Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art Deco smaller windows completed

As soon as the 290-piece Art Deco was completed (see posts below), I started working on the 8 smaller windows which we will install above it.  The smaller windows are 8" square and will be clear waterglass and sky blue rough rolled glass, both of which are used in the main window.  Here again is my customer's window.
And here's the computer-generated preview I prepared:
Here is the glass, below, which I cut horizontally so that the texture of the waterglass moves from left to right.  On the upper left is a stack of the 4 plain clear waterglass windows.  Surrounding that are 4 clear waterglass quadrants with the sky blue rough rolled diamonds for the upper windows, along with their manila folder patterns. (Click on any photo to enlarge).
After I ground the edges of each piece, I washed and rinsed them off. Then I applied 7/32 black back copper foil as seen below. The self-adhesive foil is applied dead-center to the side of each piece of glass, then pressed into place with a fid, or flat plastic wand-like tool, also shown below.

After I foiled each of the windows, I put them in an individual jig to make sure they stayed square during the soldering process.  Below, the first two windows are soldered and the second two are just foiled.  (Click on image to zoom in).
After soldering the fronts, backs, and edges of each of the 8 windows, I applied black patina, rinsed, and then waxed them.  Waxing protects the patina and brings up the shine in the glass.  (Not pictured are the four plain clear waterglass windows which will be installed below these).

Here is one of the four windows which have the sky blue diamond in the center.  The diamond is the same color and size as the ones in the larger window.  Now you can see the true beauty of the clear waterglass.  It will let in lots of light but will give privacy as well.

Depending on my customer's schedule, my husband Eric and I hope to do the installation this weekend.  These windows will be the crowning glory to their newly renovated bathroom.  The next post will show the installation, and the windows in their new home.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art Deco window completed

Just three weeks after I prepared the pattern, the 35" x 17", 290-piece Art Deco window is complete.  Here are the final steps ..

My husband Eric measured and cut 3/8" zinc "U" channel for each side.  (I appreciate all his experience working with aircraft sheet metal).  Note that Eric put the window back in the jig to make sure that the metal frame stays close against the glass while I soldered it onto the perimeter of the piece. Shown is the back of the window, where I soldered the lead lines directly to the frame to give the window strength and stability. (Click on any photo to enlarge).
Next, it was time to clean off the flux, solder beads, and markings.  Using powdered cleanser and an old dish brush, I gently brushed clean the entire window, both sides, putting half of one side in the sink at a time, and rinsed with clean water.  Then I allowed the window to dry completely.
Next, I applied black patina to the entire window, front and back, with a metal craft brush.  Simply paint the chemical directly onto all the lead lines, let it set and then rinse off with cool water and pat dry.  I used a specialized black patina for the zinc frame, same process. 
After the window is completely dry, I waxed it with a specialized stained glass finishing compound.  Its a carnauba wax, similar to what is used on cars, only lighter.

I signed the piece earlier in the process, before I completed the copper foiling.  Its in the bottom right and barely noticeable.  Here's my etching tool, signature and date which goes on all my windows.

And here it is! (Click on image to enlarge)
This window was a joy to create!  I look forward to having my customer see it for the first time "in person".  But first I'll be creating 8 smaller windows for him, which will be installed above this one.  (Notice how close the computer rendition is to the completed window!).
The smaller windows will be created using clear waterglass and sky blue rough rolled glass diamonds, the same as was used in the just-completed window.  I'll be back soon to show these in progress.

Stained glass windows make beautiful, personal gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas.  Give me a call, 201-600-1616 or send an email .. We do windows long distance, too.  Thanks! 

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Art Deco window soldered

Well, I was going to wait until the "big reveal" but here's a sneak preview.  I tack soldered the front of the Art Deco window. This means that I applied liquid flux (a soldering agent) to all of the copper foiled lines in the window.  Then I soldered the intersections where the pieces meet each other, just enough that I was able to safely remove the jig, or metal fence around the piece, without disturbing the placement of any of the pieces.
Tack soldered window. (Click to enlarge)
I then removed the thumb tacks from the jig, thus freeing the window.  Then I carefully slid out the paper pattern from underneath.

Next, I donned my Sperian P-100 Particulate Respirator for Lead and soldered the entire front of the window as shown below.  The window is filthy at this point, covered with stray markings, sticky clear flux, and small beads of solder.  The window is resting on the homasote which is tan, so it is showing through the clear glass. The gray border and the purple line design still appear dark. (Click on photo to enlarge).

Next, my husband will cut the zinc channel framing which I will securely solder at each corner. Then I'll carefully turn the window over, and solder the entire back and secure it to the zinc frame.  Then it will be ready for cleaning, drying, patina-ing, waxing, and unveiling .. Check back soon, its almost ready for its debut.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Art Deco stained glass window foiled

I was off on a photo shoot one day this week, but returned to complete the application of 3/16 inch adhesive copper foil to the center of the edge of each of the 290 pieces in this 35" x 17" window.  (Click on photo for a closer look).

I generally use 7/32 inch foil but because so many of the pieces in this window are small, and because I want maximum light to come through, I opted for the more narrow 3/16 size.  I'm happy with the results.

For reference, the widths of copper foil, from narrow to wide are: 5/32, 3/16, 13/64, 1/4, and 5/16.  Copper foil is available in copper backed (for use on opaque glass), black backed (for use on clear or cathedral glasses when the piece will have a black patina, as this one will), and silver backed (for use on clear or cathedral glass when the piece will not be patinaed).

With every stained glass window, no matter how carefully the pattern is prepared and the pieces cut, there will always be a few pieces that don't fit exactly as they should.  The copper foil is very thin but it does add something to the size of each piece.  Even that small amount can make the pieces fit too tightly.  So I trimmed and ground down a few pieces along the way.

Notice that all the pieces are still confined inside the metal fence or "jig".  They will be free of this early this week when I apply liquid flux to the foil and then tack solder all the pieces.  The next blog update will be "the big reveal", photos of the completed window off of the work bench and in the light.  Its going to be a beauty!

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art Deco window glass all cut

All of the 290 pieces of the 35" x 17" Art Deco window have now been cut.  At this stage, the window is in its "ugly duckling" phase.  Three main ingredients are still missing .. the copper foil, the solder and the most important ingredient, the light.  The colors will really pop once this panel is off the work bench and into the sun.  (Click on photo for closer look).

As for the true colors, the outer border is a medium gray, the dark-appearing line design is grape, a very rich purple.  The fans will appear a warm tan in the light, and those blue diamonds will really pop.  There are three different types of clear glass, all of which have a different texture.  It does require some imagination, but when seen in the light, it will closely resemble the computer generated preview as shown below, from the August 4th blog post.
Below is a side view of the fully cut window which shows some of the different textures of the glass. 

Notice that the window is still enclosed in the metal fence, or "jig" where it will remain until after it is tack soldered.  The next step is applying copper foil to each of the pieces of glass, one at a time, and then replacing each piece into the pattern.  As I do the copper foiling, I will often take time to trim or even re-cut pieces for a better fit.

My goal is always to create an esthetically pleasing stained glass window that is structurally sound and beautiful to see.  This one is well one its way .. Stay tuned ..

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art Deco stained glass cutting tips

Glass cutting for the Art Deco window is moving along well.  As of today, I've cut 240 pieces .. only 50 more to go.  I'll soon be posting a photo of the window with all the glass cut.  Before I do, though, I want to share a couple of glass cutting tips.

Cutting thin strips can be challenging.  If the score is not perfectly straight, or if you do not tap the glass enough times, or if the glass just decides to be weird, the strips will break exactly where you don't want them to.  Its very frustrating and it can be expensive.

The two nearest stained glass stores are each a one-hour drive, round trip.  Neither of them generally carry the exact glass I need for a particular project.  And since neither store has the inclination to say over the phone what they have in stock, they require an in-person visit. When I'm in the throes of a wonderful project, the last thing I want to do is leave my work and make a one-hour round trip, only to come home empty handed.

I use two wonderful online suppliers who are better stocked, but they both have minimums and a two- to three-day wait for delivery.  Neither option is good.  The best option is to buy enough glass, allow for breakage, and then do everything possible not to break what isn't supposed to break.

Quite by accident during the course of this window, I discovered a better way to cut strips without using running pliers. I successfully used this technique to cut most of the strips in the window.  I also cut a 15" x 2" strip with no issues.  Try it.

Working on a homasote board, lay the pattern piece on the glass and outline it with a Sharpie pen.  Pressing your pistol-grip cutter against a ruler and into the glass, score the straight lines.  Keep the scored glass flat on the homasote board.  Then, using the back (metal) end of the pistol grip cutter, lightly tap along the score lines, front and back, repeatedly.  You need to tap firmly, but loosely .. Let the glass know who's boss but give it some respect, too. Eventually, the pieces will split exactly at the score line. You'll know when you've hit the sweet spot. It will sound like a thud instead of a clink. 
After you've cut the pieces, of course you must grind them.  Since each piece of glass has its own individual number, its essential to keep each piece identified until it is placed in its own spot on the pattern.  When you wash the glass after grinding, considering using cold water instead of warm.  I found the markings are less likely to wash off.  If they do wash off, keep a Sharpie by the sink and re-mark each piece immediately.  Keep the pattern pieces nearby so you can immediately match them to what you are cutting.
Next post:  The Art Deco window with all glass cut.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Art Deco sky blue diamonds cut

Just a quick update.  The grape and sky blue rough rolled glass has now been cut, as has much of the clear waterglass.  Rough rolled glass and waterglass give privacy, but they also let in a lot of light.  They are ideal choices for this bathroom window project.  Since the texture and true color of the glass cannot be seen until the window is off the work bench and in the light, here's a preview of what I've been cutting so far.
Clear water glass, some of which has been cut.  This glass will also be used for the 8 smaller windows which will be built next, above this one.
This is shown as a deep aqua rough rolled but it actually looks more like the sky blue that I've used for the diamonds in this window. 

This is grape rough rolled, (brighter than violet) used in the design around the border.  It shows very dark in the photo, almost black.
Here's the current progress showing all of the grape rough rolled cut, some of the clear waterglass cut, and all of the sky blue diamonds.  There are many more pieces still to cut, but its very satisfying watching it all come together.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Art Deco stained glass window pattern making

Its not the most exciting part of the process, but preparing the pattern is the most important.  Get this step right and everything after it will fit together well.  At this point, I've already re-designed and re-sized the design which was chosen by my customer.  Then I printed the pattern on multiple sheets and carefully taped them together, matching all seams exactly.  Then I traced the pattern onto taped-together, flattened manila folders using a ballpoint pen and carbon paper. (Click to enlarge any photograph).

I then cut the pattern out using special, double bladed shears which allow a small space between each piece of glass.  This is to allow room for the copper foil which will be applied later.

This window has 290 pieces of glass and will use several types and colors of glass.  Making sure that each individual pattern and glass piece has a unique number is essential.  Keeping pattern pieces organized is equally important.  After I cut each piece of the manila folder pattern, I placed them into envelopes labeled with the color and type of glass. As the glass pieces are cut, I put their individual pattern pieces into another envelope marked "cut", so that I can readily keep track.

Here's a look at the pattern pieces laying on top of the glass, during and after cutting.  I do them production-line style, cutting similar pieces at once.  Shown below is the grape rough rolled glass.  (I mark all darker colors with a silver Sharpie pen).  After each piece is cut, I grind the edges with a grinder.  (My most recent commission, an octagon window, shows this process in more detail).
Here are a few of the clear waterglass pieces, already ground and numbered in black, ready to be placed on the pattern.
Below are some of the pieces laying on the pattern.  Creating a stained glass window is very much like making a glass jigsaw puzzle. Notice that I've added a metal fence or "jig" closely around the perimeter of the pattern.  Its thumb-tacked onto the homasote board. This keeps all the glass within the confines of the pattern and assures that the window will remain "square" when it comes time for framing.  The jig will stay in place until the entire window is tack soldered later.
Here is the window as of this afternoon which shows most of the grape rough rolled and clear waterglass which has been cut.  (The clear is hard to see, click on photo to enlarge .. and not all the grape has been cut yet). I've cut approximately 80 of the 290 pieces of glass so far.  I will continue to cut glass for the next several days and will post another update when it is further along.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Art Deco stained glass window

The day after the installation of the Octagon window (see posts below), I started working on our next project, a 17" x 35" Art Deco window for a newly renovated bathroom.  This commission also includes the eight upper 8" square windows pictured here.  Notice the wood strip which runs perpendicular outside the lower window.  My proposed design takes that into consideration.
My customer already had a good vision for the completed project so during our first visit, we hit the ground running.  These were our starting points.  First, here is the inspiration window for the eight smaller windows.
The diamonds at the center of each top row are focal points.  To allow maximum light but also privacy, we decided to replicate this window using clear waterglass and a color from the main window below it.  Here is what we came up with.  (Bear in mind that clear glass will always show as gray in the computer rendition).

Found online, here is my customer's inspiration for the lower window, a lovely Art Deco panel which fits the character of his older home. 
Since the inspiration window is square, I modified the design to accommodate the oblong space of the window to be built.  I prepared two different designs.  Here is the chosen one.  Notice that I added a bar of gray down the middle to hide that wood strip seen in the earlier photograph.  Its a functional design element. (Click on image for a closer look).
The walls of the new bathroom are a bright blue, so I will cut the accent glass diamonds in sky blue rough rolled glass.  The diamonds in the upper windows will be the same glass and color so that the windows will tie together.

My customer preferred some purple in the design, so we changed the green in the original design to a grape rough rolled.  This color will complement nicely with the light amber opal glass in the fans. The window has a wide palette whereby the family can pick up any of these colors and change the bathroom wall color or linens to match.  (We always think long term when building windows).

I've completed the pattern and will start cutting glass today.  The next posting will show the pattern making process.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Octagonal window installation

The best part of creating these windows is "big reveal".  Even though she had been following the building process on this blog, my customer was pleasantly surprised to finally see her window "in person".

This 27" octagon, as mentioned in earlier posts, was not a true octagon because each of its eight sides ranged from 11" to 12-1/2" in length.  Making a template for this space was essential.  Our efforts paid off.  It fits well.

My husband Eric brought along the compound radial arm saw.  He cut most of the wood on-site, to assure accuracy.  We used primed quarter-round molding which we painted a satin white in advance, to match my customer's existing moldings.
As each piece was cut, Eric brought it inside to nail after drilling pilot holes. He puttied the spaces between the wood and touched up with white paint for a flawless look.
Here is the finished window installed in a wall which separates my customer's living room from her kitchen. (Click to enlarge).
Below is the view showing how the blue in the window picks up all the blues in her kitchen.  From the living room side, the window accents the blue in her sofa and accessories.   
This is an elegant, simple and timeless design which, as I like to say, "adds character and color" to her home.  Call me .. I'd love to build one for you. 201-600-1616.

Next project:  A 17" x 35" window with almost 300 pieces of glass, and eight smaller windows above it.  Another stunner.  The glass has been ordered and the pattern making process is underway.  Check back soon to see the design and watch it being built, start to finish.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.