Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stained-glass Crosses

We had a great time in my stained-glass class making little panels of a cross.

There are several steps in creating a stained-glass piece. There are also many tools required.

First, you choose the pattern, copy it, and cut out one of the copies to use as a pattern.

After tracing around the pattern onto your glass, you cut the glass with a glass cutter.

You leave a little space for the lead, so cut your glass INSIDE the line you drew. Each piece of glass needs to be the EXACT size of the pattern. Too big and it won't fit. It will push the other pieces out too far or just won't go in at all. Too small and you'll have a gap in your finished piece.

You put your glass together on a board that has two boards on top at a right angle. You use these boards to push against as you put the pieces of glass in place. The pattern is there so you know where everything goes.

The outside of the panel is zinc. Lead stretches and is very soft, so it doesn't make a good border. We cut the zinc channels at a 45 degree angel.

Here is a piece with most of the glass in place. The nails are there to hold it together until after the solder is added. You put them in as you go along then move them when you are ready to put another piece in. This is especially important with curved pieces (in a different pattern) because they move around a lot when you put new pieces in.

Here you can see that piece number 12 is the only one not in. We number the pieces so we are sure they go in the correct place. This is more important in a larger piece but is still helpful even in a small panel like these.

After all the lead and pieces of glass are in you put some flux on each joint. 'The joints are where the lead meets up against another piece of lead. The solder won't stick to the lead unless you put flux on it. There's some sort of chemical reaction that you can google if you really need to know more about how that works.

The soldering irons are REALLY hot, so make sure you only touch the handle. You use just enough solder to cover the joint. Go straight down and straight up for a pretty solder joint. DON'T Paint it on. Down and up - that's it. We wear masks because it's really not good to breath the flux fumes. For that matter, the lead is rather hazardous too! Please don't eat it.

After all of your joints are soldered you remove your nails, flip the piece over and do the same thing to the other side.

After soldering it's good to wash off the flux just to make sure it doesn't keep reacting with the lead and make ugly spots. This may not be as necessary because when the piece is cleaned a little later that may take care of it, but this makes sure all the flux is gone.

The next step is called "mudding." The "mud" is actually window glazing like you would use on an old wooden window sash around the glass. The mud makes the window air-tight and water-tight and keeps the glass from rattling around in the lead.

I'm not sure what "whiting" is, but it cleans up the glass and makes it shine beautifully and it dries up the mud. You sprinkle it on the glass then scrub it with a brush.
A final brushing off with a soft cloth and you have your finished window.


You can see more of the finished crosses from my class on my facebook page.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

We hated we missed this class! Hope you do another soon! Witht the cross!