Monday, September 25, 2017

My Rat Trap

This week we start things off with instructions for making a strip cutter board.  It works quite well with this Glastar Strip and Circle Cutter and similar strip cutters made by other manufacturers.

A Strip Cutters is essential for cutting professional looking borders that do not deviate in width along its length.  I would never cut a border without one and insist that our students use a strip cutter as well.

Putting together the wooden cutter board is actually very simple and only requires 3 items:  a Cutting Surface board, a Running Board, and a wooden yardstick.

Sizes can vary but you should have a cutting surface with a height of 36 inches so it can accommodate a full sheet of glass.  My Cutting Surface Board measures 36 x 24 x 1/2.
Along the left edge of the Cutting Surface board I've attach my Running Board which measures 36 x 2 1/2 x 3/4 with 6 screws.    It is very important that this board be perfectly straight because this is what your strip cutting will be traveling along.  If the board wavers, all of your strips will waver as well.   It also has to be 3/4" tall so that the strip cutter will remain level as you slide it along the Running Board.   Lastly, I've screwed a wooden yard stick along the bottom edge to act as a brace which stops the glass from shifting as you pull the cutter down the board.  Just be sure to use a square so that the yard stick is at a perfect right angle to the Running Board.

And that's all there is to a Strip Cutter Board.  If space is an issue you can always just mount a 36 x 2 1/2 x 3/4 Running Board to the edge of your work table.   The only issue with that solution is that you have to clean your table each time you want to cut strips.  Yes, I use my Strip Cutting Board on a table but I have been known to use it on the floor when space is limited.

Okay then, Sheri's Heron Window is finished and all her hard work has paid off in spades.   Everything lines up perfectly and her soldering is top notch.   Large windows like these can take a toll on you due to the amount of time that is spent working on them but just look at the end result.  Beautiful.

Janelle's Pelican Window was also completed this week and what a great job she did on this, her second window.  She had her doubts along the way but in the end the finished piece speaks for itself.   I'm just sorry I referred to it as a Seagull two weeks in a row!

Ann  completed her first two Crosses this week and they are perfect.   I remember when Ann started long ago and struggled to get pieces to fit together.  Now she lines up her projects with the greatest of ease.  Let me also say that the work she did on putting solder on the edges of these crosses is nothing short of outstanding.

Bonnie has finished her Glob Tree which I'm calling her Tree Of Life.  The pictures that you see in the tree have been photoshopped into place by me to show you the effect that Bonnie is going for.  They are NOT her actual family-- just models pretending to be her family here on the blog.

Betty completed her second Day Lily Oval and I think she made much better time on it as compared to her first one.   The workmanship is still the same perfect job that Betty always achieves but that's simply to be expected.

Angie was back in this week and both started and finished this stylized Angel Suncatcher.  These are becoming popular since Rowena is making one and Jeannette took the pattern along home with her as well.


Our newest student's name is Paul and he skipped doing the butterfly because he wanted to make this pair of Angel Wings Heart instead.  Since he has some experience in making stained glass we let him do what he wanted and in an hour and a half he finished this.

Susan R is grinding her Summer Window already and the pieces are just dropping into place perfectly.   At the rate she's going she'll be ready to wrap this before you know it.  And let me tell you that Susan can fly through the soldering process!


 Myrt accidentally left the glass that she was going to use for her back ground at home so instead of cutting glass she ended up grinding the pieces that she had cut the week before.   We find her guilty of absentmindedness (but boy can she do nice work)!

Linda F started this new Butterfly design by cutting out her pieces and by the time class was over she even had it ground.   Once this is wrapped it will only take a half hour to solder and then finish up.   I think we're going to really go hog wild and curve the wings in multiple directions on this one!

Jan finished grinding her Sunburst Window and has even begun to wrap it.   Her work has improved in a dramatic way and her color choices on this are magnificent.   There is one piece of background glass that we need to re-cut since its neighboring piece of yellow broke incorrectly, but since the break was small we're going to use the yellow piece and adjust the background to fit it.

Barbara H has made incredible progress on her Tulips Window.   She's working at a nice steady pace and as you can see it's all coming together in a beautiful way.   There are still two or three more shades of green left to cut out for the remainder of the leaves which means that this window is just going to look better and better with every piece that Barbara cuts.


Jeannette spent her day with us at the grinder where she practically got her entire window fitting together in just one class.  She's taken it home to begin wrapping the pieces that she's ground and will most likely finish it before you know it.  I already know for a fact that this is going to be one beautiful window. 

Linda L  has ground her LOVE Window and it has been ground to absolute perfection!   I am thrilled with how wonderfully this fits together.   Linda says she wanted to take her time so that the lettering would be nice and she certainly succeeded because you can't even tell that there's any clear glass in this at all!

Lara has all of her African Woman Window soldered and the only thing left to do is make a few touch ups, cover the brass channel with lead, and add two hooks.  It's a shame that she got this close to finishing  but in the end time won out and forced Lara to abandon her window until next week.     

Martha has finished soldering the front side of her deer window and is making her way through the back side of it now.  That means that this will, without a doubt, be completed when she comes back into class next week.  

Terry has begun work on another Ribbon and Flowers Circular Window.   After getting the pattern traced onto poster board and then cut into its individual pattern pieces she then proceeded to cut her iridized white back ground pieces.

Mary accomplished a great deal this week and left with all of her Bird Window soldered.    The only thing left to do is touch up a few rough spots and then Mary will be able to wash and color this window.   In fact, she'll have this done quickly enough to be able to start her next project when she returns for her next class.

After completing her Heron Window, Sheri began working on these two butterflies.  As you can see, she's got the first one (on the right) cut and ground already and she's made great progress on the second butterfly.   I'm not sure of these will be hung in a window or put on stakes to become Lawn Ornaments but I do know that the one on the right will have curved wings.

Tracey 's Deer Window is all ready for solder after she spent the class wrapping and attaching her final border and finally filling in a few missing pieces.  This will be a nice relaxing soldering job so Tracey should have a restful, easy class when she returns.

Susan D has over 100 leaves cut out for her latest Flower Cornucopia and she spent the day at the grinder smoothing out the curves in all of those pieces.   Luckily they don't need to fit together so just rounding things off and tacking of the sharp edges will do just fine for these leaves.

Cindy  has the sixth side for her Panel Lamp all ground and ready to be wrapped. Her game plan is to have it soldered when she comes back into class and then be able to tack the 6 sides together to make one complete lamp.

Brenda  now has all of the bevels for her two small Transom Windows wrapped in 3/16ths foil Once that was done and we laid out the basic design I saw that something was 'off'.   I could plainly see that the inner beveled border was too close to the edge of the window but I couldn't figure out why.    After measuring and re-measuring numerous times we discovered that these are NOT the same height as the window that sits in between them.    Now that we know why there was a discrepancy I know how we're going to make this work.   And you'll see that come to light when we return.

Mary Grace now has all of the glass borders attached to her Hibiscus Window and even has her channel attached.   We're going to break out two pieces of leaves that stop at the end of one of the borders and make it reach out all the way into the next border so that it matches the leaves on the other side.   If all the others are complete leaves there's no reason for this one to be cut in half.  Id love to show it to you but I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of it!!!

Then there's Becky S who worked on this all night long.   What you see is the table that her project was on as she worked on her Geometric Window that she ran out the door too quickly for me.  In all seriousness though, she did get much more glass cut and it looked to me as if she might be getting ready to grind her pieces!


So there you have it--  Everything that occurred during classes last week.  We hope that you'll come back again a week from now so we can get you up to speed on what's about to happen this week since classes start again tomorrow morning. 


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