Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Octagonal Clear Powder Room Window - Copper foiling

Now that all the glass is cut, grinded and set in place, the next step is to apply self-adhesive copper foil around the edge of each piece.  For this window, I've chosen 3/16" black-backed foil. I think this width will show off the design to best advantage and black back is the foil of choice when using black patina on clear glass, as this project does.
Below, I'm applying the copper foil to the mid-point of the side of a piece of glass.  It takes some dexterity to do this but it gets easier over time.

 Here's a side view of a foiled piece of glass showing that when you look 'inside" the clear glass, you can see the "inside" of the foil, which is black.  After the window is soldered and black patina is applied, the copper foil will all but disappear.
 Below, I'm using a stiff plastic wand or "fid" to press the foil firmly onto the glass on all sides.  This prevents any flux or solder from getting under the foil.  Notice the yellow razor knife.  If the copper foil overlaps and leaves an uneven border, I use that knife to carefully trim away the excess.
 The strength of any stained glass project is dependent upon its design.  This window contains several straight lines that go from one side of the piece to the other.  These are called "hinges" and normally are to be avoided.  I included them in this piece because #1, they are an integral part of the design, and #2, I knew I could overcome any weakness in the window.
One thing I've done is to insert "braided wire" into the potentially weak spots.  The braided wire fits nicely and invisibly in between the pieces and serves to strengthen the overall piece.  The second thing I will do is to add a light metal frame around the entire piece.  It will not overpower the design but will ensure that the window will stay strong and sturdy for many many years to come. 
 I sign each of my stained glass pieces with my name, month and year of construction.  Since I engrave this into the glass, it is barely visible once the piece is completed.  I'm showing it here on a black background but when its in the piece, it virtually disappears.
 And here is the window, below, with all the pieces copper foiled. 
 Here's another view of the window, copper foiled and ready for soldering.  You may notice that I avoid adding copper foil to the outside perimeter.  This is to make the addition of a thin metal frame easier.  I've adjusted the size of the pattern very slightly to allow for the addition of the frame, which I will show in another update.
 Stay tuned .. Its coming into the home stretch now.  The next update will feature the soldering and framing process.

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