Friday, May 18, 2012

Stained Glass, Exhibit C

This week at stained glass, it was a lot more of the same--tracing, cutting, grinding, more grinding, and recutting. Only a lot less recutting, thank goodness. I think I only had to recut one piece! And the others went so much faster. I figured out how to cut closer to the inside of the marker line so as not to have to grind down as much. I found a better grinder that was faster. And I just overall didn't suck quite as much. I also got to learn how to use a few new tools/techniques.

Here's how it went down...

Step 1: Start tracing and cutting.  I tried out a different model of glass cutter today and liked it way better. It has a wide grip, like a gun instead of a skinny one, like a pencil.  That way you can exert downward pressure with your whole hand instead of just the tips of your fingers.  Way easier and more accurate.  Yay!

Step 2: Grind some more.  I had a few background pieces I had cut that were way too big for some reason, so I had quite a bit of grinding to do.  Fortunately, I found a better grinder so it took less time.

Step 3: Search for glass.  I decided to change my design a little bit.  I had planned on using a bright red to make the little squares around the border of my sun design and use white for the long pieces of the border.  But when I laid it out, it was very blah.  So I swapped where the red and white would go.  However, there was a slight problem:  I could only find tiny scraps of red in the glass bins.  Nothing big enough for the long edge pieces, let alone the center sun piece.  And they were quite a dark red, like red wine.  I needed something brighter.  So my great teacher, LuJean, found a big panel of bubbly red glass that had been taken from an old building upon restoring it.  It was perfect!  It was transparent, had texture, and was just the right shade of red.

(Isn't it pretty?  It looks almost orangey, like fire embers, with the light shining through.  But from straight on, it just looks like a nice strawberry red.)

Step 4: Learn a new tool!  I got to the part of my design where there were a lot of long rectangular pieces and small square pieces, all straight lines. So I got to learn how to use the straight-line cutting thingy. It slides along a rod that is fixed to the table so it makes a perfectly straight cut. Once you use it on 2 sides of your glass, you have a right angle and all the other pieces can be cut off with the straight-line cutting thingy. It was very handy and saved a lot of time on cutting and grinding. 

Step 5:  Another new tool!  Once I got all the long strips cut, I had to make them the right length.  So I used this straight-line measuring thingy and a cutter to give them a perfectly flat, square end.  I marked the glass with a template, lined it up against the straight-edged lip of this tool, and trimmed along the other straight edge.  Voila!  Perfectly square!

Step 6: Progress!  I managed to get all my glass pieces cut!  (I accidentally wisely chose a design with very few curved lines and not very many pieces. Some of my poor classmates will be cutting little crescent shapes and arches until winter.)  So the last thing I did was piece it all together, see if any pieces were too big and would nudge the ones next to them, and grind down the offending edges.

Here is a sneak peak of what the finished piece will look like...

Next week:  Fun with 3rd degree burns! (Also known as, I get to start soldering).



Hildie said...

How are those wimpy little gloves supposed to protect your hands???

Also, I LOVE your design and colors. LOVE!!!

Omgirl said...

They have really thick canvas gloves with rubber coating for when you're, say, digging around in the glass bins. But for general cutting and handling, most people don't wear any gloves! I wear the latex ones because it keeps at least little cuts and shards out. But last week I got a sliver of glass in my finger despite the gloves, so, ya, they're not that great. (They also make your hands all pruney and clammy because the grinder is water cooled and your hands get all wet. When I take my rubber gloves off at night it looks like I've been in the bath for 3 hours!)

L. said...

How on EARTH did the darling daughter of a practiced woodworker grow up without knowing that a "straight-line measuring thingy" is called a "square"?

Beautiful job! I was sooo impressed with the finished product, and can hardly wait to see it hanging in your window!