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. 


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