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.
May 20, 2003: Lamp-ish
The mysteries of lampmaking have been revealed to me. Some of them, anyway.

The twelve pieces that make up top tier or ring of my lamp.

You start off by arranging the pieces of the top tier of your lamp in a nice tight semi-circle. Then you take a piece of twenty-gauge wire and bend it into a curve matching the inner curve of your semi-circle. The idea is to solder wire to the top edges of the foiled pieces in such a way that all the sides of the pieces fit snugly next to one another. When all the pieces are attached to the wire by their top edges, you draw up the wire almost like tying a knot, so that the first and last pieces of the semi-circle come together to make a full circle. Then you play with the angles of the individual pieces so that they create a shallow conical shape. You know that the pitch is right when all of the edges line up with one another. Then, start tack soldering---just enough to hold everything in place.

One and a half tiers soldered.

When you finish the first tier, you begin the second by soldering its top edge to the bottom edge of a first-tier piece. Each piece of the second and subsequent tiers will be tack soldered to the piece above and to the piece beside it.

Four pieces away from having everything in place.

The shape of the lamp comes together amazingly quickly.

Messy. Real messy.

When all the pieces are tack soldered in place, it's time to do a "sloppy solder" on the outside of the lampshade. The idea is not that the solder work should be pretty, but that the lamp will have a good start at a solid construction. Up until this point, it's possible for the tack soldering to break. My lampshade isn't big enough that I have to worry too much about the lamp collapsing inward on itself, but a quick-and-dirty solder of the outside seams makes the lamp strong enough that I can then take my time in making finished, pretty solder lines.

Finished solder lines on the inside of the lampshade.

When class ended, I'd done finish soldering on the inside of the lampshade. Nice clean lines. Next class session, I'll apply the outside solder seams and patina, attach a vase cap to the top of the lamp, and do something called "wire-wrapping" about which I know nothing except that everyone in the class who's done it hates it.

Posted by Michelle on May 20, 2003 07:50 PM

*gasp* you have a LAMP! and it's beautiful! :) you are a talented lady.

Posted by: gnuptishkitty on May 20, 2003 10:27 PM

Hey, cool. Even though it's not done yet, it looks like you deserve some congratulations already!

Posted by: Pete on May 20, 2003 10:44 PM

HOW frigging COOL is that?!?

*i bow to you*

Posted by: Kim on May 20, 2003 10:51 PM

gosh, that is just gorgeous -- stunning and beautiful! and i bet it'll look just amazing when the light illuminates the glass from inside! wow. *drool*

Posted by: allura on May 21, 2003 07:51 AM

Even not quite finished, it's gorgeous. Just plain gorgeous.

Really nice work. :-D

Posted by: Adrith on May 21, 2003 09:37 AM

That is your best project yet! Where are you going to put it? Completely none of my business, but is it safe to work while you're wearing your engagement diamond? You have a gorgeous rock so it would suck if anything were to happen to it.

Posted by: Linda on May 21, 2003 01:34 PM

hee. thank you thank you thank you! you're all so nice.

The lamp *does* look neat held up to the light. The green glass I used is "stipple" glass which is flecked with little air bubbles here and there throughout the glass, which only show up against the light, and which look REALLY cool. When I get the shade attached to a lamp I'm going to try to photograph the glass bubbles, though it may prove an impossible task.

I would like for the finished lamp to live in our living room, but Don isn't really feeling the green so maybe not.

Linda: the ring does not come off; it won't slide over my swollen sentimental streak. Plus, the only other piece of jewelry I've owned and felt couldn't be replaced due to its sentimental value, I managed to lose. Have been beating myself up over it for thirteen years.

I did once discover a solder splash on my ring, several days after having done any glass work even, but it pried right off. Gold melts at 1550 degrees F, and the melting point of gold jewelry solder is nearly as high, requiring some sort of flame torch apparatus, as I understand it. On the other hand, my soldering iron only gets up to 700 degrees and the glassing solder itself melts at around 400 degrees. So the equipment I use is no danger to my ring, heatwise, although in a battle between my ring and the diamond grinding head on my grinder, I'm guessing neither would come out of it looking very good.

Posted by: Michelle on May 21, 2003 03:39 PM

Michelle --

Floyd the Sparkle Bug agrees with me -- un-fucking-believeably beautiful. You're one talented lady.

Sure you wanna be a techie? I *SO* see a design studio in your future....

Posted by: Eve on May 21, 2003 07:05 PM

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