Continuing my learning process from my last stained glass post

I spent almost two months embracing the fact that glass breaks, and learning how to guide the glass to break in the way that I want it to. The break will always follow the path of least resistance, and by scoring the path with a glass cutter, I’m simply creating an easy path for the glass to break. Of course, I’m not quite skilled with the glass cutter or the right amount of pressure one should apply, so my pieces aren’t always exact. Sometimes, I fail horribly at cutting curves. I try to score as close to the cartoon line as possible, and hope to grind the excess off with the glass grinder.

The goal is to have all the pieces fit snuggly against each other, just like how we planned in the cartoon/drawing. Here are my pieces before grinding. As you can see, the pieces are jagged and sharp looking.

The glass grinder I’m using is by Gryphon Studio. I set mine up in my office for convenience but I recommend setting it up in an open space or in a “studio” as glass dust will get everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE!

Don’t ever forget to wear safety glasses — very important! And also, wear an apron, or something to cover yourself from glass dust and water from the grinder.

Start with the piece in the upper left corner and make sure it fits snuggly against reinforcement bars. If you look at the pieces to the left of the picture below, those have been grind so they fit snugly against each other.  The piece of the sky above the boy’s head on the right is the one I need to grind further so that the edges lie within the black lines of the cartoon. Using a sharpie, I drew in the area that needs to be grind away. Otherwise, piece #34 won’t be able to fit.

Be sure the glass is perfectly flat on the grinder surface before pushing it toward the grinding head or the edges won’t smooth down properly.

The first time I grind glass, I didn’t use any protection so I got blisters on my thumbs and forefingers within half an hour. I tried gloves but none of them fit my small hands. Duct tape to the rescue. It was the perfect solution. I was able to use my hands freely, feel the texture of glass but still able to protect my fingers against the sharp edges.

It takes a lot of patience and time as each piece has to be grind and fitted. It took me about three hours to grind the pieces below. The edges are smooth and each curve fits against each other like a glove.

Once in a while, I accidentally break a piece while grinding and have to recut. Be careful of the thin pieces and don’t push them too hard against the grinding head.

If you are going to recut any individual pieces, sometimes it’s easier to use tracing paper to trace the shape, cut it out and repeat the process with cutting glass.

For curved pieces that are impossible to cut by hand, we’d use a glass cutting saw. After we outlined the shape on the glass, use a bit of vaseline to protect the outline from being washed away.

Here is how we saw the curved glass. You can cut any shape with the saw. Holy crap, it is loud.

Uncle Howard took this picture of me as I put the last pieces of glass together.

These panels are being dedicated to the beloved elementary school’s Principal who passed away. I’m painting the title of book to read “Laurie’s Library” with glass paint.

This is the final outcome of my panel after grinding glass.

Due to time constraints and we both have summer vacations coming up, Howard will foil the panel and finish it up. I’m brainstorming my next stained glass project for my window and promise to write about the foiling process later.

Stay tuned for the final panels.