Monday, August 2, 2021

I Shouldn't Have Licked That


I see students often break glass because they shoot for too much at once.   Remember that glass wants to break in a straight line and the more you make your score line wobble back and forth, the better the chance of it breaking incorrectly.  I see this happen all the time when students make our popular hand mirror pattern.   I've simplified the problematic piece for this example but I still think that many students will recognize where this piece came from.

The image on the left is what we are trying to cut and the red line on the right shows the score line that most students try to make.  It's a bad choice.   All of those compound curves are bound to send the break careening off in an undesired direction.  Instead of making it all in one cut we need to break it down into smaller, easier sections.

In the image below the red line on the leftmost image is the first cut that you should make.  It's still one long cut but there's nothing sudden about the curves and when you really look at it you'll see that it's essentially two straight lines with a slight curve in the center.   How did we come up with the shape for this cut?  Well, the first rule to cutting an inside curve is cutting point to point.   That's what the long red line on the left does.  We are simply cutting from one outside curve to the next outside curve in a long single continuous line.   This gets rid of a lot of excess glass and helps to ensure that all of the scallops we cut next will break on the score lines we are about to make.

The next step actually consists of eight separate cuts.  I call this 'scalloping' and it's amazing how many times you see this series of cuts appear in different windows.  Each scallop is its own inside curve so we want to take them one at a time.  You can either score all of the lines at once or break each score line as you make it.  Just follow the red and green lines and numbers on the right.  The big trick here is to recognize when you should break cuts up into smaller, simpler score lines.

Now let's take a look at Susan's Spring Window which is an amazingly detailed piece of stained glass.  Measuring a mere 14 by 7 inches, the straight lines in the pieces that spell out the word 'Spring' are not even a quarter inch wide.  There are just so many flowers to look at in this pattern that I never even noticed the cardinal that resides in it until last week.  What a wonderful job Susan did on this!


I've been saying for a while how nice Tracey's Hummingbird and Morning Glories window was going to turn out and, as always, I'm right again!  The crooked lines that make up the breaks in the background glass are, to me, the thing that make this look most like a classic L.C. Tiffany Window.  Tracey did marvelous work on this and her choice of colors are spot on!

Kerry bucked traditional and instead of making his Stylized Fleur De Lis Window in assorted ambers he went with a blue color scheme.  The end result is not only stunning but wholly original as well.   People sometimes get too hung on on having perfectly matching colors throughout a window but this proves that you can take 4 similar shades of a single color and use them to make one heck of an eye catching piece of stained glass.
Susan R completed her two Stylized Sunflower Flower Pot Ornaments and I have to ask if I'm the only person who sees a 3D effect because of the angled yellow bars along the bottom right and left of this design?  It's a cool effect and it's truly what makes this a 'stylized' Sunflower rather than just a Sunflower.  I also like how Susan incorporated some unusual glass globs into the design.  That's even more 'stylization' right there.

Barbara H's latest Small Iris Window is every bit as wonderful as the last one that she made.   The only difference is that this one is yellow rather than purple.  I love when students change things up and Barbara had no qualms about using a new color scheme for her latest iteration of what is now a classic window design.
Linda F's newest Ladybug on a Leaf Panel is very different from her last one because it's a completely different pattern.   This one features wire work in the form of legs and antennae that really set it off in a wonderful way.   We know that because Linda showed everyone the window before the legs were attached and they loved it.  Then, after I mentioned that we still needed to add wires and finally got them attached everyone agreed that it made a world of a difference.  Obviously the ladybug is in the details!
Linda L has two more Cardinals Suncatchers under her belt now and her cutting and grinding abilities appear to be at the very peak of Linda's zenith.  It just doesn't get any better than this. Or does it?  We'll see what else Linda is up to a little further on in this post.

Lisa finished her four Art Nouveau type Nightlights and I have to show you what they look like lit up for you to really appreciate them.   Lisa is on a roll and loves to figure out things for herself.  Case in point,  I walked a way and came back expecting to show her how to attach the clips that hold the stained glass to the nightlight base but when I came back she had already attached them on her own.  Impressive!

 Here's a look at all four of Lisa's Nightlights (alas, they aren't lit up).
Pumpkins are back in style as Helen proves with her latest Pumpkin Suncatcher.  Helen works long and hard while at home during the week and seems to come into class with at least one completed project every week.   This is here latest.
And here are Betty's four latest Crosses.   The bottom Cross was made from a single sheet of blue iridised glass which has a lot of pink running throughout it which doesn't really photograph very well.   Me, I really like the Cross on the right since it's made up of the most common colors used in church windows.   Although the effect wasn't made intentionally it stands out nicely to me.

This week saw Annette get her Crow and Moon Window wrapped and ready to be tacked together.  The border for this only partially wraps around the subject matter which makes it a tad bit trickier to grind this window (which explains the pinned down yard sticks) but the end result will be well worth it.   

Sheri has begun work on two Yippie Flag Windows and she's already got them cut out (for the most part).   She's going to completely grind each of these windows after which she'll cut all of the details into the leaves which will make this window more detailed without having to deal with so many tiny pieces to grind.

Betty also has two pairs of Cardinals cut out, ground, and tacked together.   She's going to mount these into hoops but wants them to reside mainly inside the hoops.   The previous version we saw of these Cardinals had the birds literally perched on the bottom of the hoop so in this application we're going to add a branch within the hoop so that the birds don't appear to be floating in mid air.  You can see how we've drawn in the branch on the left pair of Cardinals.

Cheryl got her Scales Of Justice Window all ground and it's now ready to be wrapped. One of the top pieces of background glass was ground a little too short but rather than re-cutting it she simply trimmed 1/8th of an inch from the tops of the four other pieces that reside along the top edge of the window.   Sometimes the easiest way to fix something is the less obvious way.

Linda L is working on a fleet of Flower Angels and she has all eight of them cut, ground and ready to be wrapped.  People always ask me why these are called Flower Angels and I always tell them to hold the angel upside down and look at it from that angle.  This is highlighted perfectly in the picture below since all but the bottom right two angels are upside down.  Also note the precision that Linda demonstrated while cutting and grinding these.  They look as though they were stamped out by a machine which again proves that Linda is at the top of her game.
Bee decided to make a long Flowerpot Window but it needed to be a specific size.  Against all odds the pattern that she liked was the exact height that she needed it to be!  However, it was shy in width by about 6 inches.   To fix that she added another flower pot to the right hand side of the pattern and added another flower to it.  Problem solved!  I have to say that she did an excellent job adding that extra flower into the mix because it fits in beautifully without obviously repeating any of the others.
With the first side of her Pelican Window now completely cut out and soldered, Cindy will undoubtedly finish this upon her return. It doesn't take her long to put together these complex windows and when you see this again next week it will be lit up to reveal all of its splendor.

Judy's Wine Ladies Window will also be finished when we next see it again because, like Cindy's window, Judy has the front side of her window completely soldered as well.   Also, Judy has the second side soldered leaving only some touch up work left to do which will then be followed by some brass channel to protect the edges of this rather festive window.

Linda F has her own version of the Heart/Flag Hoop just about ready to be put together.  These take very little time to solder and since Linda only has 7 pieces of glass left to wrap I'm thinking that she'll be working on something new when we see her again.

It looks to me as though next week will be very busy with completed projects.   I really thought that Shawn would be taking this home with her this week but in the end we ran out of time just before adding some wire work and then washing and coloring this Scuba Window.  This will be finished next week for sure.
Mary proved to me that she really knows her stuff this week when she asked if it would be practical to grind and wrap her Dueling Hummingbird Suncatcher in sections so that things wouldn't shift around as much.   The answer was not just yes, but a very big YES!  She's got the center rose ground wrapped and tacked and will next move along to either of the hummingbirds when she returns.  It's all coming together now for Mary.  

Lastly we have Mary Grace who is making a 3D Diamond Trinket Holder and has all 8 pieces cut out and matched perfectly.  It's so important that all 8 pieces are exact matches or they will not line up when she puts this together.   I understand that you have no clue what this will look like from the picture below but next week things will be readily apparent, mark my words.

Yes, it was another busy week with a lot of projects being completed.  Things are moving along quickly and next week will be no exception so be sure to check back with us for our next update.


Monday, July 26, 2021

Don't Over Engineer It

Finally we get to the Running Pliers Adjustment Lesson that I've been talking about for about a month now.  People think that setting your pliers is akin to rocket science but it isn't at all.  First, the reason we have an adjustment screw is to prevent too much pressure from forcing the break to jump off of the score line.   Can we correctly break glass without setting your pliers?  Most of the time the answer is yes but while you are making a complex cut you should ALWAYS adjust your pliers to the glass you are cutting.  Here's how to do that in 4 simple steps:

First of all, the picture of the pliers below do not show a piece of glass in them.   The glare from the flash was obscuring the view of the pliers so I removed the glass while taking the pictures below.  YOUR GLASS SHOULD BE IN YOUR PLIERS WHILE YOU ARE ADJUSTING YOUR SET SCREW!

1) First, locate your set screw.   The green arrow is pointing to it in image #1.

2) Twist the set screw counterclockwise about a quarter of a turn so that the pliers jaws no longer squeeze against your glass.

3) Lightly twist the set screw clockwise until it stops turning.  Use a light touch-- do not force the set screw to close any further once you feel it stop. 

4) Lastly, turn the set screw counter clockwise just the smallest amount.  Picture the numbers on a clock and turn the set screw from the 12 position to the 11position.   That's it!

Waterglass and textured glasses are notorious for being different thicknesses throughout the sheet so adjust your pliers for each tricky cut that you make by placing your pliers on the score line as you set them.   That's all there is to it.  I can set a pair of pliers in a second or less-- no lie.   This little tip will inevitably help you get your complex cuts out quickly, efficiently, and in one piece!

First up in our completed projects we look at Shelley's Sunburst patter.   She really wanted to do something less simplistic than this pattern but I have to say that the end result of this minimalist window is nothing short of striking.  Perhaps it's the fact that she used all Cathedral Glass which makes it light up spectacularly, or perhaps it's just Shelley's workmanship-- nonetheless it's sensational and it's earned the top spot in our completed windows of the week.

With Christmas of 2021 being 90 days away Rowena decided that she'd best get on her sleigh and get some Christmas projects started.   It turns out she did better than that though because she whipped this Santa Face Window out in just two short weeks.  The best news is that this is ready in time for Christmas even though Christmas is less than 60 days away.  Where, oh where did this year go to?.

Mary Grace finished her Flag/Heart Hoop and does it ever look great.  Pay attention to the grain of the clear glass that Mary Grace used for the star.  The grain radiates outward from the center of the star to the end points of each arm of the star.  The effect is much more dramatic than if she had cut it all going in one single direction.  This is a great example of the grain of your glass having a noticeable effect on your finished piece.
Linda L found 3 Bird Lawn Ornaments that she had cut out last year and forgotten about.  This week she hauled them out of their hiding spot, wrapped and soldered them and then took them home to decorate a few flower pots scattered throughout her yard.   It's always nice to stumble across an old project you'd started but never completed because it gives you a head start on getting something accomplished quickly.
Helen is on a Cross making roll as she belted out two different styled Cross Suncatchers of two different sizes.  You can see that she likes mixing clear glass with bevels and even though one of these has 5 bevels and the other only one, well I can't pick a favorite because they're both equally wonderful. 


I have to say that I love Sheri's Peace Sign Hands.   I know she's made at least one of them before but I didn't get to see it.   Now that she's working on three more I finally get to see just how nice these are.   Do you know the simple way to cut out three items with three assorted mixed colors?   Just cut out one complete red hand, one complete white hand, and then one complete blue hand.  Juggle the pieces around and you end up with what Sheri has cut out below.



Cindy is waiting for glass to border her Pelican Window so at the end of the night she began work on another Cross pattern.  She's already got all of the purple glass cut out for it so I'm thinking this will be completed before her Pelican Window which we'll see a little later on in this post.



Susan's Spring Panel is ready to be sprung now that she's got it all foiled and ready for solder.  I know she isn't going to wait until next week to begin soldering it so I'm anxious to see what she'll walk in the door with when she returns.   I have to give her a lot of credit for accomplishing all of her work on this entirely on her own as well as being VERY, VERY quick yet painstakingly precise.


Cheryl is well on her way to finishing her Scales Of Justice Window.  She's got the lions share of the grinding completed so she'll easily begin wrapping all of her pieces when she comes back in.  And speaking of wrapping her pieces, the two pans have been cut out of the same glass as her background so they're hard to see right now but Cheryl will end up covering these two pieces in sheet foil and then cover them over with lead adding an extra bit or artistic flair to her finished window.

With yet another Stylized Sunflower Lawn Ornament all cut and ground Susan R is ready to begin soldering these two decorations and get them ready for yard duty!  I'm anxious to see these completed because I think they're going to look marvelous.   I'll prove that when we next return.

Linda L had some extra time since her three Lawn Ornament Birds had already been cut out so she also worked on this Cardinal Suncatcher as well.  As you can see, this bird's almost finished just one week into it's creation!

Next up is Cindy's Pelican Window that we talked about earlier.  Cindy had a very busy class because she managed to get all of her water and sky cut, ground, wrapped and tacked together.  All she needs now is the beak, the rope, and the border which will all be cut from the same piece of glass that she doesn't have yet.   And that's why she then moved along to her Cross Suncatcher near the end of the night.  Hopefully she'll have the glass that she needs to finish this Pelican when she comes back in.

After contemplating numerous sheets of glass Judy decided to use a medium purple for her thin inner border and then use a different textured clear glass for her final border.  It's all been cut, ground, and foiled so once that final border gets tacked onto the window Judy will begin soldering her Wine Ladies.

When Kerry walked in the door he set to work wrapping all of the pieces to his Stylized Fleur De Lis Window.  Once that was done he tacked it together and then cut out a border for the window.   By the time everything was tacked together there were only ten minutes left of class so Kerry decided to call it a night and begin soldering this when he comes back in next week.  This window is almost a done deal already.
Lastly we look at the small Louisiana Iris Window that Barbara H resumed work on.   Like Kerry's window above, this is all tacked together and ready to be soldered.   I'm certain that will happen when Barbara comes back in and I'm also certain that this will be finished because believe it or not, this 'window' is only 6 inches wide and tall!  Yep, those are some small pieces there.

So there you have it.  A small set of classes that still provided us with a good amount of completed projects.  And we'll see even more in our next post when we hopefully see you all again.


Monday, July 19, 2021

He's Got a Naked Problem

We've been away for two weeks due to a vacation so let's jump right on in here. Sheri's Chakra Yoga Window is completed and it strikes an impressive pose while standing more than three feet high.   The highlights of this window are the jewels that run down the center of the body.  They're an inch and a half in diameter with a similar depth.   That means that when this window is laying down on its back it wobbles since it's raised along the center.   To compensate for this while Sheri worked on it we rested the window on ceiling tiles leaving a slot opened along the center for the jewels to poke through.   There's never a dull moment when you're using mixed media in stained glass. Sheri feels that she had numerous issues while making this but no window every goes smoothly-- trust me.   All in all her work was great and I have to say that her soldering is phenomenal!

Next up we have another example of a window that doesn't rest flat due to, once again,  3D pieces used within it.   Linda L used five depression saucers and turned them into flowers in her unique Flower Garden Window.   At first she was going to have the saucers extrude from the back side of the window but in the end she reversed them so that they 'poke out' from the front.  The end result is stunning and Linda is ready to move along to something new next week.
I love a good challenge and when Lara came in saying that she really hoped to get her large Rectangles Window  completed before class ended I knew that we'd manage to get it finished on time.  At the end of the night, after first adding a beveled border and then soldering both the front and back of the window, Lara walked out the door with a smile on her face and a completed project on the back seat of her car.  Check out those perfect straight lines-- that's attention to detail.
Bee Finished her Holy Ghost Window and it's worthy of all the praise it gets! She did an outstanding job lining everything up and getting those sun rays straight (as well as cutting them out from one sheet of glass because, let me tell you, it was close!) The end result is a window we may very well see again since out students love religious themed pieces.  The wire work that makes the beak of this Dove really sets this piece off because as a cut that would be very difficult to do.
Cindy came in and surprised me in the middle of class by pulling out this window that she started and completed while at home.   She had drawn up the pattern up from a tattoo but decided to make her stained glass rendition of the design in assorted clear textures.  I was floored when I saw what she'd accomplished because she never said one work to me about this at all.   Great work all around!
Cheryl's made a religious window of her own featuring a beveled cross set into a small circle.   She had thought that brass channel would be applied to the edge of this piece but you can only bend zinc channel and it doesn't bend into a small circle so Cheryl finished this off by putting a bead along the outside edge.  She was also concerned that the circle wasn't very circular but like the design itself it looks perfect to me.

 Barbara's Starburst Suncatcher stands about 12 inches tall and although it looks simple enough to make it's not what I'd call a beginners project.   For this piece to hang straight and for the center to be rounded with lead all of the thin triangular cuts need to be absolutely perfect.   The secret is to cut two of the lines on each triangle perfectly and then leave an extra 16th of an inch along the third line to account for any breakage that may occur along the points.  As you can see, Barbara handled it like a professional.
Linda F's first Ladybug window is officially ready to be framed and displayed in her yard.  I'm proud to tell you that Linda made this entire window COMPLETELY by herself.  I have a habit of grabbing and putting channel on everyone's windows but Linda insisted on cutting and applying her own brass channel which I suppose means that she no longer needs me.  And do you know what? I couldn't have done a better job myself!
Martha is making a total of seven of these feathers (it's a good thing I re-read this post because I was calling this a leaf!) and this is her first one.   She's using all different colors and later on you'll see how they all stack up.  If the first one is any indication of how the rest will look I'm going to go out on a limb here (well, that joke doesn't work now that I've changed 'leaf' to 'feather') and predict that the rest of these will look incredible!
Next up we take a look at Lisa's work.   She's completed 3 Harry Potter Sorting Hat Nightlights during our time off and her end results are actually very predictable-- they're Gr-r-reat!  They're also all spoken for so if you want one you'll just have to make your own or pay her the big bucks to make one for you!
Helen is back and she finished up work on two small pieces during her first class back- a Tulip and a Christmas Tree.  She was originally going to add a border to the tulip but she'd soldered both sides which means that the glass for the border didn't align flush with the rest of the piece so she opted to surround this with brass channel and simply call it finished.  There's nothing wrong with that because, as you can see, these both turned out to be lovely pieces!


Judy spent her time 'off' grinding her Wine Ladies and once we refit a piece or two she'll begin the wrapping process of this project.   There's no doubt that we'll see a border on this when she returns because Judy only has a handful of pieces left to wrap before she can tack this and move on over to the next phase of this windows creation.

Kerry finished cutting out the pieces for his blue Stylized Fleur De Lis  Window and even got the majority of it ground and fitted together.  This is another window that could very well see a border applied to it next week. I love the colors because they're different and I like how Kerry has made this window 'his own' by shucking the more traditional amber color scheme that this is normally made in.


Cindy's also working on a Brown Pelican Window which is coming together more and more each week that she works on it.  Truth be told, once the back feathers are completed the rest of this will be a piece of cake for Cindy.

Susan R began making two more Lawn Ornaments and we've never seen anything like these before.   There's an unconventionality about this design that works wonderfully with the colors that she's chosen.  Her first one is all cut and ground and ready to be wrapped so it will surely be finished before you know it.
Lisa, who made the Sorting Hat Nightlights that we looked at earlier in this post is apparently hot on making nightlights!  These four draw on an Art Nouveau look with curves cutting into circles which are a little hard to see here right now but which will become readily apparent once they are wrapped and prepped for soldering.
With her clouds, sky and moon all ground and fitting together Annette is ready to begin work on her border pieces and the legs and beak of this grand Crow Window.  We're going to etch the black glass for the legs and the beak to give it a duller look for a little extra character.  I think it's going to look great!

Linda F's second Ladybug Panel would have possibly been completed as well this week but she just didn't care for the border color that she had cut out for it and therefor decided to change it out.   The white border makes the center pop stand out and now she (and I) are thoroughly content with it!

I'm telling you now (and for the last time) that Tracey's latest Hummingbird window is going to be a showstopper. I suspect that with the front side of this soldered already that you'll be seeing the end result of Tracey's hard work on this when she returns to class next week.  Myself, I can't wait to see this hanging up with some light behind it.

Spring has surely sprung!  Susan D's latest 'season' panel is all cut out and now she's busy wrapping all of those intricate little pieces with copper foil.   She said that it's growing a little bit and that she's had to re-grind a piece or two here and there but it's  already looking impressive even before solder gets applied to it.

Mary's got a complex pattern of her own going on and she is now cutting out all of the flowing scroll work that connects her two humming birds and the rose together.   There's a good chance that she'll be grinding this when she comes back in but even in its un-ground state this is already looking  fabulous.

Shelley almost wrapped up the work on her Sunburst window while she was in this week.  With only the back side of this left to solder I know that this will be out the door next week (if she doesn't finish it at home herself which she does from time to time.) This will end up being mounted in a frame for hanging which explains why there is no border surrounding it (and thus no way to attach hooks securely to it). 
Mary Grace has her Flag/Heart so close to being completed that I know it will be finished when we return next week.   Alas, I dropped a huge ball of melted lead on one of the red stripes and wouldn't you know that it broke the piece.  I promise to fix that for Mary Grace as soon as she comes back in.   As I always say, "You can't make a window without breaking some glass."

Shawn certainly accomplished a lot this week with her Diver Window.  First she finished foiling four pieces of glass that were inadvertently skipped when she was last in.  Then she tacked everything together with lead.  Next she filled in the missing piece of sand and we redesigned and cut glass for the face of the diver which she had left empty the last time we saw this.  After wrapping and tacking the newly cut pieces Shawn picked out a border color (a rich deep blue) and cut them to fit this octagon window which is a bit more involved than cutting a regular square or rectangular border.   Now that's what I call a busy evening! The good news is that the lions share of the work has been completed on this window now.
Betty has four more crosses that she's working on and they are very close to being completed. Three of them are soldered and only need to have a hook attached to each of them which leaves one left to go.   We'll surely see four completed Crosses in our next update.
And to wind this all up we'll look at the stack of six more feathers that Martha has all cut out and ready to be ground.  I'm going to suggest that she grind them all at once and bag them individually rather than grinding one feather and then wrapping it and soldering it.   Believe it or not, things actually go much faster if you cut out everything, then grind everything, then wrap everything and finally solder all of the feathers.

And there you have it, all the news that's fit to print.