Wednesday, September 3, 2008

People Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout My Best Friend

Let me introduce you to my best glass friends. Mr. and Mrs. Dustpan, and Ms. Safetyglasses. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be cutting a piece of glass and have it make that tiny horrible popping sound as you cut, because you've been too lazy to sweep after that last cut...and've just busted your new piece in half on some microscopic shard. I have said some very bad words...some of them out loud..when doing this. Now I sweep after every cut. And yes, I tried those grid things..not working for me.

The safety glasses? Never NEVER never never never ...ever.. cut or grind without them. Not even a little. From here, it's an hour to the nearest medical aid. I don't think I want to try to drive with one eye, while the other eye has glass razor blades in it. Nope, just don't want to.

So back to the project: I sure hope I can phrase this so that it makes sense!
The pattern is drawn on the fasson paper, and the original pattern is pinned and squared. Ready? Stop. Look. Look at your pattern and pick a side, preferably with a larger edge piece. This pattern doesn't really illustrate that because all the sides are more or less the same, but I decided to start with the left side. I like to work from top down or left to right, partly because I want my world to be symmetrical, and if little things are off balance (like crooked pictures on the wall etc) then the world starts wobbling on it's axis. Eventually the Earth wobbles so hard it spins out of it's orbit and goes spinning into space and we all get into God knows what kind of trouble. Sorry..I wandered off.. In any case, on this piece, I cut out the outermost piece on the left of the pattern. I slip it under the block plates so that the right edge of the fasson pattern piece lines up with the pinned pattern, then using a fine-line pen, I trace the inside edge of the block plate. Double click on the pictures to enlarge them, if it helps.

Trim away the excess, peel the backing off the fasson paper, stick the template on your glass and cut the glass. Check the fit on your pinned working pattern, adjust if necessary. I use the grinder to knock off any killer edges, and make any adjustments.

From there I've decided to get a good solid corner going, so I pretty much do the same thing again, only from now on I slip the fasson piece under existing glass edges.

I trace along the edge, trim off the excess, and cut the glass. Now the folks that I learned this method from use push pins between every piece of glass to leave space for the foil. I found if I do that, there is too much space and my pieces don't fit well. My guess is that has more to do with my inexpert glass cutting, rather than their method being faulty. So what I do is put pins in where it looks like it needs it, about every third line. Scientifically and mathematically querulous, I know.

After several pieces, it begins to look like this:
By the time all the pieces are cut, you'll have a good sense of how it all fits, and if there is one piece that barks at you, or just looks wrong, take it out, slip a piece of fasson paper underneath and trace out a new template. I's working well for me. The only serious frustration is when I cut a fasson piece off the master, then forget to trace it against the existing glass pieces before I cut the piece out of the glass. Darn!
Here's the deal...
Yes, this method is slower than others.
No, I know that's not how the pros do it.
Yes, it works for me.
No, I can't guarantee it will work for you.
Yes, I probably forgot something important.
No, I don't remember what it is.
If you mess up, nobody dies!

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