Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stained Glass custom-design cabin cruiser

This 16" x 10" panel was commissioned by a woman in Kentucky to give to a dear uncle.  Its a rendition of his cabin cruiser which I designed from an emailed photo.  See how I created this one-of-a-kind gift!  (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look).

Here's my customer's photograph of her uncle's gorgeous cabin cruiser.  My dad had a cabin cruiser in the Hudson River for many years, so these boats have a special place in my heart.

Here's my computer rendition of the photograph.  I sent multiple combinations of glass choices for the sky and for the water.  My customer wanted a sunset sky.  She chose this Spectrum Mimosa Pearl glass which is comprised of yellows, oranges and some white .. It was the perfect choice to complement the Spectrum Mystic Blue water.
 Here's the pattern .. The "cartoon" or original design is on top with carbon paper in the middle and Manila folder on the bottom.  All of the markings are traced directly onto the manila folder.

Below, I've cut out the patterns for the sky and then traced them onto the Mimosa Pearl sky glass.  From there, I used my Gryphon Omni Saw to cut the top right and top left piece, as they were too complicated to cut by hand.  Notice that there's a fence or "jig" pinned around the border.  This will remain in place to keep the glass pieces from shifting as they are placed on the "cartoon."  At this point, I haven't yet cut out all the pattern pieces.  When I cut them, it will be with specialized, double-bladed stained glass pattern shears.  They leave a small space between the pieces which is taken up later by copper foil.
 Now the sky, water and hull have been cut.  There are 57 pieces of glass in this panel.

Here are the stained glass pattern shears showing that small space which they cut out.
 For the area of the cabin cruiser where the railing meets the hull, there are several pieces in a row.  Since I want the panel to look as realistic as possible, I'm cutting that area from a single piece of glass as shown.  I then traced the pieces onto the glass and cut each piece in order.  In this way, the horizontal "sunset" lines are preserved.
 A handful of cut glass ready to go down.  After each piece is cut, I grind the edge with an electric, water-fed grinder.

Here I'm tracing the pattern for the length of white glass which covers the deck.  I'm using the same process as above, cutting one larger piece and then dividing it up as the pattern indicates.

Below, all of the glass is cut.  Everything is still contained inside the "jig".

Below, I'm applying self-adhesive copper foil to the edge of the glass.  Copper foil comes with three different colors inside .. Copper, silver and black.  I used black back foil for most of the piece.  In order to get the brightest white, I used silver back foil for all of the white glass.

After each piece has been foiled, I press it onto the glass using a flexible plastic wand or "fid".

Now, all of the pieces have been foiled.

As I do with all of my custom designed stained glass panels, I signed my name, month and year.  Below is the Dremel tool and the bottom piece of glass.  The signature becomes practically invisible as soon as the glass dust is rinsed off.

 Below, I'm applying Canfield Blu-Glass Flux to the copper foil using a metal acid brush.  Flux is a very caustic substance and needs careful treatment.

 Below, I've "tack-soldered" the panel with small dots of solder at the intersections of the glass pieces and at random places.  This assures that the pieces stay together in place when I remove the "jig".

I then remove the "jig" and fully solder the front of the panel.  Then I use Kwik-Clean Stained Glass Flux and Patina Remover spray on the panel and towel dry it.

And here's the front, fully soldered.

My husband Eric has measured and custom cut a sturdy zinc frame for the panel.  Here he's attaching them for me.

Seen from the back, the panel is back in the jig and the frame is in place on the border of the panel.  I then flux the corners and spots where the lead lines meet the frame.  I solder them all to provide stability and strength to the panel. Once that's done on both sides, I wash each side again and take off the jig.

Here I'm preparing the brass hanging hooks.  The one on the left has been "tinned" meaning that I applied liquid flux to it and then dotted on a bit of solder.  The one on the right has not yet been tinned.

The back right side hook is in place.

After the panel has been spray cleaned of all the flux from soldering, I allow it to dry completely.  Then, using another metal acid brush, I apply Novacan Black Patina to all the solder lines and to the zinc frame.  I work from the bottle cap so as not to contaminate the contents of the bottle.

Here the panel has been fully patina-ed and cleaned.  Next, I'll apply Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  This is a light wax which serves to protect the patina and give the panel a nice shine.  Then I'll take it outdoors to get a "real life" photo of the panel in the light. 

And here's another look at the sequence .. From photograph .. To computer rendition .. To completed panel!

Thank you for having me make this special gift for your uncle, Laura! May he remember your thoughtfulness every time he looks at it. 

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!