Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Introducing MasterMetal Pre-Patinaed Solder




        Pre-Patinaed Solder 

           60/40 and 50/50 




Product Features

  • MasterMetal Solder maintains a liquid state longer allowing you to create smoother solder lines
  • Low melting point temperature
  • Convenient 1 lb spool
  • Pre-Patinaed lead means that you no longer need work with messy patina
  • Special waxed core allows you to simply wash and hang - no waxing required!


Product Description

Glass artists need a very specific mix of chemicals to be applied to their solder to get a smooth and clean finish on their work.  Our pre-patinaed leads save you both time and money.  Our patented wax core means that you never have to wax your windows again.  An excellent choice for beginners as well as experienced glass crafters. 

For use on copper foiled seams and lead came seams only.  Melting temperature: 361° - 376°F.

COMING SOON: Pre-Patinaed Black Lead!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Raising Quail

Proper Grinding is important for numerous reasons.   The two most notable being 1) to allow the foil to adhere to the glass better, and 2) to prevent your piece from cracking when solder is applied.

Below is a piece of glass that has not been ground.   The edge is shiny and the corners are sharp enough to easily cut through any foil the you might try to use on it.

The rough white edge that you see below shows that the piece has now been ground but not nearly enough.  Although there are sections that have been touched by the grinding wheel (they appear white) it isn't a thorough job.  You will still have problems getting the foil to lay flat along the glass and there's still a possibility that the glass will crack when the lead is applied.  If your glass looks like this you might want to try reversing your piece by putting the top side down on the grinder and going over it again.  Sometimes that makes a big difference especially when skimming borders.

Lastly we have a properly ground piece of glass.   Since the edge is completely white (and therefore rough), the foil will stick to it easily and the odds are far better that the piece won't crack due to heat.  If all of your pieces look like this before you foil them I can guarantee that your finished window will be sturdier than if the pieces were just lightly skimmed as above.

Okay, first up is Lara who was surely busy this week as she completed her Townscape Window.   That unbroken sky really makes this stand out as does the aerial coming off the 'point' of one of the buildings.   It's called wire work and it's sort of like adding a cherry on top of a dish of ice cream-- it may be unnecessary but it certainly adds so much to the end result!



Angie finished her Beveled Cardinal window but I have to confess that I'm only calling it a cardinal because of the deep red border that she surrounded it with.   The bird is actually too generic to name but I kept seeing a cardinal after the border was cut and attached.


Sheri's pair of Ladybugs are wonderful but those legs and antenna make this a project that beginners should steer clear of.   It's no so much the wire work itself that makes this so difficult as it is the need to make a heavy elongated blob of solder to connect the wire to the body.  Let's just say that it's incredibly tricky but incredibly worth the time it takes to accomplish.

Linda L got three separate Suncatchers completed this week.   Her Butterfly in a hoop worked out particularly well and since she left the lead silver she was able to skip the step were she would have to tin the hoop in lead so it would turn copper along with the rest of the metal had Patina been applied.  She also made a gorgeous purple Butterfly Suncatcher and a Beveled Home Sweet Home plaque in the shape of a house as well!  

Now even though I said Lara was busy did you honestly think that you would see her complete two full scale windows in just one week?   Truth be told she only had to solder the back side of this Flower Window but she still got a ton of work completed in just 3 short hours.  I'm also happy to get a final photo of this project which rounds out her series of three windows in this style.


Linda F's Multi Colored Owl is as stunning as it ever could be.   People look at this and think that it's an easy pattern to male but it's far from a beginner's pattern-- Linda just makes it look easy by completing these Hoot Owls so quickly!



For our final completed project of the week we look at Lisa's beautiful Duck Suncatcher.  She's gone the full nine yards by adding 2 posts and then affixing those posts into a piece of wood to make a stunning tabletop glass and wood sculpture.  I've always said that glass and wood work together well and this finished piece by Lisa is my proof!


Next up we have Bee's Cardinal window which is truly stunning .  I feel it's all because of those beautiful wing feathers that are spread so beautifully throughout the center of her window.   This already looks amazing to me and it's certainly in capable hands as is clearly evident.


Betty's Easter Gnome is going to turn a lot of heads.  She said that she has plans on making different versions of this little guy for  different holidays by simply changing the item he is holding.   I guess that means we'll have a series of the Garden Gnome Patterns developing! 

Shelley's Dolphin Panel was cut out at home but it really came together while she was in class due her work at the grinder.   This is ready to be foiled and I wouldn't be surprised to see it completed upon her return.


Jeannette also worked on this Suncatcher Heart with two dog paws in it.   Now that it's all cut and ground she'll be able to wrap her pieces at home and finish it up quickly.

Jodie is ready to rock and roll with her Geometric Window as she got all of her glass cut, ground, wrapped and tacked.   Soldering this shouldn't take long at all so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this will be completed when she comes back in.

Susan D's Winter Panel looks better and better each week as more and more of it gets fitted into place.  Since this window won't have a border surrounding it (due to space restraints) she needs to make sure that there's enough room for 2 pieces of foil between every piece of glass or else the window will grow larger than the opening she is making it. So far though, everything looks great to me.
Kerry's Unicorn is fully taking shape now and you can see that he's left the yellow horn on top of the head in one piece.   Once everything is ground he's going to cut the horn into its four separate pieces that will then fit together perfectly just as we discussed in last weeks tip.

Cindy's moving at breakneck speed on her Heron Window.   She only has the water left to cut before she can start soldering and I know that water will be cut out when she comes back in. She wants to get it cut out of one piece of glass so that the grain of the glass is unbroken thus creating a rippling water effect.  You'll see just what that looks like in our next post.
Mary's Heart Panel is also very near completion as it only needs to get some wires attached before she can color this and then move along to something new.   I cant wait to see how this looks with all the wire work finished because we've never seen anything done quite like this before!

Melissa has her Circular Pair Of  Cardinals ground and will begin wrapping and tacking them together when she comes back in.  She wants all of the background glass to match up seamlessly which means that she's going to tack the birds together and then  lay them on top of her fractures and streamers background glass to trace around them.  It's a lot of work but in the end it will be worth it.  

Ann has another Flower Hand Mirror under way and with everything cut and ground she moved along to the wrapping phase of this project.   That means that this could very well be finished when we next see it.
Here's a look at MiMi's 4th Hexagonal Window as she was soldering it in class.  As a bonus I've stolen her picture from Facebook so you can see a bit of what it looked like after she completed soldering and coloring it at home.  Nice.

Tracey is utilizing all of her scrap glass by making this wonderful Southwestern Butterfly Lawn Ornament.  She's a pro at these as is readily apparent in the picture below because she started cutting this when she came into class and already has all of it ground and half of it foiled.

Judy's Scales of Justice Window is all tacked together complete with its double border.  That means that Judy will take her time and work on soldering this when she comes back in.  Will it be completed next week?  It's honestly hard to say at this point but time will tell.
Cheryl's Mr Bingle window is just about ready to get its borders attached.   This week she completed grinding all of her pieces and then began wrapping everything with 1/4 inch foil.   We're using larger foil to get some extra lead on this LARGE window for some added support.

Barbara H  got the remainder of her small Louisiana Iris Panel ground and will wrap and tack this together upon her return.   She was also able to play camera-woman during class when we needed someone to hold a camera for us.  Thanks Barbara!
And to wrap things up we take a look at Jeannette's Heron Window which only has a few more lines left to solder before she can call it completed.  This will surely be completed when she comes back in.

And there you have it.  We hope to see you again next week!


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Going Out On A Limb

Sometimes shortcuts can be taken when cutting glass.  The trick is recognizing when you are able to take them.  Note the brick chimney below to the left.  It consists of 9 bricks each being very tiny.  Of course  you can cut each brick individually and then work at the grinder to get everything to line up but that involves precisely grinding 35 sides for a nice fit.   There's an easier way.  Simply cut the chimney in one large piece and then grind that so that it fits perfectly and you can see the pattern line around all the glass you've just cut.  It should look like the image on the right.


Next follow the horizontal lines with your cutter and snap them so your chimney is now 5 individual pieces. (see the image below and to the left)  Because they were cut from each other they will fit together perfectly.  Lastly, make your four vertical cuts.  This will leave you with your 9 individual bricks.   Now just evenly skim each piece on your grinder.  There's no need for extensive grinding because even un-ground, if you push all the bricks together they'll fit together perfectly.   True, you're still grinding 35 edges but you aren't trying to make them fit together because they already fit.  All you are doing at the grinder is making sure that you take off enough glass to allow for your foil.

Now you can't ALWAYS do this but you'd be surprised at how often you can.  Leaves and feathers may sometimes look too 'processed' when the grain matches perfectly throughout a large area of pieces but keep this tip in mind because it can be a real time saver. 

So first off in our completed projects I have to say that Ann's Cross Window is spectacular and that's largely due to the elaborate border that surrounds it.   Many times a triple border can overwhelm the subject matter of a window but in this case it's 100% perfect, especially since Ann introduced no new colors in the border.   Her soldering was also spot on which helps make this window the stand out piece that it is.

Rowena drew this pattern entirely on her own and did a fantastic job.  She said that it took most of an afternoon but I recall a time when drawing a pattern would take me that length of time as well.  As with anything else, speed comes with practice.  That this finished Cupcake Window turned out so deliciously is well, like a cherry on top!

Rowena certainly had a busy day with us as she also completed her Easter Bunny Panel.  The changes she made over the past few weeks were all for the best as this looks as good as it possibly could. Note the common borders between her two completed windows this week.  If you find a good thing you stick with it!

Tracey's newest Cardinal Window put a new spin on a popular design by making it circular.  I think she likes round windows as do I.  They tend to stand out just a little more especially if the circle is perfectly round as this one is.   That's the trick to making a circular window-- keeping it absolutely perfect.   Don't forget to admire Tracey's flawless lead lines!
Kerry's work is complete on his Humming Bird Window.  The Baroque Glass that he used for the background is really the thing that sets this off the most.  The swirling unbroken texture that runs throughout the cuts in the glass makes a statement as to how much time was taken in the creation of this wonderful window. 
Linda L  finished her Eagle/Flag Panel and even had  time to spare.  Her attention to detail is meticulous as her flag waves proudly and accurately.  She didn't get to use the border glass that she wanted to on this but I honestly believe this one is better than what she originally wanted.  

Jeannette made herself a Large Easter Egg while at home and she brought it in to be sure that the hooks would hold and that the deign itself was sound.  It all looked fine to me and now this is ready to be delivered just in time for Easter.

Bee worked on two more boxes and by the time class was through she had them finished and ready to be presented to their owners.  These small boxes are perfect gifts-- not too big, not too small, and very lovely to look at.  Alas, she says she's now officially through with boxes (for the time being, anyway).


Martha is working on another Pelican Window but this one comes from a different pattern.   With one bird under her belt and this one being somewhat easier I believe that she'll finish this before you know it.  She's already well under way.
Linda L also also managed to get this Butterfly Hoop design cut and ground while she was in this week which means that we could see this completed when she comes back in.   The body will be covered in lead which will also match the hoop that holds this all together.
Next up we have Jodie who made incredible progress on her first window by getting it all cut out and ground in just one night.  Sure, there's still a border left to cut but as regular readers know that takes no time at all.   I'm quite sure that this will see a border attached to it when Jodie comes back in because she's taken this along home with her so that these pieces can be fully wrapped in foil upon her return.

Mary Grace has all of the glass for her  Double Sunflower Hoop cut and ground which means that this will be completed upon her return.  She really started something when she began this project as many of our students now have hoops that they plan on filling with glass.
Cindy is also working on a Pelican Window that may look very familiar since it's the same one that Martha finished not that long ago.  Cindy was cutting it as as close as possible with the glass she's using for the back feathers but she managed to get all of them cut without having any glass left to spare.  I guess you could say that the pressure to not break anything was on full force!
Susan R finished grinding her Spiral Easter Egg Wreath and is now hard at work wrapping it.  Since this is a large suncatcher there won't be any background glass to cut which means that if you haven't noticed she's already nearing the end of this newly started project of hers.   I love the design.
Susan D has all of the glass cut out for her Winter Scenery Panel and spent all of her time working at the grinder.   The small pieces in this don't scare her at all but since this is such a detailed piece Susan will have to leave plenty of room in between her pieces for foil or this panel will grow and twist as she covers each piece with foil.  I have no doubt that she'll do fine though.
Kerry not only finished his Humming Bird and Fuchsia Window but also began work on a Unicorn Window as well.   See that red circle?  It's pointing out the pattern piece for the eye of the Unicorn which Kerry will cut in one piece rather than three pieces.   When the shape of the eye is ground into place he'll simply place a black circle on the eyeball, trace around it, cut it and then have a perfectly shaped eye with minimal grinding just like we talked about earlier. 

Judy finished grinding the six remaining pieces in her Scales Of Justice Window and then set upon wrapping all of her pieces.   By the end of the night she had finished foiling everything which means that she'll tack this and get a border attached when she comes back in. The end is near.  Also note that the edge of the book has pink lines running through it.   This told Judy not to cut the pattern along those lines.   The pages are one piece of glass and now that everything is ground and fitted together she'll cut the pages into 4 separate sections and have a perfect fit.  Our tip comes through again!
Sheri has her Lady Bugs all in a row and is ready to wrap them and the solder them together.   There's still the leg issue to resolve but as I said last week,  we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.  Also, as you may have noticed, Sheri also managed to get a Double Sunflower cut out for a hoop of her own.

Cheryl's Mr Bingle is so very close to being completely ground now.   There's a small break in one of her background pieces but rather than replacing the sky we will simply extend the smaller piece next to it so that it fills in the unexpected opening.   In the end, no one will ever know.

Linda F worked busily on her owl Suncatcher and not only finished grinding it but started foiling at as well.   Kudos to her for figuring out what the tip I was going to tell her would be.  When cutting the three yellow sections that surround the pupil of each eye she should just cut one large yellow oval, grind it into place and then split it into the 3 individual pieces as we discussed earlier.   In this post we've now seen three examples of this technique.

Lara spent her night soldering and by the end of the night she had everything leaded on both the front side AND the back.   That means that this only needs a channel attached to it after which Lara can wash and color this sweet little Cityscape.  These building will soon be open for business and I'm thinking that will be next week.
MiMi's got her hands full but she's still loving working on these Hexagon Door Inserts.  She's got her mind firmly set on what the finished room will look like when she gets each of these panels completed.  That vision is what motivates her as she cuts, grinds and wraps each of these endless identical pieces.
And after completing her large Cross Window Ann even had time to begin a new Flower Hand Mirror before calling it a night.   Now that's what I call being productive!

Lastly, Jeannette did have her Heron Window ground when she came in which means that she spent a lot of time at her grinder during the week.   By the time her class had ended she had her window tacked together and  the first of two borders attached.   She'll be soldering the front of this during the week and that final border will go on quickly when she returns.
And there you have it, another week cut somewhat short due to bad weather.   We had no classes on Wednesday night of Thursday morning and when the rain came down on Wednesday evening and the thunder and lightning began I was happy that no one braved the elements.  Next week we hope to be back to full classes though!