My customer needed inspiration for a design, so I brought her several pattern books from my extensive library. This is the one which caught her eye. It features clear textured glass, rectangular bevels, and a central bevel cluster. This was a good starting point. Her window is 19" wide by 54" high.
There are hundreds of bevel clusters available from several companies. I chose a variety of them for her to consider, and here was the winner. This bevel cluster has 13 pieces and measures 9-7/8" wide by 18.35" tall.
Here is my computer rendition, scaled to fit her window. For the outer border we decided on clear swirly Baroque glass. Inside that border is a box of 3/4" bevels. Then for the larger squares, we opted to use clear glue chip glass. And then the bevel in the center is the focal point.
The pattern making begins by taping together Manila folders as shown.
Here I’m applying copper foil to the edges of each piece of the bevel cluster. You’ll notice that the inside of the foil is black. This is so that when I patina the solder in black, the inside of the foil will not be seen through the clear glass.
Now all of the bevel cluster pieces have been foiled. I’ve pinned them down securely on my work surface. I’m now applying liquid flux to the foil. This is a catalyst which enables the solder to flow freely.
Here you can see the progression of the soldering. On the left side of the bevel cluster I’ve done “tack soldering”. This is to lock the pieces together so they don’t shift. On the right side, I’ve competed much of the full soldering. I turned the cluster over and fully soldered the back as well.
After the pieces are locked together, I took out the push pins and slid the pattern out from underneath.
I set the bevel cluster aside and turned my attention to the “pencil” bevels. Here I’ve got them push pinned against a straight edge. I’ll solder then where they join and lay them as a unit onto the “cartoon”.
Back to the pattern .. After all of the markings have been transferred from the original “cartoon” to the Manila folders, I cut the border with regular scissors. I use specialized, double-bladed pattern shears to cut out the individual pattern pieces. These shears leave a small space between pieces. This is taken up later by copper foil.
Now all the pattern pieces have been cut out.
This is the “cartoon” or pattern on which all the cut pieces are laid in preparation for soldering. You’ll notice that there’s an aluminum “fence” that’s push-pinned against the border. This is to prevent the cut pieces of glass from shifting as I work. At this point, The bevel cluster is soldered and in place, as are the pencil bevels. As I’ve mentioned before, the bevels are the “boss”, so they go down first.
Here I’ve traced the pattern for two pieces of Glue Chip glass and I’m using an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter to cut the glass. If my left hand weren’t holding the camera, I’d be pressing down on that yellow ruler for stability. (That’s how I normally hand cut glass with straight edges).
As each piece of glass is cut, I bring it to the electric grinder. This enables the copper foil to adhere better and it also makes the glass safe to handle.
Another view showing the whole window.
Etching my signature and date into the piece at the lower left corner.
Here I've inserted one of several lengths of copper reinforcement. It will serve to strengthen the window. It is fitted between the pieces of glass and becomes invisible after soldering.
At this point, all the glass has been cut and all the copper foil has been applied.
Brushing on the liquid flux. This is a chemical which permits the solder to flow freely over the foil.
Tack soldering. At this point in the process, I apply small amounts of solder to random areas to connect the glass together.
After the front has been tack soldered, it’s safe to remove the metal “fence” which served to lock the pieces in place. I’ve done that here and am in the process of sliding out the “cartoon” or original pattern.
My husband Eric is using a tool which creates the angles for the zinc frame.
Here Eric has put the side frames in place.
After all sides of the frame is cut, he puts the fence back on to hold them in place. Here I’ve soldered the corners and the lead lines to the frame.
In one of the final steps, I’m applying black patina to the solder. This chemical works instantly. After it sets for a bit, I wash off the remainder with a neutralizing chemical spray. After it dries, I apply stained glass finishing compound, which is a light wax. This helps to protect the patina and give the glass a nice shine.
And here is the window, prior to the final cleaning.
Here's a view after the evening installation. You can clearly see the textures in the glass.
Another view taken at night, from outside my customer's home.
And here is a photo taken the following morning, courtesy of my customer. Thank you Linda, for having Eric and I work with you on this pretty window. May you enjoy it for years to come!
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