Saturday, July 16, 2022

Properly Using A Sponge


We use sponges often when making windows but I've seen a problem developing that I'm going to call out.  These Scotch Brite sponges (and their knock offs) seem to be everywhere now and for good reason-- that scrubby green or blue side is very handy when washing things  The problem is that the green or blue side is a piece of soft but scrubby plastic fibers that cover the sponge and allows very little water to pass.


So, when putting a piece of sponge in your Soldering Iron Holder make sure that the scrubby side of the sponge is down and that the sponge itself faces upwards (as seen below).   The same holds true when cutting a new piece of sponge for your grinder.  The sponge itself should be against the grinding wheel, not the green or blue scrubby side.  If the scrubby side is against the grinding wheel it is actually preventing water from getting to the wheel.

That said, it's fine to use the scrubby side of the sponge when washing flux off of your windows.  I even recommend it.  It helps clean your lead lines thoroughly so that the copper or black patina will take to the lead more efficiently.  However, do NOT use the scrubby side to wash your windows after they have been patinaed.  The scrubby side is abrasive and can scrub the color off of your lead lines.

And there you have it!


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

They're All Out Of State

Betty's Pendant Fleur De Lis Window looks stunning with it's Baroque background offset by the two different blues that make up the Fleur De Lis.  I was asked why I call this the Pendant Fleur De Lis so I'll share that answer here with all of you.   The inspiration for the pattern came from a piece of jewelry that I had seen online.  I loved the angled bar that binds the FDL and this pattern was created from that jewelry. 
 And here's that inspiration.

Jan was back in this week and she was able to finish up soldering her Plate Window.  Alas, there was a break in one of the four pieces that actually touches the Plate so we had to spend a little extra time  breaking it out and replacing it.  Still, by the end of the class it was as good as new and ready to hang.
Linda L's final Beach with a Crab Window has been officially completed leaving her with nothing left to do (kidding, just kidding!)  I know that she's happy these are finished because I don't even like making two of the same thing even when it's just a suncatcher.   Something like this with all of those little leaves in the palm trees can easily get overwhelming after the first one.

Steve's second Sunflower is hanging up and looking great even if I may have it hanging upside down here.  However, I believe that it's unidirectional and would look great no matter which way you look at it.

Betty also finished her two Bumble Bee Suncatchers as well as 4 other Dragonfly Spoon Suncatchers.   I only got a picture of 2 of the Dragonflies but I did pick the two prettiest!

First up in our projects that are still under construction we have Kerry's Circular Magnolia Window.   He's gone all out with this one and is now ready to get a border attached to it since he completed wrapping and tacking his window during his last class.  There's no doubt that he'll be soldering this when he comes back in because the border won't take long at all.

Susan R decided to put a circle bevel in the center of her Geometric Swirl and she did it in the best possible way.   First she fitted together all 12 pieces and then she placed the bevel on top of those pieces, traced around it and then trimmed off the excess glass.   This left her with a perfect fit and a suncatcher that will be finished when she comes back in.  Look at the bottom left of the paper and you can see the single pattern piece that she traced 12 times to make this.
I normally don't cover repairs here in the blog but MiMi is doing a complete disassembly of a window that was most likely made in the 70's or so (judging by the glass).  It was literally falling apart around the border, had numerous broken pieces, and was more than a little cattywampus all throughout.   The top picture shows what the window looked like sans border, and the bottom picture shows it after MiMi got her dirty gloves all over it.   There are only a few pieces left to go before it's completely undone afterwhich she'll start grinding things to fit better than they did the first time around.
Lisa has two irons in the fire, the first being an Philodendron Leaf and the second being a unique multi-tiered Feather hanging piece.  Each feather will be suspended from what is actually a bike 'sprocket' that she's inlaid with glass!  This is going to be phenomenal!

Next up is Lisa's husband Steve.  He not only completed his Sunflower Suncatcher, he's also hard at work on a wine glass decoration.  To make it he's bent copper wire into the shape of a wine glass that measures approximately 30 inches tall.   The copper framework  was shaped on a wooden jig using screws to ensure that both sides of the 'glass' would be symmetrical.   He then began cutting out circles in various colors to decorate the inside hollow portion of the wine glass.  It's already very near completion so here's what it looks like now.  Steve and Lisa ALWAYS think outside the box when it comes to stained glass.  

Let put my math skills to the test this week and I'm relieved to say that I  passed the test.  She wanted a bevel border to finish off her Pair of Cardinals Window and she also wanted a tan inner border.   First we figured out a bevel combination that was larger that the Cardinal section of her window and then we cut an inner tan border to make up any difference.    It's hard to see the final border but everything is in place and fits together wonderfully.
Lara's Peony Window is really coming together nicely as she works on the bottom flower now.  All it takes is a few petals of glass here and there and before you know it you're hanging up your window! I love the light green/teal that she's using for her leaves.   It fits perfectly within the design yet it isn't the color that most people would pick-- probably because most people are boring.  But not Lara!

Ann's Got the circular portion of her 3D Cross Window almost completely soldered already.  She came in, wrapped the few remaining pieces that were left to foil and then began soldering.  The front side has been completed and the back side is a good 80 percent of the way to being finished.  Look closely in the upper right and you can see the new cross design that Ann will be using.  I'm hoping we see this completely assembled when we next return.
Cheryl's Tree Of Life looks alive again!  With almost all of the sky cut out and ground she only has to fill in a few leaves and then adjust the bottom ground before she has to decide on what she wants to do for a border. 

Up next we have the first of our two Cardinal and Sunflowers Windows. This is Mary's and now that it's completely tacked together you can get a good feel for what this will look like when it's completed. Mary went with a blue color scheme for her window.
Next up we have Martha's Cardinal and Sunflowers Window.  Martha's sky is a much lighter blue and she's matched her inner border to her sunflowers. The final green border (to me) gives this a very traditional look.  That said, I love them both.

With all of her glass cut out, ground and wrapped, Judy will be able to begin soldering her CUTE (not at all scary) Teddy Bear Window.   There's still one more accent that we have to do to the eyes but that will happen after the window is 100 percent completed.
Barbara H's Flower Panel Lamp is so close to being all ground that she can already see the light!   It won't be long before Barbara begins soldering each of her eight panels.  After that's done all she has to do is join them all together and solder eight lines.

Mary Grace has her background all cut out for her second Peacock Window.  She already at work grinding everything and will soon be wrapping all of these pieces.   Once these are ground the hard part will be well behind her because, as you know, borders are a piece of cake.
The answer to last weeks bonus question is eight.  That's how many Birds on a Branch will fit in Susan D's window.   I think what you are looking at below is number seven but I could (and probably will) be wrong about that.  Apparently my mind is shot and I can't recall what we clearly talked about in class!   But I did remember 8!

Sheri is taking her time with her Peony Window and working out her color placement on the pattern before she does any cutting.  She has her assorted hues of pink glass picked out but deciding where to place those colors is the tricky part.
And there you have it.   All the news that's fit to blog about!



Sunday, July 10, 2022

All Hexagoned Out

This is a special edition to highlight the sheer determination of MiMi's hard work that all of our students have been following for months on end now.  Way back in October of 2020 MiMi began the biggest endeavor that I've ever seen a student tackle:  Fourteen windows build entirely of perfectly cut and aligned Hexagons (or Hexalongs if you would have it). These hexagons were cut out of 18  different clear textures. 

How many hexagons did she cut out?  Try 4000!  MiMi guestimated that number and amazingly enough only had 40 extra when she finished the last window.  Here's a look at just a few of those hexagons all cut out and waiting to be ground.  Yes, not only did MiMi have to worry about cutting perfectly straight lines, she also had to grind those lines uniformly as well!

Here's a closeup of one of her first completed windows.   Look as hard as you like, there's not one imperfection to be found.  Part of the challenge was soldering these assorted textures because some of the glass was thinner than average and some of it was thicker resulting in an uneven solder line.   But once you get the hang of soldering those different heights the solder hides the fact that the glass isn't all on the level.

MiMi used a technique known as 'uniform randomness' when assembling her windows.   For the most part the different textures were placed randomly but before anything was tacked together she replaced any pieces that matched and butted up against one another.  Here are two windows mounted into their respective doors.

Here are her first ten inserts finishing off the look she wanted for her bar.  Yes, it's right outside her bedroom.  How convenient!

And here's her 'Entertainment Center' with matching glass doors on either side of the fireplace.  Sadly I have to say that what you are looking at is a TV and not an actual Van Gogh.

How long did this all take?  Well, as I stated earlier she started this massive undertaking in October of 2020 and she completed the final insert just last week.  That's a 21 month labor of love!!!!  During that time she never wavered even when I suggested that she take a break and work on something different for a week or two.  And that's exactly why MiMi deserves this special post.  She's proven that if you just keep working at a seemingly impossible task it WILL get done!  Bravo!


Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Wash That Glass!


Whenever you have a piece of glass that you can see through you MUST wash off any markings that go to the edge of the glass before you wrap that piece in foil.  This pertains to clear colored glass as well.   Look at the picture below and notice how the black marker runs off the edge of the glass.   If you wash the glass after it's been foiled you will still be able to see marks on the glass.
Below we have a perfect example.   From the back side you can easily see the marker that was covered by the foil even after the rest of the numbers were washed away.  Since it's under the foil the only way to fix the problem now is to remove the foil, wash away the marker, and re-foil it.   If you don't notice until after the window has been soldered you only have two choices:  1) break out the piece and replace it, or 2) live with it.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Doing it correctly from the start, no matter how pressed for time you may be, will always save you time (and effort) later on down the line.

Bayou Salé GlassWorks

Sunday, July 3, 2022

What Do You Mop Your Floors With?

Check it out, Susan has finished her Plate Window which she designed herself!  She had seen the plate-in-a-window idea online and when she saw the Flower Plate Window that Linda L had made about a year ago Susan decided to run with the idea and come up with something of her own.   She wanted plates as flowers with a vine running behind them and that's exactly what she got!  She worried about the splits in her border pieces but she did a beautiful job figuring out where those cuts should reside.  Perfection all around.



Well, this is a first and I'm sure that it won't be the last because after Cindy completed her Blue Bowl this week  she immediately began coming up with a color scheme for the next one that she plans to make.  Now this can't me used for food, lead free solder or not, but as a decorative piece it really rocks!  I'm also expecting other people to begin making these as well.  The best part of this is that there's no pattern required-- just a stainless steel bowl and some random assorted cutting and fitting.

Susan D also finished the Bird On A Branch that she'd begun last week and since she's made five of these now I think we can safely conclude that she can complete one of these each and every week (as well as working on a second and third project as well).

Truth be told, I love when students come up with their own patterns and Let (our newest student) designed this herself while she was at home and brought in the finished piece so I could take a picture of it.   Circular projects are far more difficult to make over square or rectangular pieces and that makes her Peace Sign even more impressive.

As you can see,  Lisa's no longer working on single feathers but combining them into 'Feather Bouquets'!  This is her first and my hat goes off to her for NOT making the mistake that many people would make when picking colors for this.  Most people would make two identical fathers which would result in a large clump of one color where the feathers overlap.  Lisa steered clear of that by making one feather brown and tan and the other blue and tan.  This allows you to clearly see a distinction between them resulting in a colorful and easily recognizable pair of feathers.

Robert can make a beveled border Transom type window with the best of them at this point.  In just seven days he assembled and soldered 3 more windows to add to his collection.  Some of these will be installed running taller than wide but they fit within the confines of this blog better in this direction without losing any of their charm so that's what you're seeing here.

Never one to sit still, Cindy also completed a Landon Water Tower and Blue Angels Box.  Blue Angels, you say?  Yep, look in the sky (above the water tower) and you'll clearly see the silhouettes of six F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter jets.  The picture on the right shows the lid partially opened.

Betty took our standard Bee Lawn Ornament design, shrunk it down, flattened it out and turned it into a rather delightful Sun catcher.  You can't lose with this design and Betty knows that because, as you'll see further on down below, she's got two more of these almost completed already.

Susan R completed her second Rose Bud Ornament but I forgot to snap a picture of it.  I figured that I'd just throw the one she made last week into Photoshop and change the color from red to pink but this was the best I could come up with.  I was able to easily (and believably) change the flower color to blue, orange, purple, yellow, violet, or even green(!) but pink was elusive to me.   Nonetheless, even though the color is off by a mile, the design itself clearly matches what she made this week.



Meanwhile, Susan D is taking advantage of these hot summer days and firing up her kiln to about 1500 degrees to create wonderful glass Bracelets.  These innocent looking baubles have something which isn’t innocent at all: touchability.  Light COE-96 glass fused with assorted shards of color.  A delicate, almost silk-like feeling. One size fits all while maintaining a deliciously relaxed fit.  These are innocence and mayhem all at once.

As you can see, Let is already well under way with her newest project.  These two Cardinals nestled in a series of branches are about to become her latest and greatest window.  She's moving along at lightning speed both in class and at home but the quality of her work never reveals the speed at which she's making these windows because her pieces always fit together perfectly.

Susan R showed me a picture of a geometric suncatcher that she wanted to make but the picture was out of square so we didn't use that as a pattern.   I've always had trouble making these circular spirals perfectly so that you could use a single pattern piece to make the entire design but this time something clicked in my head while drawing it out and I stumbled upon the secret to rotational patterns.   And I'd say that it worked because Susan used one pattern piece to cut this all out and it already fits together wonderfully before she's even taken it over to the grinder.

Speaking of geometrical patterns, this one has been making its way around the internet and I should have guessed that it would appeal to Cindy. She started it when she walked in the door and by the time the night was over she only had two more 'bands' to go before she can begin wrapping her Polygonal Spiral.  It's like a math equation exposing its inner beauty. I wonder if I can find a video of this rotating somewhere online...

Ann is back!  Her walk through Spain was an incredible experience and now she's even more inspired to get this colorful 3D Cross Window assembled.   I had thought the cross was going to be tacked on top of the pieces but Ann actually wants it to be raised from the window.  We'll do that with posts and I have an idea for the cross itself that I want to run past her when she returns next week.
June's Nurse Window has been tacked together and she even managed to get the background for it all cut and ground.  The background glass is next to impossible to see in the picture because she picked a wispy white glass which disappears when it's resting on top of the white pattern paper.  Trust me when I say that it will show up wonderfully once this is hanging in the air and off of the table.
Betty's got two (well, technically three) other projects that are each very close to being completed.  As I mentioned up in the beginning of this post you can see here just how far along she is with her other two Bee Suncatchers.  Also, Betty has her Pendant Fleur De Lis all tacked together and has the front side of it completely soldered.  With only the second side left to go I'm fairly sure that we'll see this one hanging up in our next blog post.

I jumped the gun last week when I said that Barbara had six of the eight panels ground for her Flower Panel Lamp.  She actually 'only' had five of them ground.  This week I can very factually state for the record that she only has one more panel left to grind before this lamp starts coming together in a big way.


Barbara also has two irons in the fire with this Hibiscus Window being the second project that she's working in one week.  It's all cut out and she's even got a large chunk of it ground already.  That's some quick work indeed.
Judy has all of her Teddy Bear Window ground and the first thing I need to say is that he most certainly no longer looks evil.   It's all about the eyes when it comes to faces and this bear is no exception.  We also removed the super dark (almost black) snout pieces and although we don't have the new pieces cut I'd say that Judy could easily use the same glass that she used for the rest of the bear and he would look great.  She's begun wrapping this and once it's tacked together we'll place different sheets of glass underneath it to see which color Judy will end up picking for the snout.

Here's a fun picture of Steve and Russ joining two heavy pieces of copper rod together with solder.  A simple spot of lead would never hold so Steve has overlapped a good 4 to 5 inches of rod, secured them in a vise, and used a blow torch to melt the solder onto both pieces for a nice secure joint.   Copper solders extremely well but the more of it there is the harder it is to get hot since it's also an excellence conductor of heat.  That's why Steve has a torch involved here.  What is this going to be?  I'll hopefully reveal that to you next week when the framework is completed.  I don't want to ruin the surprise.
Mary Grace has her second Peacock tacked together and will begin cutting out her background pieces when she returns next week.   We're going to re-adjust her two brown branches so that they come out to the edges of the window and perfectly match the first version of this that Mary Grace made.  Rest assured that the re-cutting of those two branches won't take any time at all. 

As promised, here's a look at the next Bird On A Branch that Susan D is working on.  With just the leaves left to cut out she's well on her way to getting this installed into her 'Bird Window'.   How many birds can you fit in a single window?  I promise to get an answer to that when I talk to Susan  again.
Linda L's third Beach Scene is all cut and ground which means that the only thing left for her to do is wrap three more pieces of glass and then solder it.  This will undoubtedly be finished when Linda comes back in next week.

MiMi's final Hexagon Window is tacked together and has its front side completely soldered!  I'm positive that she'll get the back side soldered and have this ready to be installed well before class happens next week.  So then, that means that this is it.  Pop open the Champaign and let's toast to MiMi's mental well being after spending a year and a half on the same project which involved thousands of the same piece over and over and over and over and over and over and over...   Look out stained glass world-- MiMi is free to do whatever she wants to now!

Steve got his second Sunflower Suncatcher ground, wrapped, and soldered before moving over to his copper wire frame that required the use of a blow torch.  If I'd have realized that the only left to go on this was the wire work I would have finished it for him!  Next week for sure.   
And with all of her pattern traced out in its entirety, Sheri is ready to start working on one of the flowers in her Peony Window.  Top or bottom flower I don't know but we'll surely find out upon Sheri's return.

And there you have it.  This is an early post due to the fact that Monday is a Holiday and I didn't want this post to be hanging over my head.  Expect another tip at the end of the week which will put us back on schedule.