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.
December 09, 2002: Back in the Saddle Again
After having taken most of a couple weeks off from stained glass and pretty much everything else, due to bronchitis and sinus infection, a mysterious hand injury, a cold basement, and a giant pile of fence pickets (courtesy Don) blocking my access to the workbench, I put my copy of The John Lennon Collection on the stereo, cranked it up, and got back to work today. I've cut 14 of 17 pieces of one transom, and touched up 11 of those with the grinder. A lovely thing about this design is that it's horizontally symmetrical, so I can flip my pieces over so as to see the glass rather than the bits of pattern paper stuck to them, and still have them fit (more or less) on my building pattern.

The flower-thing from my transom design. The red is a much darker glass than the orange, which is why it looks brown laid down on my building pattern.

I have been using correspondent Bruce's dowel trick for breaking very long straight lines in glass. Works like a charm, and I'm glad he shared it with me. Besides being very effective at keeping the break on the score, it's also a hell of a lot safer to break a big piece of glass when it's lying flat than it would be to do it with running pliers.

I'm not having so much luck with tapping. It's said you can control a tough break by first scoring as normal, then turning the glass over and tapping the end of a glass cutter on the underside of the the score to create and then slowly extend a crack along the score line. I've tried it once, on a score too long to trust to running pliers, too far from the edge of the glass to use breaking pliers, and too curvy to rest atop a dowel. My result was a nasty crack through the middle of my piece, which necessitated slow and careful scraping of the pattern piece from the glass using an X-acto knife. Which is SUCH a pain in the ass, takes forever to get it off the glass intact. Grunt work, and the best argument I can think of for cutting glass by tracing it out on a lightbox instead of using paper patterns.

My deep dark secret is that I'm not 100% sure my transoms are buildable as I have designed them. Well---not by me, anyway. The first challenge in my pattern is that the orange pieces of the flower-shape sort of notch into the clear glass at their tops, a little bit. It's a challenge because you wouldn't be able to cut a notch out of a piece of glass without breaking it---unless you had four hundred bucks to drop on a ring saw---so I'm relying on the 1/4" supplementary head of my Glastar SuperStar II grinder to create a little notch for the glass to slide into. Just due to the nature of the tool, it won't be able to do exactly what I have designed into my pattern, so some on-the-fly fitting will be required once I get to the point of leading everything. Should be fun. Here's hoping I can make it work.

The 1/4" grinder head was a little scary to use for the first time today. I set up my mini table so I had a support surface for my glass at the height of the 1/4" head, and all that worked fine, but when I actually started using it, the grinder head seemed loose. It wiggled some, and too much pressure on the glass against the head would cause the head to try to sort of grab the glass and shoot it at me. When I stopped and removed the mini table, I found that a tiny sort of screw which holds the 1/4" head to the top of the 3/4" head had loosened to the point of falling out when I lifted the 1/4" head. I cannot imagine how. Vibrations from the grinder, maybe? But that's what a grinder does, is vibrate. I'll have to keep an eye on that little screw. Projectile grinder heads are not one of the risks I bargained for when signing up for this little hobby of mine.

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

Posted by Michelle on December 09, 2002 08:37 PM

And that's what happens when your hands slip off the shift key, onto the return key. Sorry about the empty comment.

Good to see you back at the transoms!

Posted by: Adrith on December 10, 2002 10:10 AM

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