stained glass

No brag intended.

Posted by Steve on Fri, 05/15/2009 - 12:40am

A couple of weeks ago one of my stained glass designs was picked for the Dragonfly Design of the Month, May 2009.

I don't consider myself an artist in the visual sense so I was kind of embarrassed by the attention and decided to keep it to myself. But I wanted to publicly thank Michael Wilk, president of Dragonfly, for the honor. So here it is. I know I probably wasn't the most cooperative candidate he's dealt with.

We have a winner

Posted by Steve on Sun, 08/17/2008 - 11:45pm

Yesterday was a rough one for me. For those who keep up to date here (there are a few of you and I really appreciate it), you know why.

But today was a new day and, in a weird way, I figured I owed it to my buddy Chopper to get this place one step closer to completion. After all, this was his home too. So I returned (again) to the stained glass. While I have five stained glass projects ahead of me, at least the design of ONE of them is finally locked in. What did that take me? Sixteen months? I can't wait to post about the completion of this project, presuming blogs are still around in 2015.

A lot of the credit for settling on the design goes to the folks on Old House Web forums and to a couple of people on the forum at I was reaching the point of cognitive overload, scratching my head about whether stained glass even worked for that cabinet. I was getting ready to slap a couple of sheets of plywood in those doors until one of the OHW users, probably tired of reading my bellyaching about it, took one of the designs and 'shopped it into a photo of that cabinet.

"George is gettin' frustrated...!"

Posted by Steve on Sun, 08/10/2008 - 7:02pm

The saga continues on the stained glass design for the master bedroom bureau. I created two more designs (below) that look nice but seem inappropriate for this piece.

I'm beginning to think that stained glass in general is too heavy for this cabinet. I considered using cane instead except my cat would make short work of that. Trixie hops up on the window sill, opens the sock drawer and sleeps in there. Giving her a climbing wall would be a mistake.

Then I remembered something I've seen in old movies: wire glass. You see it a lot in Hollywood set depictions of judge's offices. It's like chicken wire safety glass except the wire is more decorative and usually made of brass. I've never actually seen this stuff in real life so I don't know if it's an actual product or something you sandwich between two panes of glass. All I know is that I spent a fruitless afternoon Googling for it. If you ever need to know about glass coat hangers or glass-impregnated wire, ask me.

Does anyone know what this stuff is called and, better, where I can find it?

Returning to the stained glass saga...

Posted by Steve on Sat, 08/09/2008 - 1:33pm

Let's see. I finished painting the back wall, the tomatoes are flourishing, I lost 20 pounds... I've managed to exhaust all my excuses for not starting another project. Rather, I'm returning to a project I said I was going to have done by now.

This marathon stained glass project breaks down to six sub-projects, or milestones in TechnoSpeak:
  1. Two door panels for the master BR bureau.
  2. Two window panels for the master BR hallway window.
  3. Two upper door panels for the LR home entertainment unit.
  4. Skylight over the staircase.

Designing Stained Glass

Posted by Steve on Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:59am

Rembrandt, I ain't. I can visualize things pretty well but there's a bridge out somewhere between my left and right brain. With woodworking, I usually wind up head jamming the fabrication. It works 90% of the time. The other 10% is handled by my hard-won skills in making dumb mistakes look like I meant to do that. But this ad hoc process doesn't work for stained glass construction, where you need to have a completed design and pieces cut before you start soldering things together.

New Stained Glass Projects

Posted by Steve on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 10:09pm

I have several stained glass tasks in the queue here. Some, like the upper cabinet doors in the living room media cabinet, have been on hold since 2003. Others, like the funky stairway skylight, I've wanted to replace since the day I first saw the place.

While stained glass construction is fairly mechanical and basically just woodworking joinery using glass and lead came, the design, templating and piecing out can be very time consuming. Most of the glass I've done here is fairly simple and angular to match the existing stained glass. But I wanted something a bit more ornamental for these new projects.

The delay is mostly because I suck at drawing. I can muddle my way through Photoshop if I have to and I've even built a few nice web page banners using "creative appropriation" of assets conceived by others. Change a few lines, overlay a mask or two, morph a few elements and, poof, it's mine. Derivative art.

DIY Stained Glass

Posted by Steve on Sat, 10/07/2006 - 2:10pm

I've only got ho-hum jobs on my plate this weekend: insulation, plaster fixes, running BX... nothing worth blogging about. But I was thinking forward to what I'm going to need to finish off this bedroom renovation (in about three months).

Since the renovation involved merging two bedrooms, I now have two entrances into it. The problem is that the doorway I want to get rid of gives the upstairs hallway much of its summer light and is also needed for cross ventilation. After mulling it over, I decided to replace it with a knee wall topped by a pair of stained glass windows.

Four years ago, when I was deep into my living room reno, I had to replace a pair of cheapo french doors to the deck over the garage. I built the red oak doors in my shop and started pricing store-bought stained glass panels. Of course, nothing came in the sizes I needed and to commission those four panels was going to cost me well over a thousand bucks. So I sez to myself (I sez), "how hard can it be?" Stained glass fabrication looked like simple woodworking joinery to me.

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