Adventures in Dangerous Art
I'm learning the art (or is it a craft?) of stained glass. At this weblog, I record progress, note useful links, and document flesh wounds.


The Art League
Where I took a lead class and a 3D construction class.

Weisser Glass Studio
Where I buy supplies, and where I took a foil class.

Virginia Stained Glass Co.
Where I buy supplies if I happen to be in Springfield and if they happen to have what I want.

Great prices on supplies, a lively and helpful Glass Chat message board, and excellent Technical Tips on stained glass tools and techniques.

Glass Galleries Links List
A list of Glass Chat users who've uploaded photos of their work.

The StoreFinder: Stained Glass Store Front
Lots of articles. Tutorials
Even more articles. Particularly recommended: "Anatomy of a design" and "Wood frames."
Courtesy of Google Groups.

Nancy's Beginner Tips and Tricks
Scoring, breaking, soldering, finishing, and more.

Splinter Removal Tips

Syndicate this site
Someone out there is using XML for something... right?

Movable Type
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It's a glass cutter.
October 15, 2002: Baby, I'm Ready To Go
At class tonight, I cut 22 pieces. 57 down, 12 to go. I was making good time, but what I made up for in speed I lacked in precision. Some pretty ugly edges, which means I didn't save any time at all, as I'll have to fix them on the grinder. I think I got impatient. A couple of the students in the class were ready to start assembling their panels, so the instructor showed us how to start building the pieces into the lead cames. He demonstrated with one of the students' panels and after he'd put together only three pieces you could really see how it would start to come together. So I want to be done with cutting so I can build too.

A bad precedent. I don't think that stained glass is really an appropriate hobby for the patience-impaired. Well, I'm in learning mode, ready to move on---at this point I'm pretty damned good at cutting.

While chatting with the instructor tonight, I told him about the guilt-inducingly good deal I got on my grinder by taking advantage of Warner-Crivellaro's price match guarantee. He said that Warner is very much known for that, and that under no circumstances would it be a good idea to take their catalog with me to any stained-glass supply stores and stand around comparing prices. "The retail stores really hate Warner because of that whole price-matching thing."

Today I received an email from a nice man named Bruce who is also new to stained glass. Bruce had some tips for me, plus his instructor's take on lightbox cutting as opposed to paper-pattern cutting, and was kind enough to give his permission for me to post his message here:


I came across your web page when doing a search for stained glass techniques. Thanks for the links you had, they helped a lot.

Great weblog. You've certainly picked a challenging first piece. I'm also a stained glass newbie, had two classes so far, and I can really relate to many of the things you've written about!

Our instructor, although initially taught the pattern/template method you are using, is now more of a free hand/pattern tracing aficionado, which is what he is teaching our class. He spends 4-5 hours a day (or more) cutting glass, and would not get nearly as much done if he had to cut templates for every piece. One of his real concerns with trying to cut with templates affixed to the glass (other than how time consuming it is) was if the cutter jumps onto the paper so you don't get a clean score all the way along your cut line. If he makes a template at all (for really opaque glass that doesn't work well with a light box), as often as not he will do so from scrap window glass directly over the pattern, and then trace around this with a black felt pen onto the opaque glass.

I noticed from your pictures that you seem to be using straight type glass cutters. Have you considered a "pistol grip" type cutter? They much more comfortable to use, self oiling, and not much more expensive. You seem pretty serious about stained glass (not many newbies go and purchase grinders!), so you might consider at least trying out this kind of cutter. They're also a lot more durable then regular cutters.

For you long straight lines, don't use your running pliers. Instead, put a long dowel (pencil diameter) under the glass directly under the score line, then press down on either side of the score line from above. It should snap cleanly right on the line. Also, you may want to tap under the score line with your cutter to extend a fissure along the score line first.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your continuing adventures!

Cheers, Bruce.

Posted by Michelle on October 15, 2002 11:02 PM

::Hi Bruce::

Posted by: Kim on October 15, 2002 11:16 PM

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