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.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Juicy Fruit!

I'd like to remind all of our students that the shop will be closed for the next 2 weeks so please don't show up for classes!  I'm running late with this post but since no one from Tuesday morning showed up I think it's safe to assume that everyone knew not to come in today. 

Okay then let's start things off with Kerry's Butterfly in the Sun Window which is so bright and colorful that I actually had to tone it down for the picture below.  Changing the sun from red to yellow was what this window needed as it changed to look of the window altogether from being dark to becoming bright.  I won't even mention the perfect yellow/orange combination that Kerry used for the final border because it truly speaks for itself.

Kate completed her Dragonfly Window and as much as I want to tell you that we'll see more great things from her I just can't do that.   Due to personal reasons she has to drop out of class and she's just not sure how long it will be until she's able to come back.   That's a shame because she shows great talent.   We hope to see her again soon and wish her our best. 
I believe that this is the first Wedding Box that Cindy has ever made and although I might possibly be wrong about that I can say without a doubt that it's certainly the first box that she's made that she designed herself.  There's a lot of amber iridised glass in this and when the light hits it this box REALLY sparkles.  You can easily tell that although this may be Cindy's first Wedding Box this is not her first stained glass rodeo.  Her work is just too good to possibly believe that! 

We have 3 boxes to look at this week-- the first (above) was done by Cindy and the next two by Martha. The actual invitation that Martha used in this had a scalloped edge so to square it off a solid piece of off-white iridised glass was used to back the invitation so there wouldn't be little crescent openings all around the invitation.   All in all this is a very beautiful box don't you think?
Martha didn't have an invitation for her second Wedding Box so she just presented the newlyweds with a box featuring our ever popular Sunflower heart design.   She just set the heart off at a tasteful angle and then squared it off while leaving the point of the heart overhanging to form a 'lift' of sorts.  Stunning and thoughtful, I know that this is going to make the bride and groom very happy.
Mary Grace got her Cardinals in a Hoop completed and it features a wonderfully elegant hanger soldered onto the top of the hoop which not only supports these beautiful birds in a tasteful manor but which also suspends a beautiful jewel to accent the piece as well.

And then there's Linda F who completed a Hoop of her own while in class.   I'm unsure as to what this flower is (I'm botanistically challenged) but the lavender glasses that Linda used mixed with the almost lime green leaves really make this piece sing no matter what kind of flower it is!
Susan's second Bee/Garden Gnome is just as fun as her first one was.  And this one took far less time to make because she was comfortable with all of the cuts and the grinding.   Does that make it better than her first Bee Gnome?   Not at all-- they're both perfection!


Now that all of her glass has been cut Annette has begun grinding all of the pieces for her Crow and Moon window.   The moon and some of the clouds actually extend outside of the border and some of the pieces such as the crow's feet cut into the border which makes grinding this into a window that is perfectly square a little bit of a challenge. Annette is doing great though and all that extra work will give this project a unique look which will make it stand out even more.  I'm loving this!

Shelley is well underway on her sunburst window which is a reproduction (although in a different aspect ratio) of an older window that she's trying to match.  So far everything is fitting together nicely and I don't believe that Shelley will be spending much more time working on this because her skill level is way above what it takes for this window to be completed.

Judy M has just started work on this Buxom Pair of Wine Beauties and is moving along on it at a nice rate of speed.  Although Judy is still somewhat new at this I believe that her making this window will not only go smoothly for her but that it will also boost her self confidence when it comes to window making.    She's also going to end up with a great head turning window as well.

After completing his Butterfly Window Kerry also began work on our famously popular Stylized Fleur De Lis pattern.   The color choices are what make this and Kerry has decided NOT to go with a traditional series of browns and ambers.  I think that's a nice change of direction for this window because the version of this that really sticks out in my mind the most is the one made using green glass.

Next up we have Sheri who is so close to finishing her Chakra Yoga Window that it almost hurts.  With the front and the back soldered all she has left to do is knock out 2 pieces that accidentally got soldered in backwards, solder the gems into place, get channel attached the outside edge and then clean and color this window.  That may seem like a lot but there's a possibility that it could happen inside of just one class. We'll see what happens when Sheri comes back in 2 weeks.
Melissa is a grinding fool and the bottom Butterfly portion of her window is coming together wonderfully.  The hardest part of this is getting the butterfly ground because after dealing with all of those tiny pieces the larger  (and fewer) pieces of the Iris at the top of the window will be very simple.  
I'm pleased to say that all of the intensely small pieces don't stop you from seeing the word 'Spring' in the center of this incredible window that Susan D is making.   A lot of that has to do with her excellent color choices.  Enlarge this and marvel at the number of deep 1/8th inch cuts that run all throughout this design.   Susan is moving along on this at an impressively breakneck speed so color SPRING blue and me impressed.

Mary Grace's latest hoop design is of an American Flag in the shape of a heart and in just one class she managed to get it all cut out and halfway ground as well.  I think we'll be seeing this done again soon now that it's been posted on the blog for all of our students to see.  I'll say this:  Mary Grace knows how to start a trend!

Bee's Dove Window is officially cut out and even mostly tacked together.   She only needs to tack the border and then she can begin soldering both the front and back sides of it.  Alas, I have her soldering iron so I'll need to see if we can get it back to her so she can possibly work on this at home during the next two weeks while our shop is closed.  If she can get just one side of this completed before she comes back in I have no doubt that this will be finished and prominently displayed at the top of out next post.

It's official- all of the glass has also been cut and ground for Tracey's Humming Bird and Morning Glories Window.   She's got the center all tacked together and she decided to go with a mixed border of bevels and textured clear glasses for the border.  I'm sure that she'll be soldering this upon her return because she only has 16 straight pieces left to wrap and I know it won't take but a  few minutes to finish wrapping those remaining pieces.
Mary's dueling Hummingbirds Suncatcher has completely taken shape now that Mary is two classes into her newest project.  It's funny how she said that she wanted to do something simple this time around and how she ended up with a very small project with over a hundred pieces in it.  Simple is not the word I'd use to describe this pair of birds-- the word 'stunning' is a much better fit..


Linda F got all of her first Ladybug Panel ground and now you can see just how cute a window it truly is.  She's decided to use green for the border (that's almost expected from Linda!) and I think the color contrast from the green leaves to the border is perfect.  I'm a big fan of subtle color shifts.  We've still yet to actually cut the border but once this is tacked together that will take less than 10 minutes to cut and grind. 

I may be wrong but I do believe that Linda L has her Flower Plate Window soldered both front and back sides. That means that she'll be able to drop her plates into position, solder them into place and then get some channel around her border to finish it all off. It may look a little empty right now but once the plates are in place this window will look like a whole other window indeed.  The end is near!

As always, MiMi is hard at work and still not losing interest in making her Hexagon Style Cabinet Inserts.   Once she finished this one she'll have all of one section in the room completed.  This week we double checked the measurements for her next set of windows and as soon as she finished this piece she'll be able to move along to the next size.

And there you have it.  This is a bit late but not nearly as late as our next post will be since we are closing shop for 2 weeks.   Hopefully the place will be much cleaner when our students arrive back to class!