Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Smile, You're On Candid Camera!

Grinders like everything thing else in the world have a life span which is fairly long.   However, the wheel that actually grinds your glass has a much shorter life span.  You may get 20 years out of your actual grinder but you'll probably only get a year out of your grinding wheel before you need to replace it (that's if you use it frequently-- say twice a week).  How do you know when your wheel needs replacing?  The first sign is that it takes a very long time to grind through your glass.  The sound that your grinder makes when you are using it can tell you a lot.   I can tell instantly when a grinder needs more water just by the sound of the glass on the grinder.  Never forget that grinding without water will wear your head out faster, reducing the lifetime of the head from a year to as little as one day!  It's true.  Eventually the diamond coating may even wear off of the wheel and that makes a very distinct, fast, clunking sound as your grind.  A bald spot will also cause your glass to chip excessively.  If your wheel looks like the one on the right, you need to replace it or slide it up or down.

Remember that you can adjust your grinding wheel higher and lower on the shaft.  Most glass is only 1/8th of an inch thick so dropping your wheel down 1/8th of an inch will give you a new, fresh surface.  In the case above where the grit has come off of the wheel you should go almost 1/8th higher or lower than the bald spot or it will just spread to the new section.  A good wheel makes for quicker grinding and a good wheel, like a plant, is always well watered.  Listen to your grinder and if it sounds different than it normally sounds look to see why.  The life you save may be your grinder head.

So as promised, here's Rowena's completed Window Panes Window.   Her husband installed all of her panels in this antique window frame and it all comes together wonderfully. I love when a window interconnects throughout small panels to make one big picture..

Here's  a look at Terry's  beautiful Holly Bough/Bow.  All the weak spots of the original design have been rectified in this new pattern and as similar as they are to each other they're also very much different.  Terry has quite the artistic eye and understands glass well enough to avoid the pitfalls that are found eve in 'professional' patterns.  


Janet has completed her Cross Of Many Colors and although it took some time for her to get from start to finished the end result was worth it.  Janet began with the basic cross design and then built the rest of the window around it.   That's not something that most students are willing to take on but Janet did it wonderfully.  She regrets some design decisions but what it's taught her is that very few patterns are drawn without their creator wishing that they would have done two or three things differently.  Me, I think this is brilliant!

Linda L has finished her three Mardi Gras Masks this week and she did a fantastic job on all of them.  I think that she learned to look at the big picture while making a window and not to look at the project as an endless amount of pattern pieces.  Learning to look for shortcuts is an important part of glass making.  Having Linda attach the borders before she cut her background probably opened her eyes to seeing that there's more than one way to skin a cat.  Here's a closer look at one of Linda's three identical windows.

Carol completed a three panel poinsettia nightlight which is something I haven't seen done in a very long time.  She got the pattern off the internet but when I looked it over I found that the three panels weren't symmetrical at all so she put the project on hold until I literally straightened out the lines for this project.

Sue  has completed her three Cardinals and has turned them into Lawn Ornaments.  Almost anything can become a Lawn Ornament as long as it's not too large or too small.  All you do is add a stake to the back of a suncatcher and Voila!-- An instant Lawn Ornament.  These turned out great and Sue did a stellar job making this Trio.

Rowena also found the time to make this stunning cross out of a Cinnamon Baroque glass that we've had for a while now.  In this application it is absolutely perfect because it gives the cross a wood effect.   And now it's a glass that everyone loves.

Bonnie has recovered from my faux pas and managed to completed her green candle holder. As I predicted in our last post, it turned out perfect.   And then she proceeded to make this green business card holder as well.  Card holders make great gifts and require so little glass that it's easy to use scraps to make them.  What a great way to get rid of all that glass you have just sitting around taking up space.  


Here's a look at the latest Hand Mirror that Charlie has completed.  I can see his skills at grinding and fitting things together getting stronger week by week.  After this one he's just got one more to go. 

And then we have Brenda's latest Tiger De Lis window.  She's got these down to a science now and could probably cut one out and grind it without a pattern (if she needed to).

3D Lawn Ornament Butterflies have certainly been the rage lately and that's because most of them are being given as Christmas Gifts.  This week we see three more of them made, the yellow/orange one by Becky, the blue/green one by Betty, and the aqua/green butterfly by Jeannette.

Moving along to out projects that are under construction we come to Betty who began working on this Ribbon Fleur De Lis window that I think will be stunning.  It's based on a painting that she saw on the internet and it translated to glass wonderfully.  There's white glass involved so it's hard to see Betty's progress but it's there and will become more apparent as the weeks go by.


Brenda has even more Christmas decorations ready to solder and she's steadily making her way through them.  Three of the items you see below are already finished which means hat there are only two more to go. 

Sue not only finished her Cardinals but began working on a pair of Mermaids which made Shelley (the mermaid queen) VERY happy.  You can see some of the pattern pieces traced out onto the glass that Sue has picked out on the right side of the picture.


Cindy forgot a Christmas order and had to drop work on her Harley-Davidson Window to start making this familiar round Fleur De Lis.  Of course, it's not you basic seven piece FDL, Cindy never works on anything that's easy, but look at the progress she made in just one night on this.  All she needs to do next is to add a background and a border! 

Becky S has started a new butterfly and has it completely ground already as well as another 3D Flower. She also added a wire ring to the bottom of the previous 3D Flowers that she made to help stabilize them.  They've always been a bit fragile and the ring(which is out of sight unless you turn the flower upside down) helps alleviate the problem tremendously.

Gale has finished one owl and has moved on to making another one!  She needs to stop showing her finished projects to people or she'll never be able to make just one of anything. This looks like it will be every bit as wonderful as the last one she made.

Terry's Tiger/Louisiana Window is just about completed now.  At this point all it needs is some solder on its back side before it can go home for good.  You can also see that Terry has a UL Pepper Suncatcher started (or should I say 'all cut out') as well.  She's what I like to call a  'two irons in the fire'  kinda gal!


Mary Grace's is working on her study in straight lines window which is now all soldered and just needs a few touch ups before she washes this and takes it home.  Hopefully we'll be able to see her next week but of not we'll see her in the first week of January.  This is amazing work and I see a lot of straight cuts in Mary Grace's future.

Jeanne's Ship In A Bottle only has a few background pieces left to fit into place before she starts wrapping it.  She started out by cutting out the ship and the sails and hoped to trace the background pieces around the ship, but there are too many points in the sails that would fill with solder so she's used the actual pattern pieces to cut out her background.  And now that this is halfway ground (and fitting together wonderfully) I have to say that Jeanne has done a great job with this.

Linda F's Geometric window is now very close to completion.  She started this just last week and one week later it's in its zinc channel frame and only needs to be soldered.  Linda has officially got her pistol grip mastered and just needs to remember to use it any time she has to make a straight cut during a project.   

So with her Mardi Gras Masks completed, Linda L has turned her attention to a pair of  single projects-- a Christmas Tree Window and a Flag.  Both of these are close to being finished so we may see at least one of them in the spotlight when we return for our next update.

Martha's making great progress on her windows and as you can see both of her ducks are recognizable this week.  That's because Martha's grinding abilities have taken on a life of their own as she cuts through superfluous glass effortlessly, fitting together seamlessly what a beginner would call seemingly un-fittable pieces.   Her skills are formidable.  She is woman, hear her quack!

Carol not only got her nightlight finished, she's also started this small  beveled Fleur De Lis window as well.  As you can see she's moving quickly through it and by next week I have no doubt that she'll be ready to hang it.

Myrt's Cat in a Window Window is almost completely cut out and only needs some clear glass now.  It's hard to tell what's going on in between the curtains and the cat but when this window is picked up you'll be able to see the window panes to get the full effect.

Paula brought in her Ragin' Cajun Baseball and it's ready to be soldered now.  She kept telling us that she was afraid to let us see her progress on the letter section of this project but I don't understand what the problem was.  Her lettering may be a *little* hard to see with  it resting on the table but we held it up to reassure her that it is COMPLETELY readable when it's not on the table.  This is yet another fine job by Paula.

Susan's tiger just needs some background glass to surround it now.  Hopefully the back-ordered amber glass will be here soon.  In the interim Susan has begun working on a repair.  This old lead came window is falling apart and sue plans to reassemble it using copper foil. But before she reassembles it she's got to disassemble it which she's well under way of accomplishing.  She's even smartly numbered the pieces BEFORE it comes apart so she knows how it goes together again.

Shelley can't get enough ducks in her life so she's working on a second Ducks Unlimited Window that may look the same as her last window but which is actually larger (by about 10 percent).  Also, she's using green trim for the duck instead of black. Time will tell us what color she decides to use for the border but I know I'm hoping it will be the same green that she used for the duck.

And lastly, this is the final Hand Mirror that Charlie needs to have completed in time for Christmas.  It's almost wrapped already which means that it will certainly be finished in time.

The good news is that this post officially brings us up to date!  Just not with the workshops which will happen just after the New Year begins.  We still have one more set of classes to end the year with and I'm about to head off to see the Tuesday night ladies now. 


Monday, December 21, 2015

Playing Ketchup

Strip Cutter or Pistol Grip, that's the question.   Both are designed for straight cuts but how do you know which one to use?  Well it's simple.  The strip cutter is used when you need multiple pieces all cut he same width or length.  Once a strip cutter is set you can rest assured that everything cut with it will be identically size.  The Pistol Grip Cutter is used when you need a straight cut on pieces that don't repeat.   Borders are best cut on a strip cutter but below you will see the cross that Jeannette made and that was cut with the pistol grip. 

Now that we have have that cleared up let's take a look at Carol's completed large Beveled Window.  As you can well see, everything lines up beautifully which is of the utmost importance on a window with nothing but straight lines in it.  The Fractures and Streamers inner border adds so much to this design, and the fibroid glass that borders the bevel and then the entire window was a stroke of genius.   There's no doubt that this window will be turning heads when Carol gets it installed.  For the record, both borders were cut with the strip cutter but the cuts made to the background glass were all made with a pistol grip.

Bonnie's first completed Candle Holder would have been a pair of candle holders but I decided to help her along by tacking the green one together and I screwed up the order of the panels!  Now it has to be disassembled.  So much for saving time.  Nonetheless, this red Candle Holder looks as great as the green one will be when you see it next week.

Brenda's been busy as a Bee.  Sometimes presentation can put an entirely new light on something and that is certainly the case with this beveled Cross Suncatcher that Brenda made this week.  Adding a simple white ribbon has really made this cross stand out in a crowd.

And Brenda's Candy Cane with a Bow and her Christmas Lights suncatchers will never be overlooked either.  These are wonderful designs and the the workmanship is stunning.

Ann's latest Fleur De Lis Window features an alternating colored border.  She's been using some very thick glass for her backgrounds and having little difficulty even cutting that thick glass down into thin points.  That's called great cutting!

Carol also finished up the stained glass frame that she had started two weeks ago.  It would have been completed last week but we ran out of time during class before I got to show her how to add the back section that holds the photograph.  Don't you love how Carol dressed up this simple frame by making thick inner lead lines and then adding solder blobs on top of them for decoration?  We refer to that as decorative soldering and there are actually a number of different ways you can dress up solder lines.

Jeannette finished her two alternating color crosses but only one of the pictures came out for me.   The other one looks just like this save for the fact that the colors are reversed.   We're already seeing more of these being made and seeing how this one turned out it's no wonder they're in demand!

Shelley's Ducks Unlimited Window looks great now that it's finished and her choice of glass is perfect.  I love the plain iridised background glass that she picked and think it worked perfectly in this window.  Normally an iridized background draws attention away from the focal point but I knew as soon as I saw this that it was going to be the exception to the rule.

Here's Charlies latest Hand Mirror.  This leaves him with just two more to go!


And this is Janet's latest Butterfly Lawn Ornament (and if it's not Janet's then it's Becky S's)  I hate not having a memory anymore.  All I really know for sure is that it was completed Thursday night and that it looks great.  So that means that it could belong to either Janet or Becky (although for some reason I'm leaning towards Janet). At any rate, this is finished save for getting a good bath and a waxing.

Becky B's Horseshoe Cross Window is moving along wonderfully and she's really gotten the hang of grinding.  She's going to change up the center and to do that she'll finish this as is and just leave a hole in the middle that we'll then re-design and cut glass for.


Terry has resumed work on her Louisiana Tiger Window and even got the border cut out.   Terry excels at drawing patterns and this Tiger's face is proof of how lifelike she can make a drawing.  

Look at Martha's Ducks, her ducks are amazing...  well, the one on the right is anyway.  The one on the left looks a little mixed up,  But once the one on the left is ground Martha will have all her ducks in a row and be ready for some foiling.

Brenda has been BUSY!  She says that after doing all of these ornaments she's all Christmased out and I can understand why.  Whether she's feeling the Christmas spirit or not the quality of her work hasn't faltered at all because these are all cut and ground to a machine like precision.

Natalie filled in the thin pieces of her worked on the feet of her Pelican Window and then moved on to the toughest parts of this project-- the feet.  But she moved quickly and efficiently through them cutting and grinding all of those thin little pieces without a problem.  It's safe to say that the background will be like a walk in the park now that Natalie has these bird feet out of the way.

Myrt is moving right along on her Pussy Cat in a Window Window and only had the right side of her curtains to iron out before she moves on to cutting some more glass.  I honestly think that the bulk of the work on this window is over with now.


Vickie now has her Geometric Panel all tacked together after getting the final border cut.  It didn't take her long to get this ready for solder and I suspect when we see it again it will be as a  completed project of the week.

Now that Sue's three Cardinals are off of the color photo that she was grinding them on you can easily see what she's accomplished.  All three birds have been tacked together and now they're just waiting to be soldered. These will easily be completed when Sue returns.

Linda F decided that she wanted to get her pistol grip cutter skills honed and decided to make a straight lined abstract window of her own to work on those cutter skills.   The big difference in her straight lined window is that she has one large circular piece of glass in it for contrast.  She's taken to the pistol grip cutter quickly and her window is completely cut out already.

Janet's Cross of Many Colors is completely soldered on the front side so I'm guessing that this will be completed in time for Christmas.  Ann has a pattern of this now so you might just being seeing this one again.

Take a look at Cindy's newest window and you'll probably say the same thing that I did.  "That's a lot of pieces,"  but I can guarantee that it will be magnificent when it's completed.  Cindy certainly has a thing for windows with small pieces!


Jeanne loved Linda F's Ship in a Bottle so much that she's making one of her own.  Tonight she got the ship and the sails all cut out and ground.  When she comes back in she'll cut out her bottle pieces and then fit everything together.

Linda L's three Mardi Gras Masks are all assembled and ready to be soldered.  In fact, I think that all of the front sides have been soldered already and she's planning on the soldering the backs while she's at home.  Linda says that she's pretty much burned out on doing three of everything and that she'll be doing solo projects soon.

Gale has begun work on another Owl Window and she's got a great deal of it completed already.  The second one always goes faster, but you all know that by now!

Becky S is wrapping up work on her 3D Roses and decided to cut out this Butterfly Lawn Ornament while she was in class.  She's moving along quickly and efficiently and will have this completed before you know it.

Susan's  begun wrapping her second Tiger Window and it's all taking shape perfectly.  She's left just the right amount of space between her pieces to allow for the copper foil so that it doesn't grow and distort as she wraps everything.

Charlie's got two more hand mirrors ground and he's got one almost completely wrapped.  I've lost count but I believe he's got just one more to go after these are completed and I think he's going to get them finished in time for Christmas.

Mary Grace got all of her Abstract Window cut and ground and even wrapped.  But I forgot to take a picture of it so this is what it looked like last week.  :-(  It still looks amazing, just very much further along.  We'll see more proof of that when it returns next week.

And that's about all there is for this post.  See you again soon!