Friday, November 1, 2013

Rug Design in Stained Glass - Soldered and Framed

This posting will cover the final steps in creating this beautiful window which I designed after a hand-hooked rug in the same room in which it will be installed.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Below, the front of the window has been completely tack soldered, meaning that each of the pieces of glass has been connected to each adjacent piece by a small amount of solder.  At this point, I've removed the "jig" or metal "fence" and I'm carefully sliding the "cartoon" or pattern out from under the window.  This is to protect the paper from the chemicals and sprays which will follow.

Here I'm wearing my breathing mask and fully soldering the front of the window using Avril 60/40 solder.

The front is fully soldered now and Eric is taking measurements for the metal "channel" or frame which he will cut to reinforce the border of the window.

This photo shows the metal channel in place with the corner soldered.  In order to assure that the frame stays firmly against the borders of the glass, Eric has replaced the "fence" and added some pushpins.

When we build a window, we always make it as strong as possible to give them a long life. Below, I've extended the solder lines onto the metal frame.

After the window is soldered and the frame is secured in place, the entire window is sprayed and wiped down with Kwik-Clean Flux Remover.

Then the window is allowed to dry and I apply Novacan Black Patina with a metal acid brush. This chemical instantly reacts with the solder, turning it a deep black.  This same product works on the zinc channel frame as well.  When its wiped off the frame, it adds an antique look.

Here's a look at the window, bathed in black patina.  After this has set for several minutes, I spray on more Kwik-Clean and clean off the remaining patina.

At this point, I turn the window on its back and fully solder that as well.  Then the reinforcing bars, or "rebar" is applied as shown.  Here Eric is measuring a length of "tinned" rebar to be attached to the back of the window.  "Tinned" means that the brass bar has been fluxed and coated with a thin layer of solder.

The rebar is then placed, thin side up, on top of the solder line that runs from side to side.  I use the soldering iron to heat the solder on both the rebar and the window's solder lines.  This melts the solder and bonds the rebar to the window.  In several spots along the rebar, I added more solder for extra security. 

Here is one of the two lengths of rebar which is installed on the back of the window.  Note that it is also firmly soldered to the frame.  The rebar serves to stiffen the entire window and minimize any bending which could crack the glass.
The next steps are to patina the entire back and frame, as done to the front.  Then Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound is applied and buffed.  This is a light carnauba wax which serves to protect the patina and give the glass a beautiful shine. 
Shown below on the right is the window before waxing.  The photo was taken in my studio against a white wall.  The image on the left is the original computer rendition, allowing for variances in color. Photos of the installed window will be posted soon!

Thanks so much, Karen, for the opportunity to create this window for you.  It was our pleasure and we hope you and your family will enjoy it this Thanksgiving, and for many Thanksgivings to come!

 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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