Thursday, November 29, 2012

Geometric beveled stained glass window - Done!

I had some issues with a photo media card so this posting is delayed, but I actually finished the window several days ago.  Here are the steps to finish this beauty!  (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look). 
In the last post, the entire window had been copper foiled.  Below I'm brushing liquid flux onto the copper foil to prepare it for soldering.  Don't brush on too much flux or the solder will sputter and bubble.  Also, use care that this caustic chemical does not get on your hands.
Here I'm doing what's called "tack soldering".  I'm applying a bead of solder just to the joints and in random spots along longer lines. Notice that the metal fence or "jig" is in place to make sure the glass does not shift, an essential precaution.
Below, the front has been tack soldered and I've removed the jig.  Here I'm sliding out the "cartoon" or pattern from under the window.
Here I'm soldering the front of the window while wearing a lead-protecting breathing mask.
This is the brand I use, a Sperian P100 Respirator for Lead Removal, a specialized mask which can be found in many hardware stores.  They're about $15 each.  For safety, always wear one when working with solder which contains lead in any amount.  I use 60/40 solder, lead/tin.
After the window has been completely soldered on the front, carefully turn it over, brush on the flux, and solder the back.  Here it is at this point ..

The window is not sturdy enough to bring to the sink for a full wash, so, using a damp towel, I clean off as much flux as possible.  Below, my husband Eric has custom-cut a heavy metal channel frame for the window, which has mitered corners.  He put the fence back on to hold the frame in place for soldering.
I've soldered each of the corners on the front of the piece.  For more strength, I solder the lead lines to the frame but only on the back of the piece, where it can't be seen.  It makes for a nicer look to the front of the window.
Here I'm washing the window in the sink, using powdered cleanser and an old dish brush.  I'm wearing rubber gloves to protect my hands from any leftover flux and to keep a firm grip on the window.
After the window is completely dry, its time for patina.  This window will have bronze patina which is not available .. It has to be custom-mixed.  Below are the products I use, Novacan brand "Black" and "Copper Black" liquid patina.  I mix both together by the capful into a glass bowl.  To get a bronze color, you'll have to experiment.  I use approximately a 1:3 ratio of black to copper.  Use test strips to get the desired color.  Cut small pieces of copper foil, stick them onto a small piece of glass, tin them and try the mix.  Keep going until you find a good "recipe".
When using a mixed patina such as this, I start brushing it on on the back of the piece first to get another look at it, then I patina the front of the window.  The metal frame, which is zinc, won't accept the patina as "bronze" but will appear black instead.  This is an acceptable variation which will not interfere with the beauty of the finished window.
After the patina has been brushed on, I bring the window back to the sink for a quick rinse with cold water and a light brushing.  When the window is completely dry, I waxed it using Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound. Below is the computer rendition ...
And here it is!  The big reveal!  My customer hasn't seen it "live and in person" so I look forward to her reaction to seeing her vision come to life.  It was a pleasure collaborating with her to decide the design and the color scheme and choice of glass.  Another fun project!  Thank you Jessica!  Merry Christmas to you and Steven!

So happy to receive this lovely note ..
What can I say but thank you!  The stained glass was a tremendous surprise for my husband this Christmas.  He had often commented how he wanted a stained class window but had never made the effort to find one.  He was was completely confused when he tore off the wrapping paper to reveal the wooden box that Eric so creatively designed.  Once Steven opened the box and it registered what treasure was inside, I could see his whole face change.  He had no idea what was waiting for him.  He immediately began to admire the stained glass and ask all kinds of questions about where it came from.  It was so fun to explain our secret meetings and emails designing the piece that was being created especially for him.  He was really touched and immediately said, "I want to meet her."  It was thrilling for me to have successfully surprised him with a unique one of a kind gift.  This was only possible due to your talent and willingness to create exactly what our space needed.  Now that the window is up, you couldn't imagine the space without it.  You really looked at the style of our home and our existing stained glass windows when you came for the consultation.  Your suggestions guided my choices and I couldn't be happier with the result.  The stained glass looks as if it were originally supposed to be there.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! 

There's still a little time left for me to make a Christmas gift for someone on your list .. Call soon and we'll make it happen!  201-600-1616. Please visit my website (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.  Thanks!

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