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.
November 06, 2002: Had To Happen Sooner or Later
Another milestone today: my first crack.

Right there across the middle of the green leaf strip. Also: I TOLD you my solder looked like ass.


It doesn't exist in the photos I took at the end of last night's class, so either it happened in transport on the way home, or it happened during today's ill-fated solder session. I had a hell of a time with it, and I don't know why. Particularly with the joints of lead came to the zinc framing: the solder would pool over on the zinc as if the lead had a force field around it. Plenty of solder flux, plus brand-new soldering iron: you tell me.

Anyway, I have read that you can get cracks in your glass during soldering if you linger too long in one place with the hot iron. The radical shift in temperature---the soldering iron is 700 degrees F---can stress the glass and cause it to break. But I'd think I'd hear that---wouldn't I?---and too, the joints on either end of the break were pretty easy ones to solder.

I also discovered, on the previously inaccessible back side of my panel, a dime-sized chip on the edge of another of my green pieces. It won't be very noticeable, visually speaking, but it is going to make me nervous forever... such places are excellent points for breakage at some point in the future, and the chip is big enough that I have a feeling that when or if the piece does break there, it won't be a nice neat hairline crack like the one in the photo above.

I don't know. Too late to sweat these things now, for sure. I'm about 5/8 of the way through total soldering and there's no turning back now.

Posted by Michelle on November 06, 2002 05:25 PM

i used to do stained glass a few years back, and reading your site makes me miss it!

your crack was probably due to the heat, as it happened on a little piece of glass, and the smaller the piece, the quicker it heats up. you can't always hear the crack, either.

and regarding your patina: i'm sure you'll have no problem! it's hard to mess up that part. plus, that's the fun part, because you are almost done!

keep up the great work! i am really enjoying watching your progress!


Posted by: jennifer baughan on November 6, 2002 06:42 PM

Hi Michelle,

There is a way you can hide that crack if you want. I alluded to it when I first mentioned the "Dutchman" technique. Cut all of the heart out of some lead came so you have just the face left, then trim it to lie over the crack. If you like, try to make it look like an extension of the other came lines on the adjoining pieces. Solder both ends to the lead, and then convince yourself you meant to have a came line there anyway! Remember to do this on both sides. Apparently this is a common way for hiding small cracks: just make it look like it was part of the original design! Particularly on larger panels, nobody but the orginal artist would even notice a small detail like and extra line here or there.

Posted by: Bruce on November 7, 2002 12:35 PM

I would definitely notice though. Constantly. I dunno... maybe, maybe.

The Dutchman trick is wonderful though. I'm taking a break from soldering right now and I've been down in the basement just snipping away at my tiny scraps of leftover lead. It definitely works out much better than trying to get the solder to join up across a 1/16" gap.

Jennifer: good to know, about the small pieces cracking first. I'm now trying to work so that I don't do all the joints surrounding a small piece in a row, letting each one cool off completely before moving to the next. Thanks.

Posted by: Michelle on November 7, 2002 12:48 PM

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