Friday, March 22, 2013

Octagonal Clear Powder Room Window - Pattern making

For this commission, I was asked to design an octagonal window to replace one that had been in my customer's powder room for about 20 years.  My challenge was to create an original design which would coordinate with their new front doors, which are located near this window.  Here are their front doors as seen from inside their home.  Its a beautiful Frank Lloyd-esque design. (Click on any photo to enlarge)
Here's the octagon window and my design.   I combined the key elements of the door by duplicating the arched rows up top and the straight lines at the bottom.  I also will use the exact same glass as in the doors, clear Spectrum Waterglass and clear Spectrum Granite as well as 4 bevels, one rectangular and three square as shown in the computer rendition.  (Note that the glass in the computer rendition below appears to be gray .. It is clear).
Below, I've created the "cartoon" or full size pattern.  I will be building the window directly on top of this pattern.  Using a printout of the design as a guide, I'm numbering each piece and then labeling each one "WG" for Waterglass or "GN" for Granite.
 Whenever bevels are used in a project, the pieces nearby usually need to be adjusted.  For example, when I sized this pattern, I made a rough guess as to what size bevels I would need when the pattern was enlarged to actual size.  The 7" x 1-1/2" bevel shown below was a bit shorter.   No problem.  I simply re-sketched the line below the bevel and adjusted the pattern accordingly.  I did the same with the three 1-1/2" square bevels at the bottom.

Octagons can sometimes present an issue if each side is not exactly the same length.  Click here to read about another octagon we created in August, 2011.  In this case, though, we were fortunate in that our customers allowed us to use their former window as a guide for size.  Here I'm tracing the outer edge. 
 Creating the pattern pieces is an easy task now that I know that the measurements are all good.  I use old manila folders laying edge to edge and taped with clear tape.  Then I put down a layer of carbon paper to cover the manila folders.  The "cartoon" or pattern goes on top of that, with several pushpins inserted into the work surface so that nothing shifts during the tracing process.
My work surface is Homasote, a readily available sound-proofing material readily available at any Loew's or Home Depot.  It can be easily cut to size and is ideal for working with glass.  It accepts pushpins, and is flame retardant.
Waterglass has a definite horizontal/vertical pattern, below.  Granite glass has a definite pattern as well, but it is not specifically vertical or horizontal.
Below is part of the pattern, ready to be cut.  Notice the vertical squiggly lines on the pieces marked "WG" for Waterglass.   This pattern calls for the Waterglass to be cut vertically, so the squiggly lines will serve as a reminder to me when I begin cutting the glass.  With all stained glass projects, its important to always note the direction of the overall pattern of the glass itself.  In nearly every case, it is a key element of the design.

The outer edge of the manila pattern is cut with regular scissors ..
 The inside pieces must be cut with "pattern shears for foil".  They are double-bladed scissors which cut out a small amount of manila folder as shown below.  This serves to accommodate the copper foil which will be added to the glass later.
 Below, all of the patterns have been cut, separated by glass type, "WG" or "GN", and placed into re-purposed junk mail return envelopes.
 Next, each side of the octagon receives a border, fence or "jig" which will hold all the cut glass in place until it has all been completely soldered. 
In the next post, I'll show the glass cutting process.  This one's going to be a beauty!  Stay tuned ...

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.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

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