Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fairy Sun Catcher Repair

This beautiful fairy sun catcher was purchased in Florida years ago by her owner.  It holds special memories of her time there.  The fairy fell from a sliding glass door and several pieces cracked.  Here is the process to repair her .. (Click on any photo to enlarge) ..

Below is the "before" photo.  The fairy is missing part of her thigh, her hand and foot, and there are cracks in the hair glass and in one of the clear areas at the lower wing.

 Since this piece is so small, it was a better choice to replace just the hand rather than the whole arm.  Here I've made a tissue paper pattern for the upper thigh and hand.
 I had only a small quantity of glass on hand to match the existing "flesh" colors, so I opted to use my electric Omni Gryphon wire saw.  Even though I prefer to hand cut the glass, the machine gives a higher probability of a good cut and with far less chance of a "bad break". 
 The wire saw grinds as it cuts but below, I'm cleaning off a rough edge by using my Glastar grinder.  As always, I'm wearing rubber fingers from Staples.
 Now that the pieces for the thigh and hand have been cut and copper foiled, I'm soldering them to the rest of the piece with a narrow width soldering iron and 60/40 solder.
 The clear piece below had a crack in it, so I used the pistol grip glass cutter to cross-hatch the piece.  Then I broke it out using the brass end of the cutter, as shown below.
 Here the cracked clear piece has been removed.  In order to preserve the angle of the leg before I removed those pieces, I put down a piece of manila folder and traced its outline.
 Since I've recorded its orientation, I can now comfortably remove that portion of the piece.
 Returning to the cracked piece of clear glass, I'm applying silver-backed copper foil to the outer edge of the replacement piece.  I'm using silver backed because the solder is silver (not patina-ed).  Since you can see through the clear glass, the silver will show, not a copper color as on "regular" copper foil.
 Below, the clear piece has been soldered in place.  I've also removed a cracked piece from the hair.  The black marks shown on the replacement piece are a guide as to where I need to further grind the piece to fit the opening.  As good as any pattern is, small adjustments often need to be made for a good fit.
 Below, the hair has been replaced, as have the clear piece and the leg.  Instead of re-creating the existing leg which was in 3 pieces, I decided to create the leg in one piece.  It will be less likely to crack in the future and it also serves as a stronger base for the piece.
After the piece was finished, I cleaned it and applied Stained Glass Finishing Compound to protect the solder and give the glass a nice shiny.  Here's the finished fairy, hanging in the light and ready to go back to her home.
Thanks very much, Sue, for bringing her to me.  May she give you many more good memories in the years to come!

Next .. I have two potential commissions I'm working toward, and another lamp arrived today for repair.  I'll be back soon!

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!

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