Monday, July 22, 2013

Oval window with Bevels and Gems - Installation

This weekend, Eric installed the beautiful oval bathroom window.  Take a look!  (Click on any photo to enlarge, then click the "X" in upper right to return to post).

You'll recall that I built this window directly on top of the template that Eric made on our site visit.  The window fit perfectly.  Here Eric is inserting small metal prongs to hold the window in place.  He had already applied black patina to them so they are barely visible in front of the lead came frame.

 And in goes another metal clip to secure it further.

And here is the finished window.  The amber and purple glass really pops!  The sandblasted bevels were a great decision and they make this one-of-a-kind window that much more unique. (Thank you again to Peter of Armour Air in Fairview, NJ for the wonderful sandblasting job).

And here's another photo of the finished window, another labor of love.  I always feel a little tinge when we walk away from our work.  But I love what I do.  I greatly appreciate my husband's assistance in making it happen.
I wish I had recorded my customer Michelle's reaction!  She was beyond thrilled.  Her favorite expression throughout our collaboration on the window was, "Do your magic!".  Thank you Michelle for the opportunity .. You were a joy to work with!

Next up .. Repairing a mirrored wall hanging, then repairing a lamp, then another custom window commission.  But call any time, I'm always happy to discuss your project.  Thanks!

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, July 19, 2013

Oval Window with Bevels and Gems - Soldering, Framing and Patina

Here are the final steps in creating this custom oval window.  We are so thrilled with how it looks and we hope our customer is equally pleased!  Here's the process of soldering, framing and applying patina to the window:  (Click on any photo to enlarge, then click "X" in upper right of your screen to return to blog).

Safety first.  Here is the 3M breathing mask I wear whenever I solder.  Its surprisingly comfortable. The model number is clearly noted on the right. 

While the window is still thumb-tacked in place, I apply liquid flux to the joints, then add solder.  This is called tack soldering and is a preliminary step to prepare for the actual soldering.  I work on only one side at a time. Until the frame is in place, the window will not be strong enough to withstand being flipped over.

Tack soldering.

After all steps involving chemicals, I spray the entire window with Kwik-Clean and towel it dry.

And here's the window, soldered on the front side.

Next, I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to all the solder lines with a metal acid brush. This chemical works instantly.  I always let it set for 10-15 minutes before washing off.

Here's the window after black patina is applied.

We used a product well known to the leaded glass world for the framing.  This is flexible lead "U-came" which comes as long, straight lengths or coiled.  We purchased enough coiled U-came to encircle the oval.  Note that the interior of the came is open.  The outer border of the glass fits inside that opening.

My husband Eric does all of our framing.  Here, he slid the template back beneath the window to re-establish the lines of the outer border.  Using push pins, he's encircled the oval with the lead U-came.  He also soldered the frame to the lead lines on the front of the window.

 Again, applying patina to the lead U-came.  I always work out of a bottle cap to eliminate the risk of contaminating the whole bottle.

Since the window is now framed, it is noticeably stronger.  I carefully turned it over and did the same process as on the front with the exception of the tack soldering.  Below, I'm applying liquid flux to prepare for soldering.  After the flux and solder is washed off and dried with a towel, I applied black patina. As a final step, I applied Clarity brand Stained Glass Conditioner to both sides.  This product is a light carnauba wax which has a bit of pumice in it.  It brings out the shine and protects the patina.  No further maintenance will be required, except for an occasional dusting.

And here it is!  This lovely 19" x 31" oval will soon be installed in its newly renovated bathroom  Stay tuned for one more post when we install it!

One more .. The computer rendition (left)  and the actual window (right):

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, July 17, 2013

Oval window with Bevels and Gems - Copper Foiling

This posting will show the copper foiling process.  This is begun only after each piece of glass fits comfortably within the confines of the push pins on the outer border of the pattern.  There should be a small amount of "wiggle room" between pieces to allow for the foil.  If the pieces fit too tightly, they can crack during the soldering process.  Also, I will be inserting braided wire reinforcement randomly throughout the window, so allowance needs to be made for that as well.  Here's the process .. Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look.

I'm using 7/32" black back copper foil for this project.  I chose 7/32" because its a nice, wide foil which will give strength to the project.  I chose black back because all of the glass used in this window is "cathedral" or clear glass.  As you can see from the photo below, the inside of the foil shows through the amber colored glass.  After the window has been soldered and black patina is applied, the interior of the copper foil will, in effect, be invisible.

It takes a certain amount of dexterity to apply the foil.  I'm using my left hand here while I take the photo, but you can see, hopefully, that the side of the glass is placed dead center to the foil.  This allows for an equal amount of foil to be wrapped around each side.

Here I'm pressing down on the foil to attach it to the sides of the glass.  Prior to this step, I pressed the foil into the edges of the glass using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand as shown in the next photo.

Using a "fid" to press the foil onto the sides of the glass.  Notice that I do not foil the outer border of the glass.  This is the side which will end up underneath the lead u-came that will be used to frame the piece.  Since this side will be hidden and not soldered to anything, there is no need to foil it.  Not having foil on that edge also makes it easier to install the u-came. 

The amber rough rolled glass is all foiled.  Now I'm moving onto the glue chip using the same process.  Notice again that the black interior of the foil shows through the glass.

Again, pressing the foil down onto the glass, followed by using a "fid" to adhere everything well.

I sign each of my custom pieces with a Dremel tool.  Below I've etched my name, the month and the year.  After installation, my signature is barely visible.

This is the braided wire reinforcement that I use for all larger stained glass pieces.  As they say, it "adds astonishing strength to any glass project."  Its easy to use, fits well between copper-foiled glass pieces and is in fact, undetectable after the piece has been soldered.

 Shown below are two lengths of braided reinforcement snaked along random pieces within the window.  I stuff in any stray ends with a sharp object.

And here is the window, copper foiled and reinforced with braided wire and ready for fluxing and soldering.
Just a few more steps to go!  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!

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!