Friday, August 30, 2013

Panel with Bevel Clusters and Blue Gems - Pattern and Glass Cutting

My current project is a custom window being created for an opening in the wall between a newly renovated powder room and the kitchen.  My customer and I started discussing this project a few months ago, before the space was even ready, so its a pleasure to finally be working on it.  The panel 29" x 15" and features clear Artique glass, two beautiful bevel clusters, a border of clear rectangular bevels and complimentary pops of blue glass.  Here's the progress so far:  (Click on any photo to enlarge)

Here's the space for the panel, looking from the kitchen into the powder room.


Though not a great rendition, here's a color representation of the finished window.  Clear glass shows as gray, so the glass around the two center bevel clusters will be clear Artique.  Its a gorgeous antique-looking glass, very appropriate for this older home.  I've replaced the original clear circular bevels in the clusters with blue gems, and added 1" squares of medium blue rough rolled glass to the corners as a compliment.  The panel will be bordered by 1", 3" and 8" long clear bevels.

The pattern making process begins by laying manila folders side by side, taping them together and then adding a layer of carbon paper on top.  Next, the paper design is pinned to the layers and the design is traced onto the folders.

Below I've pinned the paper design onto the Homasote work surface.  I've begun taking exact measurements.  Whenever bevels are part of a design, they must take first consideration since they can't be cut or re-sized as glass can.  Inevitably, due to the variances in proportions in a computer-rendered paper design which includes bevels, much of the pattern needs to be re-drawn as I'm doing below.

At this point, the bevels have been traced, several lines re-drawn, and now I'm numbering each piece.

Here's a view of the "pattern sandwich".  

Another view of the upper layer on which I'll build the panel.

The outside edge of the manila pattern is cut with standard scissors.  The pieces themselves, though, need to be cut with specially designed stained glass shears which are double-bladed and cut out a small piece (as shown) to allow for the application of copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.The glass has to fit snugly, but not tightly, and this small space allows for this.

Since the Artique glass has a light texture, I'm tracing the pattern onto the glass face down so that I can cut the glass on the smooth side.

To conserve glass, I'm cutting some of the pieces with an Gryphon Omni Wire Saw.  Its loud and a bit intimidating, but its very accurate.

The Omni saw cuts and grinds at the same time.  For pieces that I'm cutting by hand, though, I need to grind the edges with my Glastar Grinder as shown.  I'm wearing Staples rubber fingers to project my fingers from cuts and to allow for a better grip on the wet glass.

And here's the beginnings of the pattern being covered piece by piece.  Notice the metal "fences" which are push-pinned in place along the outer border of the panel.  These will stay in place until all of the glass has been cut, trimmed, copper foiled, and tack soldered. The "fences" prevent any of the glass from shifting during the construction process.
 Stay tuned as the work progresses ... Its going to be beautiful!

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!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fruit Lamp Repair - Top and Sides

This is the fourth fruit lamp to come in for repair in recent months.  They were very popular in the 1970's and are very well made.  This lamp fell and ten pieces cracked, one on the top and nine on the sides.  Here's how I repaired it.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

One of the top pieces cracked as shown.

The nine pieces that cracked on the sides were previously marked with "X's".

After determining the order of replacement, I used my pistol grip cutter to score the first piece of cracked glass.  With some tapping and tugging with needle nose pliers, the cracked glass came out readily.

After the cracked glass is removed, I'm using needle nose pliers to remove the old copper foil and solder.

Below, I slid a piece of manila folder under the glass and traced the opening which I use as a pattern for tracing and cutting the replacement glass.

Before replacing the glass, the border is covered with adhesive copper foil as shown.

The borders of all stained glass lamps have an "invisible" wire soldered on for strength.  I always keep that wire intact and use it as my outer edge when tracing the opening for the pattern.

Using a Sharpie fine point pen, I trace the pattern onto the glass and then cut it using a pistol grip cutter, running pliers and/or grozier pliers.

Then the edges of the piece are ground.  I'm wearing rubber fingers found at Staples to protect my fingers from the sharp glass.

Here I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foil from the bottle cap to prevent contamination of the bottle.  The flux prepares the copper foil for soldering.

Several pieces of glass have been replaced at this point.  Here I've outlined most of the opening with copper foil and will be removing the remaining old copper foil and solder with pliers.

Another piece of glass is foiled and set in place for soldering.  The piece is held in place from the back with wide painter's tape.

When all of the pieces were replaced on the side, I tackled the top.  The glass was missing and the wire detached from the adjoining piece, as shown.

I made a manila folder pattern for the missing piece, cut, ground and foiled a new piece and set it in place as shown, with blue painter's tape holding it in place while I soldered it.  I held down that wire with pliers as I soldered a few beads on it to hold it in place.  Then I went back and soldered another piece of wire on top to replace the short length of wire that was missing.

And after cleaning and applying Novacan black patina to the top, here's the finished repair.

Here I'm applying black patina to the sides of the lamp.

And here is the lamp, completed and ready to go back home with John.  Thanks again John for the pleasure of repairing your lamp!  I appreciate the opportunity and hope you and your family will enjoy it for years 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!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Large Butterfly Dome Lamp - Repair

This 22" wide dome lamp is a Chinese-made piece which has been "soldered" with their common, unknown, black substance which resembles black silicone.  The dome is a heavy one and the weight of it, combined with the sub-standard glass bonding substance, caused the dome to collapse without any of the glass breaking.  My task was to reconstruct the loose pieces and re-attach the cap.  Here's how I went about it .. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

This is how the lamp came in .. The center cap had collapsed along with five pieces of the glass which surrounded it.


First, I cleaned off the old copper foil adhesive using Goo Gone, which needs to be cleaned off thoroughly since its very oily.

Here I've applied copper foil to two pieces of adjoining glass, soldered them together, and added a piece of wire reinforcing strip to the edge.  

The reinforcing wire between the copper foil will add extra strength to the repair.  I've numbered each of the pieces of glass to make it easier to return them to their proper places around the cap.

 In addition to the five initial pieces of glass, four more were loose around the cap, so I removed them as well.

Here I'm melting off the 10 or so soldering points along the edge of the cap.

I've positioned the cap into the dome and am in the process of replacing all of the glass around its rim.

Here I'm trimming the copper foil with an Exacto knife.  For this project, I used a combination of 3/16" and 7/32" foil.

Below, applying 3/16" copper foil to the cap.  This foil will be pressed against the new glass and then soldered for a very strong bond, stronger than the original construction which was done with individual beads of solder.

Now that all of the pieces of glass have been replaced around the cap, I'm cleaning off the flux with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina remover.  

Below, applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder using an acid brush.  Note that I'm using a small supply from the bottle cap, rather than risk contaminating the bottle.

And here's an view of the inside of the dome with the cap and all the loose glass replaced.


Another view fo the completed lamp.  Notice that the cap sits directly on top of the glass.  It is very sturdy now and reinforced to last many, many more years.  Thank you for finding me, Edith.  It was a pleasure working on your lamp!

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!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright style lamp - Repair

An exceptionally beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright style lamp came in recently for repair.  Its owner was referred to me by a valued contact who also provided me with the iridescent glass with which to repair it.  (Thanks again, Judy).  Here are photos and narrative about the repair.  (Click on any photo for a closer look, then click on "X" in upper right corner to return to the blog).

Here is the lamp showing three obviously cracked pieces.  It wasn't immediately evident until I started working on it, but the two pieces to the right were also damaged.  I repaired those as well.


The view from inside the lamp dome, below.  Here I've removed the cracked glass by cross-hatching it with my glass cutter and then tapping on it firmly with the brass end of the cutter.

Here I'm carefully pulling off the old solder and copper foil with needle nose pliers.

At this point, the borders have been cleaned up and I've made a manila folder pattern for the replacement glass.  Its in the center of the photo.
 Below, I've scored and cut a strip of iridescent glass.
 Here I'm using running pliers to snap the glass on the pattern line.

Grinding the glass.
Using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to press the copper foil onto the glass.

Using an acid brush to apply liquid flux to prepare the lines for soldering.

View from outside the dome showing the new piece tack soldered in place from the inside.   Note that I've moved the lamp into a large box full of packing peanuts so that the area to be soldered is face up.

Now the piece is soldered and I've traced the pattern for the adjacent piece of glass.
 At this point, two pieces of glass have been replaced and a thin, green piece on the left has been copper foiled and is ready for soldering.
 Below, I've replaced the piece to the right of the center piece and have prepared another thin green piece for replacement.  Notice the blue painter's tape which I use to secure each new piece in place as I'm soldering it.  I thoroughly wash off the flux using Kwik-Clean Flux Cleaning Spray.
 Below, the last two pieces have been soldered in.  I'm brushing on Novacan Black Patina which works instantly.  After I let that set for a few minutes, I clean the entire lamp and apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound to protect the solder and give the glass an even nicer shine.

Below, the repaired lamp showing the five pieces I replaced.

Here's the view of my work table at the end of the project.

And here's the lamp, back in action again.  What a beauty!  Thanks again Judy for sending Ralph my way .. And Ralph, may this lamp bring you many more years of enjoyment.  It was a pleasure meeting you!
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!