One of the most persuading aspects of getting into the hobby of working with stained glass is that the cost of entry is very low. The price of the essential equipment and tools that you need to get rolling is far less than lots of other hobbies.
With just a few tools and some supplies it is simple to start to learn how easy it is for you to make beautiful stained glass windows, lamps and other items. Here are some tips and hints on how you can setup a great working area for your projects without spending lots of money.
For starters, choose a sturdy clutter-free surface from which to work. Many people prefer to work with stained glass supplies while sitting rather than standing. Be sure your work table is stable and strong enough. Avoid using a shaky folding table.
For the best results, get a piece of fiberboard or other cork like material to give yourself a firm but somewhat cushioned work area. This will make it easier to work with the glass and will permit you to use push tacks and pins when you’re working with your patterns. The use of a pistol grip glass cutter also makes things much easier when cutting glass.
Set yourself up with access to water so that you have it ready at hand when you are working. You’ll need water for washing and cleaning the glass, and your powered grinder or ring saw needs water to operate. If you don’t have a tap near by, make sure you keep a few gallons of water handy to clean away any chemicals you may use and glass dust.
Whenever you cut and break stained glass you’ll create a lot of little chips and tiny pieces of glass that can build up on the work area and settle in corners and cracks. Be sure you have a pair of safety glasses or goggles and put them on whenever you are cutting or breaking glass. Buy yourself a bench brush and dust pan to use to dry sweep all these small pieces away and also to keep the work area clean. Little bits of glass that get stuck in your hands or fingers can be quite painful.
Make sure the area where you work is well ventilated. When you are applying flux and solder you need to make every effort not to inhale the fumes. The lead used in solder as well as in the lead came for stained glass window kits is a toxic material. Make sure that the lead and lead particles don’t come in contact with food or into any areas where you prepare it.
Setup your work area with good lighting and access to electric power for your soldering iron and other equipment. Have some rags and other cleaning supplies on hand to enable you to clean up and keep things neat. Set aside a cabinet or drawer stack to hold your equipment and tools when not in use. If you work with stained glass kits and start with larger pieces of glass, locate a safe place to keep the glass. Make sure it is safely and securely kept away from young children and pets.
With just a little bit of thinking ahead, it’s easy to get organized and safely set things up to get started with your stained glass hobby. Preparing in advance to make a spot to do your work will help make it easier for you to learn and you will see results faster. Get your work area set up properly and you’ll be ready to go.
The idea of cutting glass might sound like it is difficult to do. But all you need is a stained glass cutter and a little practice and you’ll be surprised how easy it really is.
There are many stained glass cutters of different types and shapes and all work well. And if you buy one of the many available stained glass kits to get you started, it will include a cutter. However, there is one type that many people who work with stained glass prefer and it is called a pistol grip glass cutter.
A pistol grip glass cutter seems to give the most control when you are cutting the curves and patterns needed for most stained glass projects. Regardless of what type of glass cutter you decide to get started with, you can use the following basic tips to get you started and soon you’ll be able to cut glass like a pro.
You can cut glass either way: Either by pulling the cutter toward you or by pushing it away. The cutter doesn’t care, and you should start by using the method that comes easiest to you. As you become more skillful you’ll be able to either pull or push the cutter depending on which will make it easier to do the cut.
Do your first cuts from a standing position: When you are learning, it will probably be easier for you get the feel of glass cutting when doing it while standing. And once you get the feel of how things work, you can decided whether to sit or stand depending on what you find is the most comfortable and effective for you.
Hold the glass cutter with the wheel straight up and down: It’s important to remember and follow this rule. Be sure that you keep the little cutting wheel straight up and down and follow along your marked line while keeping up an even pressure all the way.
Find a way to hold the cutter comfortably: There is no hard or fast rule about how you should hold a stained glass cutter. And that is why many prefer a pistol grip glass cutter since it is made to fit in your hand comfortably.
Learn the sound that glass makes by doing straight practice cuts on window glass: This is a good way to practice. As you make your cut you’ll hear the cutter make a ‘sizzling’ or crisp ‘crunching/crackling’ sound that indicates it is making the score. While you are making the cut press firmly enough to hear the ‘sizzle’ sound but it’s not necessary to press overly hard. And of course the glass cutter doesn’t ‘cut’ all the way through the glass, it just makes a ‘score line’ on the glass that allows it to break along this line cleanly after you finish using the stained glass cutter.
Run off the edge if possible when you finish your cut: This is the side where you will break the glass from since you know the score line has gone all the way to the edge.
Safety first: Always use eye protection when you are cutting glass and wear gloves and other necessary safety equipment as needed. Getting a sliver or a small piece of glass in your eye is very dangerous and you don’t want to risk the loss of your vision.
If you start out on your hobby by getting one of the many stained glass kits that comes with a cutter you may want to consider a kit that includes a pistol grip glass cutter. If you decide to get the tools you need individually then you have the perfect opportunity to try this type of cutter.
And no matter which type of cutter you use you will find that cutting stained glass is an easy skill to learn. Do a little experimenting on inexpensive clear window glass first to get the feel of things, and you’ll be making Tiffany style stained glass lamps in no time.