Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Repairs to Badly Damaged Stained Glass Lamp

Most repairs are fairly straight-forward with a handful of cracked pieces..  This lamp, though, was so badly damaged that I needed to basically rebuild much of it.  It was the victim of yet another curious cat.  I replaced 45 pieces of glass.

The owner of the lamp lives in Washington DC but has occasional business in New York City.  He delivered and picked up the lamp by driving up from DC to NYC, then another 17 miles north from NYC to arrive here in Midland Park, NJ, to my home studio. 

This lamp is made of the very popular clear frosted glass called Glue Chip.  Its a very popular glass, but not often seen used in a lamp.  The reasons are that you can see the lighting mechanism through it, and the clear textured glass is not as strong as an opalescent, or non-see-through glass, would be.

Here's a view of one side of the lamp showing many cracked pieces.

In this view, you can see how the lamp was so badly hit that the bottom curled inward.

And here's a view from the side.

Here's a view of the upper edge showing many cracked pieces along the border.  Before starting my work, I gently tugged on the lamp to pull out the crushed sides.  I wore protective gloves.  I know how much tension to use so that the lamp will not sustain further damage.  As I work on the lamp, I keep checking for its round-ness and overall shape.

When a lamp has this many repairs, its important to do everything in the proper order.  I don't generally replace adjacent pieces simultaneously unless there's no other option.  Doing so can cause the lamp to collapse.  Its also more difficult to work "in mid air", without support pieces in place next to the ones being replaced.

After I assessed the damage, I formed a plan.  Here I've started to crack out the remainder of a piece.  I'm using the metal end of my oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter.  I tap on the cracked piece repeatedly to remove loose pieces.  Then I use a needle nose pliers to pull out the rest of the glass.  The bits of blue tape indicate the locations of many of the cracked pieces.

Here I'm using the pliers to tug off the old foil and solder to prepare the border for the new glass.

This glass in this lamp had not been ground before assembly.  This is a common practice.  I prefer to grind the glass though.  It gives the copper foil a better surface on which to adhere, which will add years to the life of the repair.  Here I'm using a hand file to rough up the edges of the glass.

Here I'm placing a piece of Manila folder behind the opening to create a template for the new piece of glass.  Note that I've already added new copper foil to the border.  I'm using 7/32" black-back foil.

Grinding the edge of the new glass.

Burnishing the foil onto the glass with a "fid" or flat plastic wand. Note that the inner, adhesive side of the copper foil is black.  I chose this foil because it will become invisible around the pieces after I apply black patina at the end of the process.

Brushing on liquid flux around the newly foiled glass and border.  This chemical allows the solder to flow evenly.

Now the first replacement piece is soldered in place on the outside of the lamp.

Now several pieces have been replaced, and a few more have been removed.

Here I'm using my soldering iron to melt off old foil and solder.  

I've replaced many of the clear glue chip pieces.  Now I'm starting to replace the purple cathedral (see-through) glass.  I'm using the glass cutter to tap out the purple cracked pieces.

Since the lamp has so many repetitive pieces in its pattern, I'm using one template to trace five purple pieces.

I've scored the glass using the cutter.  Here I'm using a pair of blue running pliers to snap the glass on the score.

Since the curves in these pieces are very deep, I opted to cut them using an electric ring saw, shown here.  

I've cut the inner curves with the saw.  Since the markings were partially washed off in the process, I dried each piece and re-marked them.  Then I hand-cut the outer borders.

And then each piece goes back to the electric grinder.

Moving on .. Here I've made templates and cut glass for more of the purple and for several more clear pieces.

Here's a view off the side, showing the repairs in various stages.

Another view of the once-crushed side.  
 Using one pattern to cut two more pieces of replacement clear pieces.

Now the side has several more pieces replaced with several more in various stages.

View from inside the lamp with many pieces replaced, and several in progress.

After I replaced all of the cracked glue chip and purple cathedral glass pieces, I moved onto the opalescent (non-see-through) purple-light blue flowers.  Several of them sustained cracks as well.

Here are the custom pattern pieces which I created in order to repair this lamp.

After the 45 pieces of glass have been replaced, I soldered the remaining replacement pieces on the inside of the dome.  Then I cleaned off all the flux using a neutralizing spray.  Then after the lamp is dry, I applied black patina, as shown here.  It turns the solder black instantly.  After the patina sets, the lamp dries again, then undergoes another thorough cleaning.

And here is a view of the lamp, fully repaired.

Another view of a different side.

Here's an "aerial" view.

And another view of the lamp in our front window, awaiting its ride home.
Thanks so much Brian, for your long drives to and from Washington DC to drop off and pick up your lamp.  I'm very pleased with the repairs and I know you are as well!  Enjoy!

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

If you're on FaceBook, please click here to "like" my BoehmStained Glass Studio page to keep up with all the latest projects.  Thank you!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Striped Stained Glass Lamp Repair

This colorful lamp had a few cracked pieces in it when my customer purchased it from an antique dealer.  Here's how I went about repairing it ..

The cracks aren't obvious but they're marked here with blue tape.

Here's the glass that we agreed would be the best match.

First I'm using the metal end of the oil filled pistol grip glass cutter to crack out the piece that's slated for replacement.

Then I cleared the border of old foil and solder.  Note the notch on the piece below.  That's also going to be replaced.

I made a paper template of the opening and traced it onto a strip of glass.  Just by chance, I used this glass as a cutting demonstration for a group of students at a grammar school last May.  The strips I made just happened to be the exact right size and color for this project.

Now I'm applying adhesive copper foil in 7/32" width to the glass.

Cracking out the glass in the rest of the row.

Using a metal file to sand down the edges of the glass.

 Now the turquoise row is cut, foiled, and in place in the lamp.

Onto cutting the blue piece.

Using running pliers to snap the glass after I've scored it.

Now both rows are in place, ready for fluxing and soldering.  Liquid flux is always applied to the foil before soldering.  It acts as a catalyst and helps the solder to flow.

An unusual feature of this lamp is that the patina was a mix of copper and black.  So I made a custom mix of both colors to replicate the existing color.

After I soldered the rows in place, I'm applying the custom black and copper patina onto the solder.

After a cleaning and waxing, here is the repaired lamp.

And here it is, lighted from below.  Thank you to Allison for bringing me your lamp.  May you enjoy it for years to come!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

If you're on FaceBook, please click here to "like" my BoehmStained Glass Studio page to keep up with all the latest projects.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dining Room Stained Glass Windows

This project is for the creation of two matching stained glass windows to serve as the focal points for my customer's dining room.  Here is one of the windows.  Notice that the glass is heavily textured.  Ideally, we install windows over clear glass.  Since they were unable to find a contractor to change the glass, we went with opalescent glass which is less transparent.  It worked out beautifully.  Here's the process ..

Here is one of the windows with the texture clearly visible.

For every custom window, we collaborate to come up with a design.  This was the winner, one of Ed Sibbet's, a well-published pattern designer.  Next I create several full color renditions of the design, using the color palette chosen by my customer.  Here are a few of the options I presented.

This one was the winner!

 Here's the dining room showing both windows.

The palette of glass to be used on the project.

The pattern making process.  The bottom layer is Manila folders, the middle layer is carbon paper, and the top layer is the "cartoon" or printed pattern.  I trace all of the numbers and lines onto the folders, as well as the colors.

I use regular scissors to cut the outer border.  Then I use specialized double-bladed pattern shears to separate the pieces. These leave a small area which will be taken up later by the copper foil.

As pattern pieces are cut, I separate them by color and organize them into recycled junk mail envelopes.

Here's the cartoon, laying flat on my Homasote work surface.  Homasote is a sound-proofing building material which accepts pushpins and has just the right amount of "give" for glass cutting.  Notice that there is a "fence" or "jig" around the border.  These aluminum strips will stay in place throughout the process.  They prevent the glass from shifting as I work.

Each pattern piece gets traced onto a piece of glass, then cut out.

More pieces ready for cutting.

In some cases, the curves are too deep to safely cut by hand.  That's when I use my wet ring saw as shown.

Moving onto the clear glass .. Several pieces traced and ready for cutting.

More clear ready.  The purple tool is an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter which is my primary hand cutting implement.

Now I'm cutting the light amber pieces.  I'm creating both windows simultaneously, cutting all of one color at one time.

Here's my ring saw next to my grinder with several more amber pieces.

One of the center medium amber pieces half cut.  Love the colors in this glass.

Using a circle cutter for the round red pieces.

Here's window "A" with all the glass cut ..

And here's window "B" with all the glass cut.

After all the glass is cut, its always necessary to trim the pieces for a proper fit.  Here I'm placing one of the pieces in place after trimming it.

Applying the 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the center edge of each piece of glass.

Using a "fid" or flat plastic wand to burnish the foil onto the glass.

More foiling. You can see in the background that nearly all of the window has now been foiled.

Before I foil the "signature piece", I use an electric engraver to etch my name, month and year into the glass.

The next steps are to apply liquid flux to the foil.  Then I "tack solder" the glass together at the junctions and randomly throughout the window.  Once the pieces are locked, I remove the aluminum "fence" and slide out the "cartoon".  I did this for both windows.

Then I solder the front of each window.  Then my husband Eric custom-cuts the zinc frame for each window.

I put the aluminum frame back on, to secure the new frame.  Then I solder it in place at the corners and at the lead lines, as shown.

Here's one of the hanging hooks, soldered in place.

Now I'm applying liquid black patina to the solder.  After its allowed to set, I wash it off with a neutralizing spray.

Here's one of the two windows which has just been patina-ed.  After the patina is dry, I apply stained glass finishing compound which is a light wax.

Here is one of the windows, completed ..

And here is the other one!

And here are both together

And here they are, in the dining room, after Eric installed them.
Thank you Pam and Phil .. It was a pleasure meeting you and creating these beauties for your room.  May you and your family enjoy them for years to come!

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

If you're on FaceBook, please click here to "like" my BoehmStained Glass Studio page to keep up with all the latest projects.  Thank you!