Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stained Glass Lamp Cap Replacement

This gorgeous Tiffany style rose lamp was pounced on by a curious cat.  The cap bent when it fell.  The lamp also had a non-functioning "on-off" switch. Our challenge was to repair the lamp cap and switch.  With my husband Eric's help, here's how we repaired it.

Here's the dome of the lamp, with the badly bent cap. The damage to the cap was too extensive to hammer out, so I opted to replace it. 

My husband Eric used a Dremel tool to cut and detach the bent cap from the top of the dome. Then I used a hand file to smooth out the edges of the glass, as shown.

In order to use the new brass lap cap, it needed to be "tinned" and then "patina-ed".  Here's the process. The first step is to apply "flux".  This is the substance used as a catalyst for the solder to flow freely onto the metal, or copper foil. In the majority of cases, liquid flux is used for copper foiled stained glass. But this brass cap is considered a "heat sink". This means that it will quickly absorb all of the heat from a soldering iron.  This makes it very difficult to "tin" or coat it with a thin layer of solder.  Therefore, as shown, I'm using "paste flux".  I applied it evenly over the entire top of the cap.

In order to "tin " the brass cap, two soldering irons are recommended. Here I've positioned my 100W soldering iron so that I can insert the cap over the heated tip.  In this way, the paste flux will melt as the heat radiates out from the center to the outer edge. As soon as the paste flux melts, I use a small, lower power second soldering iron to lightly "brush" on a thin coating of solder.  This is called "tinning".

Here, the cap is tinned.  I'm now applying Novacan Black Patina to the cap using a metal acid brush.  The patina reacts instantly with the solder, turning it a dull black. After it sets, I spray-clean it with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Cleaner.  Then I wrap a strip of 1/4" wide copper foil around the outer edge and down the sides of the cap.

Next, I go back to the dome and line the opening with 1/4" copper foil as shown.

Here's the view from inside the dome. I've applied liquid flux and a liberal amount of solder to the interior and exterior of the cap, for a very solid bond. For additional security, I added three tabs of braided reinforcement wire which overlap the inside edge of the cap and are bonded to the underside of the dome.

Here the cap is firmly soldered onto the dome with several melting points between the cap and the body of the dome.

Here I'm applying more black patina, this time to all the solder.  After the patina set, I cleaned off the remainder with Kwik-Clean spray.  Then I polished the entire lamp, top and bottom, with Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  It protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  The lamp will only need occasional dusting for maintenance. 

Eric replaced the existing switch with a 3-way model.  The positions are: base on, dome on, whole lamp on (or off).  So now the lamp has been restored to its original beauty and functionality!

Another view of this beautiful rose lamp.  Thank you so much, Janine, for entrusting this lamp to our care.  May you enjoy it for a long, long time.  Happy New Year!

Here is a lovely note from Janine, posted to my BSGS FaceBook page .. Thank you Janine!
"This is my stained glass lamp that I had on a table in front of my window, when my curious cat caught sight of a squirrel and knocked the lamp off the table and bent the cap. I was heartbroken. I found Kathy Boehm of in Ridgewood and explained what happened and left her my lamp. Within a week, she called and said the lamp is ready. Take a look at her work. I would highly recommend her for any stained glass needs. A true professional."

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

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.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Stained Glass Cardinals Window

The design for this window was inspired by a low resolution image found online by my customers.  The finished window is 24" wide by 36" high.  Follow along to see how I created this latest project.

I prepared a few different designs for the birds with various combinations of colors for the border glass which my customers requested .. Here is the full-color computer rendition of the chosen design.

I designed the top Cardinal from this photograph.  The bottom Cardinal is a copyright-free design by Spectrum Glass. 

Here's another rendition which features a female Cardinal and a clear, textured glass border.  For every custom design, I offer many combinations of colors from which to choose.

 Here's the pattern making process.  I've got the "cartoon" or paper pattern on top of a layer of carbon paper which is on top of a layer of taped-together file folders.  I trace all the borders, numbers and colors onto the file folders.  During this process, I use push pins to hold everything in place without shifting.

The outside edge of the pattern is cut with regular scissors.  But the inside pieces are cut with specialized, double-bladed stained glass pattern shears.  They cut a thin strip of paper between each piece.  This space will be taken up later by copper foil.

Here I've traced the pattern pieces with a silver Sharpie pen onto the black glass.  I've also numbered each piece.  I use the purple pistol-grip oil-filled glass cutter and a flat ruler to score the glass.
 Scoring the glass. 

After the glass is scored, I use the metal end of the glass cutter to tap repeatedly on the front, along the score.  Then I turn the glass over and do the same on the back.  Eventually the glass "loosens" and will split along the line, as shown.


For shorter, straight pieces, I score the glass, then use a pair of these blue "running pliers" to snap the score.

There were several pieces of glass in this project that did not lend themselves to hand cutting.  Or, it was simply more efficient to use my electric ring saw as shown.  Here I've traced several patterns onto the White Wispy glass.  This is a wet saw.  Therefore, I coated all the markings with lip balm to prevent the ink from washing off.

 After all the white glass was cut, I moved onto the gray branches.  Here they are, numbered and ready to be placed onto the cartoon.

Now I've cut the black border, the medium blue border, the white wispy glass and the gray branches.  Notice that there is a metal "fence" or "jig" around the cartoon.  This will hold the glass in place as I work.

Here's a quick example of the kind of cuts that an electric saw can make .. It would be very risky to try and do a deep concave cut like this by hand.

At this stage, all of the glass for the design has been cut and trimmed to fit comfortably.  Now its time to apply the copper foil.

Here are three types of copper foil which comes in several different sizes as well.  For this project, I'm using 7/32" foil with three different interior colors.  I used the "black back" foil on the see-through glass (the reds and the pale gray of the eyes) .. The "silver back" for the white wispy glass .. And the copper for the black border and the gray branches.  The reason for using three different colors is to show the glass at its best.  The silver will brighten the white, the black can be seen through the red and will become invisible after the black patina is applied, and the copper cannot be seen since it is used on opalescent, or non see-through glass.

 Here I'm applying silver back foil to the center of the edge of piece of the wispy white.

The foil is then wrapped around the sides and burnished onto the glass using a "fid" or flexible, flat plastic wand.
 Since this piece is so large, it is also rather heavy.  In order to strengthen the piece and minimize chances of breakage, I've run many lengths of "Strong Line Internal Steel Reinforcement" through the piece.  It runs vertically alongside all of the branches and horizontally along several of the smaller branches as well as the birds. 

Here the steel reinforcement can be seen between the glass.  After the window is soldered, the reinforcement becomes part of the window and cannot be seen.  In addition to the steel reinforcement, I added some copper braided reinforcement wire as well.

 After all of the glass pieces have been foiled and reinforced, I etched my name, the month and the year into the lower right hand border panel as shown.  After the window is cleaned and waxed, the signature is barely visible.

 The next step is "tack soldering".  At this point, the window is still captured inside of the "fence".  I've applied liquid flux to all of the copper foil.  This is a liquid agent which allows the solder to melt evenly along the foil.  Then I've added small dots of solder along the intersections and at key points on the window.  This is done to temporarily lock the glass in place so that I can remove the fence.

The window has been tack soldered and the fence is now off.  I'm sliding the cartoon out from under the window.  This is to protect it from the chemicals and the soldering process and cleaning which will follow.

Now the front of the window has been soldered.  Notice that I do not add foil, nor solder, to the outside border.  This is to facilitate the attachment of the metal channel, or frame.

My husband Eric is now custom cutting and fitting a heavy brass frame to the perimeter of the piece.

Once the frame is in place, he puts the fence back on to lock it there.  Then I solder the corners and I also solder the lead lines to the frame for added strength and stability.  Shown here is a metal acid brush which a cap full of liquid solder.  After the frame is in place, I carefully turn the window over and solder the back. Then the flux is thoroughly cleaned off.

Next, I use a different metal acid brush to apply Novacan Black Patina to all of the solder as shown.  It reacts instantly.  I let it set for a while, then this gets cleaned off as well.  After the window is allowed to air dry, I coat the entire thing, back, front and frame, with stained glass finishing compound.  This is a light carnauba wax.  I allow that to dry, then I buff it off.

Again, here's a look at the computer rendition ..

And here is the actual finished window as seen on a large light box. Stained glass will look different, depending on the lighting.  That's one of the factors that make them so vibrant!

And here is the window in different light.

For more information on other stained glass projects and repairs, please click here to visit my website. 

And here are the Cardinals in their new home!  Thanks again, Lauri and Jim, for the pleasure of creating this for you, and for the photo!