I empathize with my classmates on cutting glass. I am not used to cutting intricate glass pieces, but I do have a few years of experience using glass cutters. My classmates have had three 2-hour classes to learn how to cut their glass pieces with very little instruction in how to do it. And while I learned several tricks that seemed to work on my particular pieces, several times I tried to help a classmate and failed in really helping them. Inside curves and sharp points are the hardest. Perhaps if we had all known what could be accomplished in a short time, we could have chosen patterns more appropriate for getting started. I feel very lucky to have already had some basic skills.
Despite my head start, it still took me a very long time to cut and grind my pieces to an acceptable level. I still do not completely understand just how tight fitting the pieces need to be, but as I am foiling and assembling and noticing gaps, I am developing a better idea. If I had more time both in and out of class, I would recut several of the pieces. However, I am also interested to see what happens when I solder the pieces with gaps, so perhaps better for this first one to just leave as is and see what happens.
While cutting has been very challenging for all of us, foiling is simpler. Today as my hands were busy foiling, my mind escaped back into memories of a past hobby – figure skating. I skated in the era of actually needing to do the figure eights and while most skaters preferred jumping, I loved the figure eights. They were the epitome of a challenge since you needed to first skate a perfect circle and then figure eight after which you needed to trace that line exactly two more times. It was wonderful! With foiling, your goal is to add the foil centered onto the edge of glass so that when you fold over the edges of the foil on either side of the glass, you have an even amount on top and bottom. Sometimes I beat the challenge and sometimes not.
Some lessons learned from foiling:
- Don’t overwork the foil. Every time I thought I could smooth it out better and kept working it, I ended up tearing it.
- The syllabus called for a foil burnisher, so I had bought one. When demoing, the instructor indicated he preferred to use a sharpie pen or something round, to fold over the foil on the glass sides. But I tried the foil burnisher and it really worked well for me. I would recommend one.
- Larger pieces were much easier than the smaller one. I could not figure out where to hold the smaller pieces such that I was not prematurely pushing down the sides of the foil.
- Reading glasses were required to really see the glass and the foil – yes, another sign I am getting old!
I have not finished foiling, so you will notice some missing pieces, but here is a picture of my work in progress. Next week we solder!