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

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