Before it got too hot yesterday and I abandoned ship to go buy a new TV (and ultimately returned to the shop to knock together a kludge to hold the TV and related paraphernalia) I made a credible start on the stained glass for the door of the Thorsen Cabinet.
I started by setting up a wood frame to hold the two copper surrounds I made earlier. The intent with the pattern board is to hold the two copper frames in orientation as they will be in the door, and to keep from springing the sides and messing up the fit.
I fit some paper into the wood frame, and started developing the pattern for the glass. I traces the inside edge of the copper frame, then sketched the “cloud” design in pencil, tweaking it until I was happy with it, then I inked in with a fine point sharpie.
The process for cutting the glass is pretty simple in concept, score and snap, but the reality is that curves add complexity. And the uneven texture of the glass gives it a mind of it’s own. I cut the pieces of glass for the left side first, but got a crack in the big one. That’s life, I bought extra expecting that nibbling out little pieces in a big sheet was going to be tricky.
I really love this clear glass. It has a few bubbles and an irregular hand-made appearance. It’s “iridized”, which means it has a thin metallic coating that gives it a purplish cast. Part of why this piece got away from me is that I scored it on the front instead of the back. The back is smoother. Also the glass needs to be well-supported when scoring, otherwise the pressure from scoring will start a crack.
So I ignored the bottom section and focused on finishing the top section first. I used grozing pliers to snap off any little pieces that didn’t come off and the score, then I ground the edge so it was a slightly loose fit in the opening in the copper.
Then I laid it over my pattern and traced the cut lines for the cloud design. I flipped the glass face down and scored it in stages. First a straight or sweeping cut to get close to the layout line. This can be snapped by hand or with “running pliers”. I’ll have to do a separate post on the tools as I don’t have pictures handy.
Once the first cut is snapped, I scored a service of shallow arcs into the inside curves. These will be snapped off using the grozing pliers. I’m not really very good at this, but it seems to work. If I can get within a 1/16″ of my line I’m happy.
After snapping all the little bits, and repeating the cuts on the other end of this piece, I’m ready to take it to the glass grinder.
These are the three pieces of glass I got to use for the cloud shapes. I’m starting out with the one on the bottom left, which is spear, white, pink and champagne. I suspect I’ll make a few pieces in more than one color as I go through this and decide what looks best. All of these have an iridized coating like the clear that I’m using.
Same process for the little pieces, with a slight twist. Since the glass isn’t clear I have to use a light box to see the pattern through the glass. I ink it onto the front of the glass, then flip the glass over on the light box and ink it onto the back. The difference in color between the two sides is surprising.
I score and break from the back, and grind from the front. I am aiming for a slightly loose fit between the pieces — not gaps (there will be some, and that’s OK) — but enough clearance for the copper foil that will wrap all the bits. Without the lead boarder the design looks a little anemic at this point. I’m also going to re-make one or two of the parts in different colors for more variety. But this is where I left off before my son convinced me to stop so we could go TV shopping.