Blacker House Sconce, Glass Fitting

I got a couple more hours of work in on the stained glass panels for my sconces yesterday, with only 3 or 4 interruptions from work.  I’m pleased with how these are coming together, and I’m learning as I go.

When I took the 1 day class with my son I had two issues with my work.  My skill with scoring the glass is not great.  I mean, how could it be?  I’ve never done this before.  It’s gotten better, but I’m still not to the point where I can accurately follow a line with the glass cutter.  The other problem was my pattern.  As I ground my cut out pieces and tested them against the pattern I found that my pattern lines were too wide and getting the piece in the same location every time was a challenge.  If the part is slightly shifted (or all the parts around it shift) then it’s impossible to tell if the fit is right.

So I glued my patterns to a scrap of plywood and covered them with clear packing tape to protect them from water (the glass grinder uses a wet sponge to lubricate the little diamond grinding wheel).  Then I positioned the MDF mockup of the panel I made for test fitting in the sconce over the pattern, and framed it in with some scraps of MDF.  Now I have an accurate frame to help position the parts.  This made a huge difference for me and I was able to get a nice tight fit.  Maybe too tight, we’ll see when I add the copper foil to the parts and solder them later today.

Pattern for the main panel, waterproofed and guide frame in place

Pattern for the main panel, waterproofed and guide frame in place

The grinding isn’t too bad, it’s not as fast as grinding wood (or metal), and maintaining a straight edge with a small round grinding wheel is a little tricky – but I’ve ground loads of stuff and have a decent eye for this.  The trick is to check the part to the pattern, identify where material needs to be removed, grind a little and check again.  I over-ground on two or three pieces and decide to cut new parts.  They were little, tiny bits, so the mistake was more obvious and not much material was wasted.

First piece ground to fit

First piece ground to fit

Here is the first main panel all ground and together.  The next step will be to apply copper foil tape to the edges of the pieces and solder them together.  I’m going to get all of the glass for all six panels cut and ground before starting on assembly.  By the way, this is the back of the glass.  Since the front is moderately textured I have to score it from the back, and since the design is symmetrical I’m also grinding and assembling these face-down.  Less chance of making a mistake this way.

First panel completely ground and test fit

First panel completely ground and test fit

Both front panels ready for assembly

Both front panels ready for assembly

Starting on the first of four side panels

Starting on the first of four side panels

I don’t have any planned emergencies at work today, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy an uninterrupted day of vacation.  At least until my wife and son get home from their Tahoe trip, then I expect all hell will break loose.

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2 thoughts on “Blacker House Sconce, Glass Fitting

  1. Can’t wait to see a light in these. Have you thought of putting a mirror or a piece of ply in the back of the lamp? Seems a waste to put the colored glass in there.

  2. This glass isn’t that expensive – maybe $8 for a 12×12 sheet. so this is about $3 worth for the two backs. The back is exposed, but not in direct view. Light will come through this and throw a nice amber glow on the wall (I hope).

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