Monday, July 15, 2013

Oval window with Bevels and Gems - Glass cutting

After the pattern was cut, each piece of glass is then scored, cut, trimmed when needed, ground on the glass grinder, and placed onto the pattern.  Here is the process .. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Starting with the outer border, I've traced the patterns onto a piece of rough rolled medium amber glass.  These pieces may also be cut one at a time so that less glass is used.  Note that each piece is numbered with a Sharpie pen and is placed on the smooth side of the glass, face down. The opposite side is textured rough rolled.  Cuts should always be made on the smooth, non-textured side.

Below, I'm scoring the glass with an oil-filled pistol grip cutter.

 The oil works its way into the score.  By tapping on the glass repeatedly with the brass end of the cutter, the glass "loosens".

Below I'm using "running pliers" to lightly press down on each side of the score to enable the glass to split as shown.

"Grozier pliers" are used to nip off small bits of glass.  Its better to use these pliers to tweak the glass rather than wear down an expensive grinding bit.

Wearing rubber finger tips from Staples, I'm grinding the edges of the glass.
 Below, a piece of cut border glass and three patterns.  Throughout the cutting process, its necessary to keep the work surface clear of glass debris. If even a small shard of glass is caught beneath the glass to be cut, it can snap.  Sweep the work surface often with a small brush and pan as shown.
 Each piece of cut glass is then rinsed off.  Try to keep the number on the glass.  In cases such as this where there are many similarly-shaped pieces, its a huge help when placing the cut pieces back onto the pattern.
 Here's a demonstration of how to cut curves.  One way is to score a curve as shown.  Glass will be more "obedient" if you give it less opportunity to "break badly." Cutting a large curve in one chuck is an invitation for wasting glass.
 The initial scored pieces are removed.  Now I'm working on the other side of the curve.  The smaller the chunks, the less chance of a "bad break."
 Using grozier pliers to snap off the pieces.
 And now the border is complete.  Notice that I've ringed the oval with push pins.  I've got two pins on the ends of each piece of glass. These pins will ensure that the oval stays static and will not shift as the pieces of glass are laid onto the pattern. 
 Now onto the clear glue chip textured glass. Same as with the rough rolled amber glass, I'm placing the pattern pieces face down on the smooth side of the glass.
 Below I'm leaning the cutter on a ruler to get a straight cut.  (I'd be pressing down lightly on the ruler at this point if I weren't holding the camera.)
 Again, tapping on the glass to "loosen" it.
 Snapping the curve with running pliers.
 Cutting out a curve with groziers.
 Grinding the edges.
 I recommend using this product in the water reservoir beneath the grinder surface.  Its EZ-Grind Advanced Formula Coolant. It makes the water "wetter" and keeps the grinding wheel readily moistened.
 A note about the bevels. Beautiful as these are, the clear centers were too transparent to comfortably used in this oval, which will be installed in a bathroom which overlooks a patio.  We did not want to compromise on privacy or the design.  With my customer's OK, I arranged to have the bevels sandblasted, front and back, as shown below.  The bevels are now white which will work very well with the decor of the room. For those in North Jersey in search of a great sand blaster, please see Peter at Armour Air on Industrial Avenue in Fairview. He's got 30 years of experience and is a joy to work with!
Whenever bevels are introduced into a project, they "rule" the fitting process because they cannot be trimmed.  Since I anticipated that some adjustments may be needed, I did not cut the small inner pieces of glue chip until all of the glass around the outer edges had been cut.  Below, I've laid down a piece of manila folder to trace new pieces for the glue chip to be cut for the interior of the bevels.

 Here are the pieces and the glass, traced and ready for cutting, grinding and rinsing.
 And here's a view of the oval with all the glass cut.  The darker bevels will be a gorgeous purple when the oval is lifted from the work surface with the light shining through. 
 Another view of the window showing some of the glass textures.  This oval is a combination of rough rolled amber, frosted glue chip, flat bevels, and sparkly round gems.
 The next step will follow shortly, applying copper foil to each of the pieces.  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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