Monday, June 29, 2015

Stained Glass Unicorn repair

This 12" round blue and white unicorn sustained a cracked mane, horn, and front leg.  It was brought to me by my customer who had it in storage for many years and wanted it repaired for her grandchild.  Here's how I went about repairing it for her .. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here's how the poor unicorn looked when I got it .. Her mane was cracked, most of her horn was missing, and the bottom part of her front leg had snapped off.

The part of the mane to the left of the crack was in great condition.  I don't like to disturb any part of a stained glass piece that is not damaged, so I opted to leave it in place and simply cut a new piece of glass to the right of the damaged area.  In this photo, I've melted off the solder and the foil and then removed the broken half of the mane, and the horn.  I marked the position of the horn with a Sharpie.

Here I'm using my electric grinder to sand down the edges of the mane.

I've applied fresh copper foil to the lower borders where the new glass will be inserted.  Here I'm using a file folder to draw a new pattern for the mane.

I've cut the new glass and horn, applied copper foil to each piece, then applied liquid flux to the foil, and soldered them to the unicorn's head.

My husband is an talented (and very humble) illustrator.  He drew the pattern for the horse's front leg for me.  

I've put tape down on the back of the piece to hold the new front leg in place.  Then I soldered it on, attaching it to the "elbow" and to the hoof of the adjacent leg, for stability.

Then I cleaned off the entire piece using Kwik-Clean which removes all traces of the flux and solder.  As a final step, shown here, I drip Livia Stained Glass Polishing Compound on the entire piece, both front and back and let it dry.  This protects the solder and gives the glass a nice shine.  Once its dry, I buff it off.

And here's the unicorn, repaired and ready to delight my customer's grandchild.  Thank you Gail, for finding me!  It was a pleasure repairing her 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!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Frank Lloyd Wright style Lamp Repair

This gorgeous lamp sustained two cracked pieces after a fall.  Here's how I went about the repair.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

The lamp shade fell on the corner, cracking two pieces as well as the bending the framework.

Here I'm tugging out the cracked pieces using needle nosed pliers.

 The cracked glass has been removed and I'm filing down the glass on the exposed side.  I've also bent up the supporting wire which was soldered to the edge.  Filing the glass will help the copper foil to adhere more securely.

 Another view.  When I do a repair I always follow the "do no harm" principle.  I don't disturb any more of the original structure than is necessary.  Here I've left the wires above and below the opening.

Tracing the pattern for the replacement glass.

Using an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter and a ruler to score the cut.  I tap the front and back of the score with the metal end of the cutter until the two pieces break free.  Or I use "running pliers" to snap the score.

Next, a trip to the electric grinder.  The edges of each piece are ground for safety in handling and for better adherence of the copper foil.

Applying copper foil to the outer edge of the replacement glass.  I used a thin foil for this repair, the same width as was used originally.

I've also foiled the inner border of the opening.  I've used blue painter's tape to secure the bottom wire to the inner side of the glass where it had been placed originally.

Now the replacement glass is in place and taped, ready to be fluxed and soldered. Flux is a liquid agent which promotes the even flow of the molten metal onto the foil.

The replacement glass has been soldered in place, front and inside.

Now I'm pulling out the cracked glass from the adjacent corner.

Using a separate pattern for the other piece, I've cut, ground, foiled and taped it into place.  Then I applied liquid flux to the copper foil and soldered it in, front and back, making sure to trap the wires under the solder, for stability. After each fluxing and soldering, I thoroughly clean the area.

Now that the soldering is complete, I'm applying black patina to the solder with a metal acid brush.  After letting the patina set, I clean it off.  The final step is to wash the entire lamp and give it a nice coat of wax to protect the patina and give it a nice shine.

And here is the lamp, newly repaired and ready for the family to enjoy for many years to come!  Thank you Kathy for bringing this to me, and best wishes for a wonderful vacation!
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, June 12, 2015

Triumph TR6 in Stained Glass

I completed this stained glass panel this winter as a (late) Valentine's Day gift for my wonderful husband, Eric.  I'm posting it now in honor of the "Touch of England" vintage British Car Show which is hosted annually by the New Jersey Triumph Owners Association.  It is being held tomorrow, Saturday, June 13th at the historic Hermitage near us in Hohokus, New Jersey.

Here's an announcement for the show.

This is our third summer with our bright yellow 1974 Triumph TR6 which we call "Lil Bee".  Early on, we had several months of the usual troubles with British motor cars including a few trips home on a flatbed.  But those days are behind us .. We hope!  Now it's very reliable (knock wood) and we have a blast with it!  We bring it to local cruise-ins and car runs and have met lots of fun-loving fellow vintage car owners along the way. 

I grew up around cars .. My father owned an auto body repair shop and my mother's favorite car was the Excaliber, though she never owned one.  She had more speeding tickets and points on her license than anybody I know.  My family and I spent a long summer driving cross country in the 1956 Chevy Bel Air that my father restored himself.  Every vintage car has a story and I love hearing them all.

Here's how I created the stained glass rendition of our little car .. Here it is~!  Eric has done quite a bit of work on it.  Its still has lots of little quirks which give it a real personality.

Below is the computer rendition of the car which I created.  This becomes my guide for glass cutting as I work.

After I've created the computer rendition, I print a full-size, numbered pattern or "cartoon".  I made this stained glass panel 23" wide and 12" high.   Below I've laid out file folders, side to side and taped together. On top of that goes side-by-side sheets of carbon paper with the "cartoon" on top.  I use the full color rendition of the car as a guide.

Here I'm tracing the design from the "cartoon" onto the file folders.  I include all lines and numbers and I also write in the glass colors for each piece.  All of the pattern pieces are then separated by color and placed into recycled envelopes. 

Here I'm using the pattern to trace onto the glass using a silver Sharpie marker. 

 I generally cut my glass by hand but in cases where there are sharp angles, such as with this piece of glass, I use an Omni Gryphon II saw.  Its a wet saw .. Water flows onto the glass and keeps the blade cool.  Its very loud and takes some skill to master, but in many cases, its the best option for cutting glass.

Here's an example of a cut made with the electric saw.

When I hand cut glass, I use an oil-filled pistol grip cutter shown below.  I rest it against a flat ruler to get a straight score. (I would actually be holding the ruler down with my left hand but I'm holding the camera here).

Every piece of hand cut glass must be grinded on the edge as shown here.  This makes the glass safe to handle and also facilitates a firm bond with the adhesive copper foil which will be applied later.

Here's the car so far, with the yellow, blue and green-brown bottom cut. Notice the "fence" or "jig" which surrounds the panel.  This serves to keep the glass contained within the border and more importantly, keeps it square to prepare it for framing later.  I work on a sheet of Homasote, which is building material used for sound proofing.  It accepts thumbtacks well and absorbs spills easily too.

I use mirror glass for the chrome on cars.  Its a great look but it requires special handling.  Here I'm tracing the patterns for the round rims onto the glass.

Again, I use the electric glass cutter.  

You simply can't get a cut like this by hand.  

During the cutting process, small flakes will come off the edges.  To fix that, I simply coat the areas with the silver Sharpie pen.

For added protection, I coat the back of each piece with clear nail polish.

Back to the saw again to cut out a tire.

Another amazing cut.

And here's the car now, with all the glass cut.

Close up of the mirror glass for chrome.  I love the way it shines.  Notice the black dots.  They are painted on with Pebeo 160 glass paint. More on that in a bit.

Another view of more "chrome"

For details on the car, I've used Pebeo 160 glass paint.  This paint is permanent on glass but must be baked in a 375 degree oven, then cooled. Here is the fender with an orange side light, and the door with a black handle. 

And here are the tire elements and the bumpers.  The black dots and lines will become bonded to the mirror glass once they're baked and cooled.

Now that the glass is all cut, its time to sign the piece.  I use a Dremel tool with a grinding bit.  I sign and date the piece.

After I've signed it, it blends into the glass and is not obtrusive.  

The next step is to apply 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the edges of each piece of glass.  I remove one piece of glass at a time, foil it, and then replace it.

After each piece of glass has been foiled, I'm applying liquid flux to the foil, as shown.  I'm using a metal acid brush.  The flux enables the solder to flow evenly on the copper.  I take flux from the bottle cap and discard any remainder, so as not to contaminate the bottle.

Next, I do the "tack soldering".  I use a small amount of solder at random places on the panel, particularly at the intersections of the glass pieces.  I tack on enough so that each piece of glass is locked securely in place.  Then I remove the "fence" or "jig" from around the border, and I slide the "cartoon" out from underneath. This protects it from the chemicals which follow.

Now the panel has been soldered fully on the front. After the soldering is done, I clean it using Kwik Clean flux and patina remover spray.

Eric does all the frames for my stained glass panels.  Here he's custom-fitting the frame to the panel.  He uses a sturdy zinc "channel" which I solder directly onto the panel at all the lead lines which reach the border.  I also solder the corners.

Here I'm soldering on a hanging hook, after I solder the back of the panel.  The solder bead connecting the lead line to the zinc "channel" can be seen in the upper left.

Now that the frame has been installed, I'm applying black patina to the solder.  Again, I'm working from the bottle cap and discarding any remainder so as not to contaminate the bottle.  The patina turns the solder black instantly. After it sets for a little while. I use the Kwik Clean again to thoroughly clean it.

When the panel is clean and dry, I apply a light wax called Livia.  This serves to protect the patina and brings out the shine in the glass.  From this point on, the only maintenance needed will be a light dusting every once in a while.

And here's the finished panel!  Eric loves it .. We have so much stained glass in our home that he still hasn't decided where to put it .. But it will be at the show this weekend.  Stop by and say hello!

I will also have renditions of several other classic cars at the show tom'w.  If you'd like your car made up in stained glass, please contact me .. I'd love to make one for you.  (A great gift too!)
 If you enjoy classic cars, you might enjoy reading about the 1955 Thunderbird I made in stained glass ...
Click here.

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