Friday, December 11, 2015

Stained Glass Victorian Double-Hung Windows

Another fun project, this one for a creative customer who has a large collection of stained glass and has even designed her own windows for construction by artists.  Her request was for double-hung windows in her new addition to be created in a Victorian theme.  Each window measured approximately 19" x 13".  We sat and reviewed several design books I had on hand and three potential designs were considered.  Here is the winner, from Ed Sibbett Jr.'s Victorian Stained Glass Pattern book.
My customer wanted to do a pink and green theme so I presented 17 different combinations of these colors, using glass which I presented at the time of our meeting.
Here is the chosen computer rendition!

And here is the finished window .. See below the steps in creating these pretty windows.

First, here is the window when we last saw it, framed out but not yet ready for installation.  At the time of this post, we have not yet done the installation.  An update will be posted.

After re-sizing the pattern, I generated a new one and traced it onto manila file folders as shown.  I use the color rendition as a guide for marking the colors and textures of glass.

The pattern making process consists of three layers, the manila folders on the bottom, then a layer of carbon paper, then the paper "cartoon" on top.  These three layers are pinned in place to prevent shifting as I work.

After all of the markings have been transferred, I cut the outer-most border with regular scissors.  Then I cut the pattern pieces with specialized, double-bladed stained glass shears which leave a thin channel between each piece.  This allows room for the copper foil which will be added later.

When all of the pattern pieces are cut, I separate them into recycled envelopes, marked by color and texture.  I tend to prefer cutting all of one type of glass at a time.

Now both of the cartoons are pinned onto my Homasote work surface.  Notice that each cartoon is surrounded by a "jig" or "fence".  These prevent the glass from shifting as they are placed onto the cartoon.  Note:  Homasote is a building material, used for soundproofing.  It absorbs spills, has a spongy texture which is ideal for cutting glass, and it readily accepts push pins.

Here are some of my tools which I use as I trace and cut the glass. The blue "running pliers" to the left are used to snap straight cuts.  The purple oiled-filled pistol grip cutter is used to hand cut all of the glass.  And the black-handled "groziers" snap off smaller bits of glass for precision cuts.  Here I'm in the process of cutting the Pink Champagne Artique glass.

Moving along, some of the glass has been cut and put into place on top of the cartoon.

After each piece of glass is cut, I run the edges through an electric grinder.  The edges must be grinded in order for the copper foil to adhere properly.  It also makes the glass safer to handle.

Here's a demonstration of how to cut a wide curve.  I've scored the glass using the pistol grip cutter and now I'm snapping off a portion of the arc, using the "groziers".  I'll go back and score that other piece and snap it off using the same tool.

In many cases, cuts are simply too deep or too intricate for hand cutting.  Experience in cutting will dictate how far the glass will allow you to go before it will crack. These windows had many pieces which simply cannot be cut by hand, so I use a ring saw.  Here I'm applying lip balm (from my dentist) to cover the Sharpie markings.  The saw is a wet saw .. The lip balm prevents the markings from washing off.

The saw is able to remove even the tiniest pieces of glass without risking the outer corners being cracked.

These pieces, which resemble apostrophes, will also be candidates for the ring saw.  The saw is very precise.  Therefore I'm able to jigsaw the pieces together as shown, make the cuts, and minimize wasted glass.

Now all of the glass has been cut and laid in place onto the cartoons.  The "jigs" are still in place.

After all the glass is cut, the next step is to apply copper foil.  The adhesive foil is applied to the center of the edge of each piece of glass.  Then the sides are pressed down and all the foil is burnished onto the glass for a secure attachment.  Here, all of the glass has been foiled.

Next, I brush on a liquid catalyst for soldering called "flux".  This is a caustic chemical, so I use a metal acid brush.

Here's the lovely breathing mask I wear to protect my lungs against lead fumes and other harmful chemicals while I'm soldering.  I also run a filtered fan to draw fumes away from the work area.

Soldering ...

Since all of the glass is locked together now with the solder, its safe to remove the "jigs". Immediately after the soldering is completed, I spray-wash both windows, both sides, thoroughly, to remove all traces of the flux.

For those on FaceBook who are interested in viewing a variety of stained glass work from dozens of artists at all levels, I recommend "Fans of Chantal's Stained Glass" .. Link here ..There are over 3,200 members.  Chantal Pare is a Canadian artist who generously provides free stained glass patterns.  Many of my earlier works were Chantal's designs. 
Sometimes I share my work to this FaceBook page, as I've done here.  It received over 80 "likes" and many comments.  A very supportive group!

After the windows are released from the "jigs", my husband Eric custom cuts zinc frames for both windows, as shown here.  Then I solder the corners as well as the lead lines to the frames.

 After the windows are soldered, I apply Novacan brand Black Patina as shown.  It reacts instantly with the solder and can be left on for a short time.

Then the patina gets rinsed off as shown .. After both windows are dry, I apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound, front and back and frames, to both windows.  This protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  It is a light carnauba wax, similar to what is used in auto wax.

And here are the finished windows!  This photo is of the windows on a large light box .. The beauty of stained glass is that is looks differently under various lighting conditions.

And here are the windows, taken outdoors in natural light.  The textures of the glass really pop!

Thank you Jane, for the opportunity to add to your beautiful stained glass collection!  I'm proud to be among the artists who created pieces to grace your home!

Update .. December 21, 2015
Here is my husband Eric installing the windows this weekend!

They add a beautiful touch to this newly renovated bath.  Merry Christmas to Jane and family, may you enjoy them for many years to come!

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

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