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Making a 3-d cat

Question:
I am searching for a 3D pattern a free standing pattern of a cat or any other animal. I was recently in Philadelphia and visited a retail stained glass store that only sells finished pieces, no work is done by the owners. They buy all pieces for resale so they couldn't really tell me where to get the pattern. 
Perhaps you in all your knowledge can help me thanks


Answer:

Hi,
I don't know of any such patterns but maybe I can still help. 
Buy a cheap bisque cat from a pottery shop where they sell bisque pieces for people to glaze themselves. You can use that as a form for a glass cat. 
Just draw a pattern of pieces on the cat to break him up and trace over them with tracing paper to make patterns to cut the glass.

Use tacky wax to stick the glass to the cat in sections and solder each portion of the cat. Solder the individual cat sections together into a whole cat.

Gary Dodge


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Can't get patina Black enough

Question:

Hello,
I've just started doing some sun catchers, the problem that I'm having is I can't seem to get the finished project black, I put on the black patina, but when I polish it with the car polish it seems to go a gun metal color. It is shiny but not black, could you please give me some idea on what to do.

Thank you, Teresa

Answer:

Teresa,

There may be two things going on here. First, make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning your solder before applying the patina and that you are doing it as soon after soldering as possible. If you wait too long the metal will accumulate oxides and may not take patina well.

Second, if you really want a black black, polish is just not the way to clean your panel. Wash it thoroughly with soap and water several times and be done with it. There is just no patina that will stand up to being really polished and still look deep black.

If you want some shine you can try a variety of mild furniture polishes and be careful not to rub hard, just apply and wipe them off.

In commercial applications a shiny black patina is achieved by electroplating the piece then dipping the entire thing into a vat of lacquer and letting it drip dry.  If you don't mind the idea of lacquer on your glass and the possibility that it will yellow years down the road you can use a spray lacquer.


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Replacing a cracked piece in copper foil work

Question:

Hi,
 I have taken beginning classes in stained glass (only have worked with foil) - unfortunately last night I cracked one of the pieces in the completed panel. Is there a way I can repair it without re-doing the entire panel?

Answer:

Michelle,

You can remove the broken piece by scoring it up a lot from edge to edge.
Next use the ball end on a cutter to tap the score lines until the piece begins to break up. You can just keep tapping or you can use a long nose pliers to help get the glass out. Next use the pliers to gently pull the foil off while heating the solder with your iron. Melt all the excess solder out of the hole and make a new piece of glass to fit.

You can also cut a strip of aluminum from a soda or beer can that can be slid into the space between your pieces while you heat the solder with your iron. This technique can be used to remove a piece without even breaking it up of there is enough space between the pieces, or can be used as an added technique along with the method above.

Good luck.


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Using lead came for lamps

Question:
Hey.....real nice website! About 20 yrs. ago I bought kits from hobby
store in Ohio & made two really nice hanging lamps. They were so
popular that I used same patterns and made several more......that are still around. I was comfortable working with the "came" lead & the various "U" & "H" configurations. Is this still being done today? Must I crossover to foils? I am interested in making old timeys lamps and would appreciate your input and suggestions. Thanks.

Best Regards,  Jim

Answer:
Jim,

Came is certainly still being done today but for lamps foil is generally better because of its' superior strength.

If you use came for a lamp it is very important that the design is engineered so that the gravitational forces exerted on it over time do not stretch the cames and cause the lamp to fall apart.  Most lamp designs do not conform to this requirement and if you're not something of an amateur engineer it is hard to know what will work.

Still and all if you do make a lamp from came be sure that you do a good job of stretching the cames.  If you don't, gravity surely will stretch them for you and the lamp will have a very limited lifespan.  

Extra reinforcement like brass rings shaped to fit along the cames around the inside between tiers of glass will help keep the lamp from spreading.


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Cutting difficult glass

Question:

I was trying to use some Uroboros glass for a project and the glass would not break in a long gentle curve. Is there an easier way to do this?

Answer:

Hi,

The more expensive hand made art glasses can often be a challenge to cut. There are a great many factors that can affect your results, and there is no universal right or wrong. Ultimately it will take some experimentation to get the right combination for a given glass. To complicate things more even the cuttability of glasses of the same brand of glass will differ from color to color.

Things to try:

1) Try scoring the glass with less pressure, even if it is not making a sound.
2) Try scoring with more pressure, even if it already sounded like the score you're used to.
3) Try scoring the glass faster.
4) Try scoring the glass slower.
5) Try using a different glass cutter. Some glasses actually cut better with that cutter you thought was worn out. Cutters are available with different hone angles and a sharper or shallower angle may be better. Also there are differences between carbide and plain steel that rarely matter but some glasses are sensitive to it.
6) If you don't have one get the M-80 from Morton Glassworks and learn to use it. It's really very easy and on large sheets of some art glasses is the only way to get a controlled break.
7) If you are prone to tapping on glass DON'T. Tapping is not a controlled way to break glass. On forgiving mass produced glasses you may get away with it, but it never yields a clean cut and always leaves the door open to unpredicted breakage.
8) If nothing else works, ignore rule #7 and try tapping on the glass.  I never thought I'd say this but recently met up with some glass that just responded better to tapping than anything else.  (Just don't make a habit of it!)

Hope this helps.

Gary Dodge


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Safety Precautions for solder and fumes

Question:

I understand the dangers inherent in lead and lead fumes. 
Is there a way to make it safer, i.e., mask, fan, etc.? Is lead free solder so much more difficult to use and is it something that can be mastered? Thank you for your time.

 Ira 

Answer:

Hi again,

Yes, there are some precautions that can be taken with lead. 
Firstly I think that one of the leading mistakes made is in the simple physical handling of the materials. If you come in constant physical contact with the lead and the work surface and then touch your face, eyes mouth etc, you are bound to get over exposed. 
Wear a light glove over the hand holding the solder and never touch the freshly soldered areas bare handed. Learn to treat your own hands as if they are toxic waste until they have been cleaned.
Use a barrier cream to prevent lead from being absorbed through the skin.
Use active ventilation. Either work in front of a window with an exhaust fan or buy one of the filtering fans that are on the market.
A mask with a filter rated for radionuclides is also effective if also a somewhat extreme measure, but kids are much more susceptible to lead than adults so you've got to decide how far you want to take it.
And of course there's the obvious, don't solder near food preparation areas.

Lead free solder is just not as easy to get looking smooth, never looks as shiny and will not accept many of the favorite patinas. As a professional I will not use it on anything other than food bowls and jewelry which just would be unsafe otherwise. Either way it is not much fun and smells pretty bad while you work too. 
Mastered?... Well it just takes patience and a willingness to work longer and harder for a lesser result.

Gary Dodge