Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oval window with Bevels and Gems - Copper Foiling

This posting will show the copper foiling process.  This is begun only after each piece of glass fits comfortably within the confines of the push pins on the outer border of the pattern.  There should be a small amount of "wiggle room" between pieces to allow for the foil.  If the pieces fit too tightly, they can crack during the soldering process.  Also, I will be inserting braided wire reinforcement randomly throughout the window, so allowance needs to be made for that as well.  Here's the process .. Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look.

I'm using 7/32" black back copper foil for this project.  I chose 7/32" because its a nice, wide foil which will give strength to the project.  I chose black back because all of the glass used in this window is "cathedral" or clear glass.  As you can see from the photo below, the inside of the foil shows through the amber colored glass.  After the window has been soldered and black patina is applied, the interior of the copper foil will, in effect, be invisible.

It takes a certain amount of dexterity to apply the foil.  I'm using my left hand here while I take the photo, but you can see, hopefully, that the side of the glass is placed dead center to the foil.  This allows for an equal amount of foil to be wrapped around each side.

Here I'm pressing down on the foil to attach it to the sides of the glass.  Prior to this step, I pressed the foil into the edges of the glass using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand as shown in the next photo.

Using a "fid" to press the foil onto the sides of the glass.  Notice that I do not foil the outer border of the glass.  This is the side which will end up underneath the lead u-came that will be used to frame the piece.  Since this side will be hidden and not soldered to anything, there is no need to foil it.  Not having foil on that edge also makes it easier to install the u-came. 

The amber rough rolled glass is all foiled.  Now I'm moving onto the glue chip using the same process.  Notice again that the black interior of the foil shows through the glass.

Again, pressing the foil down onto the glass, followed by using a "fid" to adhere everything well.

I sign each of my custom pieces with a Dremel tool.  Below I've etched my name, the month and the year.  After installation, my signature is barely visible.

This is the braided wire reinforcement that I use for all larger stained glass pieces.  As they say, it "adds astonishing strength to any glass project."  Its easy to use, fits well between copper-foiled glass pieces and is in fact, undetectable after the piece has been soldered.

 Shown below are two lengths of braided reinforcement snaked along random pieces within the window.  I stuff in any stray ends with a sharp object.

And here is the window, copper foiled and reinforced with braided wire and ready for fluxing and soldering.
Just a few more steps to go!  Stay tuned ...

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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