Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinet Update

This 1970's kitchen cabinet panel was in need of an update, so this is where Boehm Stained Glass Studio stepped in.  Watch me work as I go through the process of preparing a modern yet ageless, all-clear glass replacement.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Here's the single original cabinet door, with a floral motif.


And here a view from the inside the door.

My customer wanted an updated look without color but with enough opacity so that the spices behind the glass could not easily be seen.  I presented three different designs in different color combinations including clear.  We decided upon using a Spectrum Crystal Ice glass, which is a clear yet highly textured glass, along with dual center diamonds and border accents of clear frosted glass. 

Here is the computer rendition of the winning panel design:

Here are the specialized shears which cut a small channel between the pattern pieces.  This allows for the copper foil which will follow.

Here I'm pressing an oil-filled pistol grip cutter along the edge of a flat ruler to score the glass.  Once its scored, I tap firmly on the glass on both sides.  After a minute or so, the glass will crack in a straight line.

To conserve glass and to save time, I've traced several pieces of the frosted border, side by side.

As each piece is cut, I bring it to the grinder.  The edges of the each piece of glass must be ground to make it safe to handle and for the proper adhesion of the copper foil.

This is an older cabinet and it was not completely symmetrical, as my husband discovered when he did the measurements.  Rather than work off of the computer pattern, then, I decided to work directly from the tracing he did of the cabinet.
Here is the glass, all cut and laying on the pattern.  Notice the metal fence around the glass.  This is to keep it in place while I work.

Applying copper foil to the center of the edge of each piece of glass.  Here I'm using black backed 7/32" foil.

I use a flexible plastic wand or "fid" to press the foil onto the glass as shown.

Now the panel has been completely foiled.  It is still locked into the fence.

Then I apply liquid flux onto the copper foil directly from the bottle cap.  I discard the remains of the cap rather than risk contaminating the entire container.

The next step is "tack soldering" whereby I add a small dot of solder to the intersections of the glass.  This locks the pieces in place so I can remove the fence.

I've removed the fence and I'm sliding the pattern out from under the panel.  This will protect it from the chemicals and cleaning process which will follow.

I've fully foiled the front of the panel and now I'm spray cleaning off the flux and excess solder with "Kwik-Clean".

After a thorough cleaning, I custom cut and snapped on a thin metal frame around the entire piece. This will give the panel strength and stability.  It will also enable the homeowner to remove it if she moves, and make a window hanging from it.  When the frame has been placed onto the panel, I put the fence back around it.  Then I can solder the frame onto the lead lines and add foil and solder around the corners as shown,

The panel is now out of the fence and I'm applying black liquid patina to the solder, again from the bottle cap.  After letting the solder set for a while, I use the Kwik-Clean Spray to wash off the excess.  At this point, I've also soldered and patina-ed the reverse side of the panel.  After the patina is cleaned off, I dry it thoroughly and add a coat of thin wax.  The wax brightens the glass and protects the patina.

And here is the finished panel!  I'm looking forward to installing it, hopefully this week!  Thank you Darlene, for entrusting your panel replacement with us.  It was a pleasure creating this for 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!

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