Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's Hip To Be Square

Making a window is one thing-- making sure that your window is square is another.  Most windows that have four straight sides need to be 'square' which means that each of the 4 corners measure 90 degrees.  It's something that carpenters build to and something that all windows should aspire to be.  Almost everyone knows that there's a tool called a Square and that it looks like a large metal L.  The angle on a Metal Square is a perfect 90 degrees.  Interestingly enough, ou don't need four Metal Squares to make sure your window is perfectly square-- just one will do.  But having two Metal Squares makes things easier though.  So let's see how we do that.

First off, a 'square' window has only 2 measurements, its height and its width.  Neither of these measurements will vary throughout the window.   If your window is 9" tall on the left side it should be 9" tall on the right (as well as in the center and all point in between).  The same goes for its width.  If your window is 12" wide on the bottom it should also be 12" tall across the top edge.  If it isn't then your window is not square. It's as simple as that.

If you have just one Metal Square you should place it in the bottom left corner and build your window inside it.  (The diagrams below have the Metal Square removed from the outline of the windows to simplify the diagrams.)  If you know that one corner is square you can easily line up the rest of your window with a few simple measurements.

If you know that your bottom left corner is a perfect 90 degrees all you need is a tape measure or a yardstick  to make sure the rest of your window squares up.  The left side measurement should be exactly the same as your right side measurement.  The same goes for your top and bottom measurements.  It's VERY important that top and bottom match, and then left and right match.

One of the biggest mistakes in using two Metal Squares is placing them in opposing corners.  This does NOT ensure that your window will be square!  As you can see in the diagram below the top Metal Square is off considerably.  If you think that you can tell when your two Metal Squares are properly placed just by looking at them, think again-- you can't.  That's why Metal Squares exist.

If you have two Metal Squares the diagram below shows the best way to use them.  By overlapping the bottoms you can ensure that your two bottom corners are perfectly square.  One your have that done all you have to do is measure the height of your window to make sure the top two corners are perfect.

As you can see below we have a perfect 9 inches running all the way across our window.  This means that  we've ensured that all four corners are a perfect 90 degrees using just 2 Metal Squares

If you don't have a Metal Square and you plan on making more than a window or two you really need to purchase at least one.  They're relatively inexpensive and will make your life easier, especially if you are making a window that fits perfectly into an opening.

DO remember this:  Almost all rectangular or square patterns that you purchase (or that I draw for you) are drawn perfectly square.  If you don't have a Metal Square then follow the lines on your pattern precisely and you should be fine.  It may sound complicated at first, but once you start paying attention to squareness while you are building a window you'll see that it becomes second nature to you.

Okay, with that out of the way let's take a look at what our students were up to in class on the first week after Easter.

Well, Linda F has completed her Christmas Wreath Window and all I can say is, "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!"  Because without snow there's no way this window will remind you of Christmas at all.  And that's a good thing because Linda really wasn't looking to make a seasonal window.  She wanted something she could hang year round and I do think that this window fills the bill..

Rowena completed her Beveled Cross Window and it's another smashing success.  (Figuratively speaking, of course.)  She took her time soldering it and all in all I have to say that she's done extremely well.  She's got all the basics down and with each new project she makes she'll fine tune all of her skills.  As you can see, there's nothing wrong with this window!  Expect to see Rowena start a Humming Bird Window when she comes back in.

Betty's Iris and Dragonfly Window really looks spectacular.  Her use of color, her cutting and her grinding are perfect and I suspect that I am going to love this window when it's finished.  I do see a slight problem with it that we'll fix when she comes back in-- nothing major but something that obstructs the flow due to a single untraced line.  Can you spot it because this is your last chance-- it will be fixed when you see this window again in its finished form.

Bonnie resumed work on her Round/Square Cross Window but she's doing hers a little differently from the ones we've seen done in the past.  Bonnie has added a thin border to the beveled cross which helps pull it out of the background.  And speaking of background, she has hers all cut and ground already which means that she'll be working on the final border when she comes back in.

Carol's Winnie Window is really looking great.  This is the first Winnie The Pooh Window I've seen done in years and I can honestly say that Pooh's arrival here in the shop is long overdue.  Carol got the final piece of sky cut and tacked into place before cutting her red border.  She'll be soldering this when she returns and since she's taken her border pieces home with her to wrap she'll start soldering right away.

Jeannette came in and colored the large Beveled Cross Window that you saw completed last week--  I the lead just wasn't colored yet which never stops me from taking a completed picture of a window.  Once that was done she set her mind on making two smaller beveled cross suncatchers using the same design only without a background.  She got them both cut out and learned how to use pattern section replication to her advantage.  She also started grinding them and as you can see she has the first one almost finished already.

After completing her Christmas Wreath Window Linda F resumed work on her Oval/Square Cross Window.  She's already soldering this project so it's safe to say that she has no problems when it comes to cutting, grinding or wrapping.  And judging by how much she got soldered I won't be surprised to see her start yet another project next week.

This black poodle that Linda L is making has suddenly jumped to life.  She only has to add a final border to it and then she'll be set to solder this window.  As you can see she fixed the piece of glass on the neck and it made a world of difference.  The flow of the grain is such an important part of stained glass.  If  you're making a window and something looks 'off' never be afraid to change it.  With the re-cut neck piece this window is now flawless.

Shelly finished the main work behind her latest Bird and Flower Window so all she needs to do is a border as well.  She's already picked a color but I think I may have an idea to run past her when she comes back in that will help set this window off a little better while a minimal amount of extra work while still maintaining its overall style.

And that wraps things up this week but be sure to join us again in our next update which will include tips on setting your borders corners correctly as well as a bevy of pictures from a full week of classes.


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