Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Art Of Stained Glass 101 - Applying Patina

O.k. now your staring at your completely soldered piece wondering “what is patina, and should I apply it to my piece?”. Well maybe this will help you make up your mind. According to Webster’s Dictionary, ‘Patina is a film or incrustation, usually green, produced by oxidation on the surface of old bronze and often esteemed as being of ornamental value.’ The look of patina can be applied to many different surfaces other than bronze. In stained glass work there are many types and colors of patina you can apply to your piece to achieve this aged look. Most of the patina applied to stained glass is for achieving the black or dark bronze look; however, there is also a copper patina, as well as a green patina to achieve the weathered copper look.

With all patina’s you will need to wear gloves. Having a long sleeved shirt on would be a good idea too. You should always have some form of protective eye wear on while doing stained glass, and this holds true while applying patina as well. Before starting, you should always make sure you have good ventilation. Use a fan to keep fumes away from your face. Most patinas have an odor, though slight, some people can be highly sensitive to certain smells. If you are sensitive to the smell and it gets to be too much, then use a mask to help alleviate the problem.

For small pieces, I suggest applying the patina with a cotton ball. It absorbs a lot of the liquid and makes it easy to get into small spaces. Also, I recommend applying the patina to the entire piece, glass and all. If you just apply patina to the metal portions of your piece, you will end up having a halo effect around each piece of glass. This is where the liquid touched the glass when you applied it. If you apply the patina to the entire piece, glass and all, then this halo effect will be over the entire piece and add a slight iridization to all your glass.

After your entire piece is patinaed, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the patina off with cold water. Dry your piece with a soft cotton clothe and let it air dry for a while longer to get it ready for polishing.

Here are some videos on applying patina. You‘ll notice that everyone has a slightly different approach. The choice is yours as to how you will apply yours. Just remember, patina is an acid and it does burn and can cause harm to you if handled incorrectly.
Applying patina 1, 2, 3, 4 .

Now all you have to do is polish your baby up, then hang it. Next entry we’ll discuss polishes. Come on we’re almost done!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Art Of Stained Glass 101 - Making Your Hook

Now your at the point where you need to decide if your going to hang your piece, or frame it in wood. If you decide to hang it, then you will need to solder on a hanger. For that you will need two pieces of 16-gauge wire approximately 2 1/2-3“ long. This can be tinned, thick copper wire, three strands of smaller gauge wire twisted together and tinned only on the two ends, or 16-gauge stainless steel wire.

Using a pair of needle nose pliers, gradually bend one end to form a small circle. On the other end of the wire do the same thing with the circle going the other way. You should end up with something that resembles a fancy “S” shape for your hook. If your wire is tinned on both ends, this is the time to finish the tinning process. Completely tin your wire starting from the middle and working out. This will keep if from unraveling and losing its shape.

If your using the pre-tinned pieces of wire, then flux the hook and the area where you want to apply the hook to your piece, and solder it on. If your using the 16-gauge stainless steel wire, hold the hook with your pliers and pre-tin the two areas where your hook will be applied to your piece. Repeat this pre-tinning process twice to get a good amount of solder in those two areas, then solder your hook to your piece.

Now just wash your piece real good in Ivory dish soap and cold water. Then dry it off good and let it sit out to completely dry for 24 hours. To prepare it for a good patina finish, polish the solder with 0000 steel wool. Remember when polishing, don't press too hard, you don't want to break all your hard work.

Next entry we'll discuss applying patina. So until then enjoy your handy work!