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

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Someone out there is using XML for something... right?

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It's a glass cutter.
February 09, 2003: Not Your Fifth-Grader's Compass
Last week, correspondent Bruce pointed out a page about lampshade design that suggested that I might like to have "a T-square, 45 degree set square, protractor and compass." With visions of neatly drawn lamp plans dancing in my head, I made a visit to my local Utrecht art and drafting supply store.

Their selection of compasses was more complex and befuddling than I had expected. There was a long, thin thirty-dollar box of metal and plastic parts which announced itself as a "beam compass", whose exact method of function remains a source of mystery to me even after having consulted Google. The usual pivoting compasses of long-ago geometry classes were in evidence as well, but seemed both too much and too little for my needs: although they featured leg-mounted quick-adjust controls, interchangeable drawing points, and other gadgety improvements, none seemed capable of drawing circles any larger than six inches in diameter.

A knowledgeable Utrecht employee set me straight. A special kind of the six-inch pivot compasses could be outfitted with an extension bar to increase their maximum diameter. Which works, but now it looks like sort of a lobster-compass: this absurdly asymmetrical freakishly-long arm on just one side.

Big circles! BIG circles!

I thought I was all set and ready to go, until I got the compass home and tried playing with it. It has two dealbreaking flaws. One is that the legs are a little bit loose, adding a variability of a few millimeters to the arc it draws. The other is that the adjustable, removable sharp metal center-point has a nasty habit of slipping upwards into the leg of the compass if pressed too firmly against a drawing pad; the tiny thumbwheel that ought to tighten the pincer grip of the leg upon the point is effective only so far and then pointlessly, limply spins.

I am at this point unsure whether the proper reaction to all this is indignance or shame. On one hand, I expected that Utrecht would sell me a quality tool. On the other, it could be some sort of colossal ignorance is to blame for my troubles in producing one large pencilled circle both unwobbly and complete.

I guess if I have time later in the week I will go back downtown and hope to run across the same or another helpful Utrecht employee to either help me out or give me my money back. Meanwhile, Zima has volunteered her drafting services for the cause:

Sort of looks as if it would have to hurt, doesn't it?

Posted by Michelle on February 09, 2003 12:41 PM

Now I want to pull out my drafting gear to see if the dog will take an interest in it although I"m sure she'd never have the patience for it like Zima clearly does.

Posted by: mike on February 10, 2003 04:08 AM

heh. You have no idea. Zima sat beside me the entire time I played with my new toys, waiting for me to need to go downstairs for a minute, thereby giving her the opportunity to make off with some of said toys.

Posted by: Michelle on February 10, 2003 10:06 AM

That is one helluva funny picture!

Posted by: scully on February 10, 2003 12:26 PM

I can't wait to see what she drafts up then!

Posted by: mike on February 10, 2003 07:18 PM

That Zima cat is the best. She really looks like she is going to draw something!

Posted by: Liz on February 11, 2003 12:31 PM

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