with the final results.

This was such a fun project, Paul .. Thanks so much for the opportunity! See you soon at the next cruise-in!

Do you own a classic car? Please contact me if you'd like to see it rendered in stained glass!

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!