Stained Glass Panel for Cabinet Finished

I got some time in the shop yesterday and was able to finish the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-inspired-but-Mission-styled cabinet I’m making.

I spent probably an hour fine tuning the fit of the pieces on the grinder, and ended up re-making one or two more pieces.  I think it was time well spent because the finished panel cam out pretty nice I think.  The process of assembling the panel goes like this:  First the pieces need to be cleaned to remove any “Sharpie” layout lines or numbers and any residue from grinding.  Then I put them on a hot plate (set on “low”)  that is covered with a few layers of paper to warm up.  This makes sure the parts are dry, but more importantly it makes the copper foil easier to apply.  I used 7/32 foil for this, which seems to be a decent size for me.  You can go a little narrower, but if you’re off a tiny bit in applying it then you end up with places where you don’t have foil on both sides of the glass.

Starting to apply the copper foil

Starting to apply the copper foil

Panel completely foiled and ready for soldering

Panel completely foiled and ready for soldering

Once the parts are all foiled I’m ready to solder the seams.  I keep it in the frame I made at least until I’ve tacked all the parts together to hold the alignment.  I use a special solid 60/40 solder that is made for stained glass work, and apply flus with a brush.  It’s pretty simple work, although the technique is different than soldering electrical connections.  In this case you apply the solder to the iron as you move the iron along the seam, and the goal is to apply enough so that you have a decorative bead.  If the joint is fluxed and the copper foil is properly adhered the solder will flow easily.

I usually end up soldering the front, focusing on getting a good connection and an adequate amount of solder in place but not being overly concerned about the evenness of the beads.  Then I flip it over and solder the back side trying to get really nice beads.  The solder from the front will have pulled through already, but it won’t be complete, full beads.  Finally I go back to the face side and re-run all of the seams, flowing in more solder as necessary to get even rounded beads.  There are other techniques for the solder beads, and in fact there are books on “decorative soldering” where you can create textures or patterns in the solder.  On the “Inglenook Sconce” I used a sponge on the molten solder to make an organic texture.

For this panel, before I did the final smoothing of the seams I added the zinc boarder.  I wanted to get the border on first so the thickness of the seams at the edges didn’t interfere with the fit of the channel.

Soldered panel and zinc frame

Soldered panel and zinc frame

Once the panel was soldered I washed it with “flux remover” and soap and water to make sure all the flux was off.  then I applied a chemical patina to darken the solder and washed it again.  Finally it gets a coat of “glass polish” which appears to be about the same as thinned liquid car wax.

Finished Panel!

Finished Panel!

There are a few minor mistakes with the panel, but overall I’m happy with it.  I checked the fit, and it is perfect for the door in the cabinet.  If I can get some shop time in tonight I can probably finish the cabinet and hang it.

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Stained Glass Panel

I got a couple of hours in the shop yesterday, and finished cutting the glass for the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-inspired cabinet.  Like everything this seems to be moving in slow motion, but I’m continuing to chip away at it.

The process to make the panel is pretty simple.  Cut and fit all of the pieces, clean them and wrap the edges with copper foil tape, solder and apply patina.  There are plenty of details to sort through along the way.  Getting an accurate cut required some hand skills with the glass cutter when to score the shape.  Tight curves and long thin pieces are separate challenges.  You can offset lack of skill with the cutter by spending more time at the grinder, but that slows things down.

If I can read the pattern through the glass I may cut it directly, but most often I need to outline the pattern with a sharpie to be able to see it though the glass, and then I draw it directly on the glass.

Marking pieces to cut

Marking pieces to cut

Then I score the cuts, plus any relief cuts I need and break the pieces apart.

Pieces scored and broken apart

Pieces scored and broken apart

Then I hit the pieces on the glass grinder to tune up the shape and fit, and drop them onto my master pattern board.  As I go I inevitably decide to fine tune other pieces or even re-make them because the color is off or the fit isn’t acceptable.

Fitting in more pieces.  I'm going to re-make #39, 2 and 3 because I'm not happy with the fit.

Fitting in more pieces. I’m going to re-make #39, 2 and 3 because I’m not happy with the fit.

Eventually I got all the pieces made with the help of my son Kolya.  He’s a pretty deft hand at stained glass when I can pull him away from video games and South Park re-runs.  And Golf, although I don’t mind that and in fact spend a chunk of my weekends ferrying him bcd and forth to the golf course.

All the pieces made

All the pieces made

There are a few pieces I still want to re-make; 39, 2 and 3 are replaced and fit much better.  The purple “heart” isn’t quite right, the color on #43 is out of place and one or two other pieces are enough “off” that I want to replace them.  Once that is done I can clean them and start applying foil.  Inevitably I’ll find a few fitment problems due to the thickness of the foil.  I try to account for that when making the pieces, but I’m guessing that across the section where the tulip bud is there will be some problems.  Hopefully the next time you see this it will be done and installed in the door.

 

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Limbert 305 1/2 CAD Renderings

I’m sorry, I can’t help it.  Having drawn out the front and rear view of the Limbert 305 1/2 cabinet the other day I really wanted to see what it might look like if I built it.

 

Limbert 305 1/2 Cabinet Detail

Limbert 305 1/2 Cabinet Detail

I decided that the proportions of the various parts in my initial drawing were close enough.  I settled on a series of 1/8″ set backs — the  edges of the top and sub-top are are in 1/8″ from the legs, the rails are set back 1/8″ from the top, the door is set in 1/8″ from the rails, etc.  In the drawing from the catalog the panels in the front and sides look to be either ship-laped or tongue-and-groove construction, so that’s how I set up the model.  I did do some of the joinery in the CAD model (for example, the mortise and tenon construction) but I didn’t model all of the joinery.  I just wanted to see what it looks like, if I decide to make it some day I’ll sort out the rest of the construction details that I glossed over.

The glass panel in the catalog drawing is hard to make out, but looking at other drawings from the catalog I think that is suppossed to be a branch with a couple of leaves.  If I make this I’d probably do some sort of Oak leaf pattern like the drawing below.  For this rendering I just used a plain piece of opalescent glass.  The mission style pull is just a quick model that I did, but it works OK, the pull in the catalog drawing is different. but hard to see enough detail to make it.  (What am I saying, I’m not actually going to build this am I?)

Possible layout for the  stained glass panel

Possible layout for the stained glass panel

So here is what I came up with.  There are a few construction details to sort out, but it should be pretty straightforward to build if someone wants to do it.  I think the slats fir the panels make it a little more interesting.  The finish needs to be darker, but getting a truly realistic wood rendering in SolidWorks is something I’m still playing with.  It takes a lot experimentation and fussing around, at least it takes that for me to do it.  This is just a standard 2D oak from the materials library.  The glass is an actual photograph of the glass applied as a “decal” to the surface with some luminescence to make it pop a little more.

Limbert 305 1/2 Rendering

Limbert 305 1/2 Rendering

 

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Limbert 305 1/2

Sometimes I think CAD should stand for “Computer Aided Distraction”, but I suspect the real flaw lies somewhere deep in my psyche.

This weekend I hope to crank on the stained glass for the door in the cabinet I’m making, but I’m already thinking ahead to the next project.  I want to make a clone of the Limbert 355 or 356 bookcase.  They are the same except one is wider by the addition of a second door, which is probably the version I’d make as we always need more storage space for books.  I think the 355 single door version is a little more elegant though.

Limbert 356 Bookcase

Limbert 356 Bookcase

Well, one thing leads to another, as it often does, and I bought a reprint of the 1903 Limbert catalog hoping to find more information on this bookcase.  Turns out it doesn’t show up until the 1904 catalog.  But…there was this interesting “cabinet” in the 1903 catalog.

I’m not sure whether it’s a table, a stand or a cabinet, but the catalog calls it a cabinet so I’ll do the same.  Here is what it says:

No. 305 1/2. Cabinet. 12″ deep, 16″ wide, 41″ high, oak, opalescent art leaded glass in upper panel of door, finished in any color.  Price, $17,00.

It struck me as an odd piece, and since the catalog only shows a simple line drawing I was curious.  I googled for extant example, but came up empty.  So I decided to model it in CAD to see what it might look like.

Limbert 305 1/2 from the 1903 catalog

Limbert 305 1/2 from the 1903 catalog

Starting from the overall dimensions I started setting the sizes for various parts by eye.  I think I’m pretty close, although line drawings like this are inherently inaccurate.  Think about building something from an Escher drawing.

Before I actually model it in 3D I need to think about material thicknesses, joinery and setbacks.

Rough dimensions for the front

Rough dimensions for the front

Rough dimensions for the side

Rough dimensions for the side

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Started the Stained Glass Panel for the Byrdcliffe-ish Cabinet

Yesterday I started on the stained glass panel for the door in the cabinet I’m making.  I was surprised (58 pieces, shocked!) when I set up the pattern for the glass at the number of pieces it’s going to be a little more work than I anticipated.  It’s also going to be kind of fussy work as some of the parts are pretty tiny, and I need to be careful to keep the main seams very straight and even or it will look “off”.

I started by making a test panel from 1/8″ MDF to make sure I had the size exactly right.  I sized the rebate in the back of the door so that about half of the zinc channel that will edge the glass will show.  In fact, if everything is exactly on the money the panel should end up being the exact size of the opening.  The zinc channel is about .550″ wide, with an internal stop for the glass that is about .330 from the outside of the channel — and I made the rebate .330 deep.

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel using the zinc banding - top to bottom

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel using the zinc banding – top to bottom

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel - side to side.  It's a little loose and I needed to make the mock up a slosh wider.

Checking the fit of the mockup for the glass panel – side to side. It’s a little loose and I needed to make the mock up a slosh wider.

Fit from the front to check the reveal on the zinc edging

Fit from the front to check the reveal on the zinc edging

Next I set up the pattern board.  I don’t know if other glass people do it this way, but I’ve found it works really well.  What I do is glue the pattern down to a scrap of plywood.  Then I layer packing tape over it to protect it from water damage – the glass grinder is water cooled and there are often several trips back and forth to sneak up on the fit.  Then I staple a guide strip along one edge and use my MDF mockup of the glass to make sure the other three guide strips are square and perfectly sized.  As long as the foiled and tack-soldered panel fits in the opening I’m positive it will fit into the door with the zinc channel added.

Pattern board set up

Pattern board set up

Then I pressed my son into service to help cut and grind pieces.  We worked an hour or so and made a good start on it.  Next weekend we should be able to finish it (fingers crossed).  As we add more pieces and foil it I’m sure we’ll need to adjust the fit, and probably re-make a few pieces.  On this particular piece I need to have a really good fit on along all of the long straight lines, if they aren’t straight it will look sloppy.  Gaps and irregular edges on the curved parts isn’t a big deal as long as it doesn’t end up with a wonky seam.

Fitting in the background pieces

Fitting in the background pieces

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Applying Finish to the Brydcliffe-ish Cabinet

I scraped and sanded the exterior of the cabinet today.  I sanded through 220, wet the surface to raise the grain, and scuff sanded with 320 after that.  Then I started building color, starting with a water dye.

I decided I liked the sample with the Brown Mahogany dye and Candelite gel stain combination.  To try to get more contrast I diluted the dye a bit more than the concentration I used on the sample.  My rationale was that the gel stain didn’t seem to affect the color of the ray flecks much (or maybe at all).  It colors the regular straight grain, and darkens the pores of the wood, but didn’t seem to affect the ray flecks.  So, my thinking is that I’ll get a better contrast this way.  We’ll see…

I decided to hold off on installing the back until after the finish is on, so here we go.

Sanded and ready

Sanded and ready

Parts laid out on my 400hp supercharged finishing bench

Parts laid out on my 400hp supercharged finishing bench

Dye applied, wiped down and drying.  I let the dye dry for an hour, then rubbed the surfaces with a maroon scotchbrite pad to remove any raised grain, and remove a little color from the very top surface.  The color is a little weird at this point, and I’m more than a little nervous.

Dye applied

Dye applied

Dyed

Dyed

Rubbing the parts out with the scotchbrite seemed to make the ray flecks a little brighter, but it’s a subtle thing.  The 1/2″ x 1/4″ strips are to make the stops that will hold the glass, I’ll cut them to fit after I’ve done the glass insert.

Next I applied the gel stain.  Not much to that, I brushed it on in a nice thick coat and let it set for a few minutes, then wiped it off.  After wiping the gel stain off I wiped everything down with linseed oil and left it to dry overnight.  Tomorrow I’ll see how it looks.  If it needs any touch ups I’ll deal with that, otherwise I’ll apply a couple of coats of shellac and rub it out with steel wool and wax.

I like the color, I think this is going to work out OK.

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

Gel stain and a coat of linseed oil

I’m happy with the color, although I think it could be a little darker.  I may put a coat of garnet shellac on it to get a little more color tomorrow.  And I’ll wax it with brown wax, which will help too. TomorrowI should be able to finish the finish, install the back and start on the stained glass panel.

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Patina on my Hardware

I’m working on the final scraping and sanding before I start building up the finish on my Byrdcliffe-cum-Arts & Crafts cabinet.  While I’m doing that I decided to try experiment with the finish on the brass hinges I’m using.

I don’t think I want shiny brass, I want a little color that will compliment the other colors I’ll have going on, but also something subtle that will blend in rather than call attention to itself.  I read somewhere about using ammonia to patine brass, so I dribbled some into a quart paint can with some wood shavings – just enough to moisten them.  I dropped my hinges and screws in after cleaning them with some acetone, and left them overnight.

Today I dumped out the contents and let everything dry off.  I rubbed the brass with steel wool and applied a coat of paste wax.  I like it.  There is a soon on one of the leaves that didn’t get an even color, I probably should have scrubbed them a little more first.  Live and learn.

Patinated Brass Hinges

Patinated Brass Hinges

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Byrdcliffe-ish Finish Selection

The glass arrived to make the stained glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-ish cabinet.  As usual, it’s not quite what is shown in the online pictures.  Some of it is pretty close, some of it is nothing like the catalog photos.

I’ve been holding off on finishing the cabinet so I could pick the best option to match the glass.  The main glass color (the background in this panel) is what I’ll use to choose the finish for the white oak.

CAD Mockup of the Door

CAD Mockup of the Door

Here are my finish samples laid on top of the actual glass.

Main glass color with finish samples

Main glass color with finish samples

And another with the light at a different angle

Another shot

Another shot

Anyone have an opinion?

I don’t think the tone of the fumed sample works very well with this glass — that is the middle finish sample in both pictures.  Either of the other two look OK, although the ray fleck is too subdued for me.  Grumble, grumble.

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Updated Arts & Crafts Sconce Rendering

I spent some time last night updating the CAD model for the Arts & Crafts sconce I want to build.  All of the changes were to be able to render the lamp shade so it represents the actual look of the stained glass I plan to make.  Modeling the basic shade is simple, it’s just four trapezoid-shaped panels joined together.  Drawing the layout for the glass — the dragonfly outline — is pretty simple too.  It’s just a series of splines that I have to tweak to get the shapes I want.

To get to a model of the glass that I can render I have to add in the raised solder seams, and I have to trick the model into thinking it is ten separate pieces of glass so that I can attach different rendering properties to each.  Not hard, just time consuming, and the software is slightly quirky in this area (or maybe I don’t fully understand how the new rendering engine in this version is supposed to work).

Anyway, here is what I came up with.   Not perfect, but it gives you a pretty good idea what the finished sconce is intended to look like, which is the whole point.

rend8

rend6

rend7

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Mission Sconce Plans

I’ve been tweaking my design for a “mission style sconce” today, and I think I’m happy with the current design.  I need to print out a full size drawing at Kinko’s once more to verify the size, but I think I’ve got it.  If you want plans, you can download them here.  I’m going to start cutting parts for it this weekend.

The original version was just a little too big for the room when I printed it.  I narrowed the wall plate, and shortened it, shortened the horizontal arm, and changed the size of the glass share (and dragonfly contours) multiple times.  I added some ebony pegs to the bottom.  I think this is “final”.

Final Sconce Design?

Final Sconce Design?

I did an updated rendering, but just with “plain glass”.  To render it with the actual stained glass design requires some extra CAD work to model the lead beads and split it into separate pieces so I can have a different rendering plan for each one.  I’ll do that later as an exercise — I want to wait to make sure I don’t need any more design changes first.

Rendering without stained glass

Rendering without stained glass

The color of the glass in the rendering is from the preview picture of the actual glass I plan to use for the background of the sconce.  I have some of this, and a nice iridized red/white wispy glass ordered already.

Glass Colors

Glass Colors

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