A beginner with TONS of questions

FrizzleSeptember 6, 2009

Hello all!

So here's the situation.

- I have stained glass (enough to open my own shop - given to me - someone was cleaning out)

-I have tools and foils and whatnots for making the real deal (gifted with the above glass)

-I have 4 old windows (and name given to the guy I got them from, he's going to call me when he has more)

Now, I would like to do GOG on those windows. I am familiar with cutting and grinding the glass, ( I made some stepping stones a few years ago) I can find patterns or make my own designs, I've read this forum for the last 2 weeks about glue and grouting and leading, etc. Here's the questions.

What is whiting used for? That came in the box of the tools.

What do I need to do to the windows themselves to insure the panes won't fall out once the colored glass is added?

To hang the windows after they are finished? Something added to the back or something looped through the framework? I imagine they are super heavy when finished?

What's your favorite kind of grinder to use?

Anything I can wear to protect my fingers from cuts?

That's it for now (I think!)

THanks for helping me!


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I can't answer all of your questions, but I will tell you what I know. Whiting is used to clean up the cement when you do a leaded window. You rub it on your project and it removes the excess cement.

I use snug fitting leather gloves to protect my hands when I am working with glass. They don't prevent all injuries if your aren't careful, but I have had a lot less cuts since I started wearing them.

I use an inland grinder. It isn't the highest end of the line but I like it.

I have never done GOG, but have been wanting to try. I look forward to the answers that you recieve here since they are questions I have also had.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 9:13AM
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WOW! Where to begin...when you say gog on those windows..you are saying that there is already glass in the windows...so they are probably already to go...maybe a pic of them would help, unless you want to describe how the glass was installed....as far as hanging them, I just buy sturdy metal hooks that screw into the wood, I think they are called an eyelete kind, all round, then hang with chain.
I also own an inland grinder, just your basic model...but there are some pretty cool ones out there, depending on what you need it to do for you, even sanding belts...
I found one of the best "Tools" I own for mosaics is a rock tumbler that Slow sent me from Harbor Frieght(we don't have that here)it is used for tumbling the glass so there is no sharp edges!!! Works great, I only tumble stuff for about 20minutes, adding a drop of dish soap to get the cutter oil/etc off...works like a charm!!!
I think once you've been working with glass for a while...(bandaids on each finger!lol!)you get the hang of not slicing yourself up with the glass....

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Yes, there is glass in the old windows. Looks like some of the putty stuff is cracked and falling out. That's why I was concerned with stability.

They are those 6 pane windows with lovely old peeling paint. I'll poly over the paint to keep it intact.

If you tumble the glass, does it fit together or do you you find you lose a lot around the edges? I'm thinking you just tumble it with a GOG project and not when the next step is foiling and soldering?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 6:21AM
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I just caulk around the glass to make sure it stays in, then begin.
I only tumble glass for GOG, and use the traditional way(grinder) for soldering and foiling. So you are gonna do both?! Good for you! Both are so much fun...of course mosaicing is faster and more forgiving...but stained glass has all those great patterns!!!heh heh! Not that you can't use a stained glass pattern to do a gog, it certainly has been done, and some people have done very precise and neatly done gog(mine are usually helter skelter lol)
You said that you already have cut glass for stepping stones so you must know some of the basics for cutting and such? It does get better, you don't cut yourself as much as you go along...ha! Just take your time and and concentrate on the breaking part...not all glass breaks the same, opaque glass is thicker and harder to break, than say clear stuff.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Yes, I have the oil cutter where the handle holds the liquid.

So, do you decide on a pattern, cut all the pieces, tumble them and then glue them onto the glass?

I certainly want to try my hand at the foiling putting together an entire piece like that. I have more glass then I could use up in months, even if I was to work on all the windows of a church. (seriously, this is a LOAD of glass)

I think I'll try the GOG stuff first. Then try some of those little dragonflies or butterflies, then the whole window pieces last.

We'll see! Last year I taught myself to knit, this year it's the stained glass stuff, wonder what next year's surprise will be??

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 3:12PM
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I only use nipped stuff in the tumbler and any pcs I cut, I grind.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 5:09PM
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Someone mentioned the whiting as the agent for cleaning cement off the pieces in a leaded window.

Where does cement come in when working on a leaded window? I thought you foiled and placed all the pieces in a wooden jig or frame to brace them until you soldered them?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 7:23AM
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After you solder the pc, you use a cement to mortar the pcs together, it fills up under the leading and acts like grout, to strengthen, the lead and solder by itself is pliable and soft, but the cement is the hardener, so you apply it, kinda like the stuff they put around windows back in the day...then you use whiting to finish that process, then clean up the window and it's solid! Won't sag ever. Just like some big pcs of work need wire strips to add support, soldered into the solder lines.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 10:22AM
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For some clarification, there are two tecnhiques for making stained glass. One is what most of us are familiar with and that's the Tiffany or copper foil technique. The other is traditional stained glass (like you see in large church windows, etc.) where lead came is used between the glass and soldered only at the seams. Then cement is used to push under the lead and whiting is used to clean up the cement.

I've taken classes for both techniques and much prefer the delicacy of copper foil, but both techniques can be used in one piece.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 10:53AM
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hmmm, maybe I need more research and some classes on that part myself. I thought I had the basics down but after your last 2 posts I'm confused.

So, if I copper foil and solder along all the edges of the pieces of glass, then that is sturdy enough to not need cement. If I use the pre-formed cane that looks like a letter H in the channel, only soldering at the points where the channel meets, then the cement is spread over the glass to solidify the design and prevent sagging.

See? Sometimes you have to type something out yourself to get to where it almost makes sense! (If I'm correct about what I just wrote that is LOL)

Here's another question----
What type and brand flux and solder do you recommend?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 6:21AM
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H came is used between pieces of glass such as the interior of a panel and, yes, you would cement that. U came or zinc is used around the perimeter of a panel. I know it can be confusing. I have seen artists use the H came and not cement. The cementing just keeps the glass from rattling around. If I'm making a panel, I will use zinc around the perimeter (and no cement) because the zinc is a harder metal and provides the support and framing I prefer ~ no need to add a wood frame.

Now, for the flux and solder. I really have found no difference betewen fluxes. I've used the gel and liquid and they seem the same. Solder: now that's a can of worms! If I'm making something that I think will be handled frequently such as jewelry or a business card holder, I will use a lead free solder and prefer the Canfield Silvergleem. If I'm making a suncatcher, I prefer the Canfield 60/40. It's much easier to work with and flows really well to give you a nice, even bead.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 9:20PM
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Things getting cleared up in my head a bit (I can't wait to tackle this but I'm trying to be patient :) )

So, let's say I choose a pattern. I cut and grind the glass, foil it, and set it all together in a wooden jig to hold it tightly.

The next step is to paint on the flux and solder the glass where the pieces meet up to tack it in place to keep it from shifting. Then you'd go around all the pieces on one side, flip the project over, and solder around all the pieces again.

Then you'd add the U came or the zinc to the outside edges and solder that on. The last step is adding a hanging device of some sort - which I assume you'd solder in place as well.

The question this time around is --
Do you start with the front of the project facing you or do you first solder the back? How much "leaks" through to the other side?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 6:25AM
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Yes, you have the main idea! I don't put my pieces in a jig. Instead, I use pins (like sewing or quilting pins) to pin the outer edges to my work board. My work board consists acoustic ceiling tiles that are cut to about 8" x 10" or larger depending on the size of the panel. I tape the edges with packing tape or duct tape to keep it from shedding.

I solder the front first, then the back, then spot solder anywhere on the front that may need it.

If zinc is added, there is enough space at the edge of the zinc to drill a small hole and put a key ring in the hole and attach a chain for hanging. If using came, be sure to solder your wire into a seam in the stained glass to provide enough support. On anything that requires a frame on the outside edge, I always like to use two rings to hang the chain. Of course, if you are making suncatchers, there is no need to use zinc or came on the outside edges. Just put a good bead of solder on the edge.

If you have cut along your pattern lines and the pieces fit together snugly, there should be minimal "leaks". Of course, this all comes with practice!

Can't wait to see pics of your projects!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Thanks so much for all the help!

I think I'm going to try my hand at a small picture frame I have with nothing in it. I'll do a GOG and see how it works.

Then I have a giant tub on old silverware, I saw someone's dragonfly spoons that I just LOVED. So that might be next.

All the while I'm going to search for just the right pattern to start for a panel.

Any favorite pattern sites? books? completely out of your imagination??

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 5:42AM
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