The Carpenter Beck Door: A More Detailed Examination

Last week, we noted having gotten started on the Carpenter Beck Door, thanks to a contractor reaching out to us to help with a client’s remodel. In the time since getting the post written, we’ve gotten the panel out of the door and gotten it laid out on our working table, where we’ve been able to take a good, long look at it and see what all needs to be done with it.

The visual design of the panel is a relatively simple one, being largely block geometric shapes. It’s a strong design, striking in the contrasts of red and blue against the clear, warmed by the central ambers; it’s a good window to work with. But it’s in need of a fair bit of work on the came. Some two dozen joints, indicated by numbers and arrows on the window (they’ll be removed as the repairs are effected, and the window will be cleaned well before we return it to the contractor and the client), are in need of repair. The soldering that connects the came has come loose, probably as a result of hard use on the door and exposure to the weather.

To fix it, we’ll have to remove the old soldering and replace it. Some of that might involve pulling apart some of the came; it happens, sometimes, but it’s not always the kind of thing that can be predicted. And then we’ll proceed with the rest of the work we need to do: repairing the breaks, re-puttying the whole panel, and reinforcing it inside and out. When it’s done, it’ll be a beautiful window that will stand up to the rigors of use for years to come!

Got a project you’d like us to do? Read up on our new-project process here, and then reach out to us at 830-890-1509, through our Contact page, or via the form below; we’d love to hear from you!

And for your writing needs, check out Elliott RWI!

The Carpenter Beck Door: Getting Started

Well before the Ides of March, a contractor reached out to us to set up a working relationship. We were happy to accept it, and we were happy to get a job from that contractor, one we’re calling the Carpenter Beck Door. What’s happening with it is that there’s a remodel going on of the client’s home, and the door needs some work. Some of that work will be done by another group; the door itself is going to be refinished, and while we’ve got a solid hand with woodworking, we’re not carpenters. But what we will be doing is attending to the large glass panel in the door.

The overall view of how it is to start with; photo from the contractor.

Fortunately, there’s not any broken glass in the panel (so far as we know). That means we won’t have to track down matching glass, which is a helpful thing (but if some is broken, we’ll address it, of course). What we will have to do is address a number of breaks in the came–the lead strips that hold the glass panels in place–and the putty, as the adhesive holding the glass securely in the came is degraded or, in some places, absent.

What we plan to do is take the panel out of the door; it will help us work on the glass and such while letting the woodworkers do their bit–and not have to worry about the glass as they do. We’ll replace the came that needs replacing and re-putty the whole panel; if some of the putty is going, the rest is likely not far behind, and it will be good to have it all renewed, in any event. Because the door will still be an exterior door, we’ll be adding reinforcement on the inside, giving the panel additional stability, and we’ll be installing Lexan on the outside to further weatherproof the panel. We try to build our glass to last!

If you’ve got a door in need of some attention, we’d be happy to help. Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page or the form below to see what all we can do for you!

And for any of your writing needs, check out Elliott RWI!

The Turner Transom: Finale

Just about the time the last comments about the Turner Transom found their way out into the world, the snag resolved itself. The parts came in that we needed, the glass got cut–and it didn’t break–and we were able to get the piece assembled on the table.

On the table, as noted; photo by Kevin Elliott

Of course, stained glass isn’t really meant to be viewed as a flat piece, but instead to have light shining through it…

That’s more like it; photo by Kevin Elliott

In the event, the 36 x 12 inch piece, constructed in came throughout for the best possible strength, is leaving us. The client is taking care of installation, so we’ve got to say goodbye to it, sending a little bit more of our work out into the world for others to enjoy. But we’re sure they will enjoy it who see it, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing our progress in making it!

This won’t be the last piece we do, of course. We’ve still got the Perry Panel to work with, and we’re about to start a couple of exciting new projects. As ever, we’ll keep you posted about our progress on them–and if you’d like your own piece to be among those projects, drop us a line! We’re happy to hear from you via our “Contacts” page, by phone at 830-890-1509, or by way of the form below!

And remember to reach out to Elliott RWI for your writing needs!

The Perry Panel: Finding the Fixes that Need Doing

In the middle of February, we took a look at a piece of Hollywood history in the Perry Panel, getting started simply by getting the sizeable Tiffany panel into our home workshop and into the queue for examination and estimation. When we were obliged to take a break from another project we’ve got in progress at the moment, we had a chance to take a look at the panel and get a sense for what all needs fixing on it. And, as it happens, there’s quite a bit.

We’re lucky that the bones of the panel are good. The framing seems sound, and there’s a lot of glass that’s in good shape. There are also many places where we might incorporate some stronger structural elements, enhancing the panel’s stability while maintaining its appearance. But there’s a lot that…needs some work, and some of it’s in places that will require a lot of disassembly to get to. But we always do love a challenge, and it’s always a pleasure to restore beautiful pieces to glory!

We’ll keep you posted as we work through this piece, the Turner Transom, and other work we have in the queue right now. If you’d like your work to join them, give us a call at 830-890-1509 or send us a message through the contact form below; we’d love to visit with you!

The Turner Transom: A Snag

Not too long ago, we got started working on the Turner Transom piece, a custom order for some good folks in our local area. We drafted the designs, got them approved, got the cartoon compiled, and started cutting glass and came and doing a dry-fit all together. We tend to piece the work together as we go along to make sure we’re keeping ourselves consistent and because things happen when working with glass. Sometimes, the material’s…temperamental and decides it’s going to be a little…ornery. And it happened to us as we were working on the transom, specifically on the right half of the sun, as you can see below where we had to stop work.

The work in halted progress; photo by Geoffrey B. Elliott

There are several ways to go about cutting glass to use in the kind of work we do. One of the oldest is among the most labor-intensive, involving hot fires, heavy metal, and a steady hand. In many cases, we cut the glass we use by means of a diamond-bladed cutter and a specially designed pair of pliers. For pieces like the sun behind the tree in the Turner Transom, though, we usually use a ring-saw. Occasionally, any of the cutting methods will reveal an invisible flaw in the glass–by breaking it where we don’t want it to snap off. So much happened with the right half of the sun, above.

That introduces two complications for us on its own. One is that we have to recut the piece, but occasional material loss is something that anyone who works with goods has to expect. It happens, and nobody really likes it, but you accept it and move on. A little more of a complication, though, has to do with our glass-matching. See, we work hard to make sure that each piece of glass fits into its context well, and that means matching the pieces of glass that are going into equivalent things. In this case, it means that not only do we have to recut the piece that snapped, we’ve got to recut the other half of the sun; it’s the only way to make sure the halves line up right.

And there’s one other item of concern. When the glass broke, so did the saw. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing, certainly, and it doesn’t much matter which made the other happen. Both are broken, and so both need fixing, delaying the project slightly. We’re on the mend, of course, and getting back to work on the Turner Transom, the Perry Panel, and other jobs just as soon as the parts get in (they’ll be in presently, we’re assured).

If you’d like to have yours be one of those jobs, please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page or via the contact form below to see what all we can do for you!

The Perry Panel: Getting Started

We just recently got asked to take a look at a beautiful piece of Tiffany-style stained glass that we’re told has a Hollywood history. Looking at this beauty, we can believe it–just like we can believe it’s seen a fair bit of use.

Kevin will be taking a closer look at this Perry Panel to find the breaks that need fixing and to get a feel for the glass and other materials that will be needed to bring back the full beauty of this gorgeous piece of work. If and as the repair commences, we’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

If you’d like a closer view of our process, we invite you to look at “How to Work with Us” or to read through our work on the Smith Panel Combination. If you’d like to get on the inside of that process, reach out via our Contacts page or using the form below; we’d love to hear from and work with you!

And if you’ve got some writing needs that need attention, reach out to our associates at Elliott RWI!

How to Work with Us, or, Help Us Help You Get Your Good Glass!

While we have done craft shows, and we will be doing them again, most of the work we do takes the form of custom orders (like the Smith Panel Combination or the Turner Transom) or repair work (like the Cassidy Door or another simple piece). Because we’re in the business of helping people meet their art glass needs, we figured a bit about our process might be helpful to know.

For either custom orders or repairs, the first step is getting in contact with us. You can do that through our Contacts page or via the form below. When you do, please be sure you give us good contact information for you; we can’t keep you in the loop if we don’t know how to get in touch with you, after all. Phone number and email help a lot, and, if you want us to install work for you, we have to know where to go to do it.

For a custom piece, once we’re in contact, we’ll ask about your ideas about color schemes and design. If possible, Kevin will come out to take a look at where you want to put the piece, getting both its dimensions and a handle on the visual context where the piece is going to be. However good a stained glass window or panel might be on its own, it’ll look a lot better if it fits where it’s going to live. All that done, we’ll draft some designs based on our conversations and observations, including not only the shapes of the glass, but the colors and textures, so that you know what all you’re looking at getting. You take your pick of the bunch, and we’ll proceed from that.

For repair work, once we’re in contact, we’ll talk about what repairs need to be done. If possible, Kevin will come out to take a look at where the piece is going in, seeing what context it will have so as to make the repairs fit more smoothly into existing designs. (If there are any pictures available of the piece prior to damage, they’d be handy to have, as well.) We’ll ask about any particular concerns, such as local traffic and whether or not there’s a budding baseball team in the area, and, once we have all that information, we’ll proceed.

It’s all fun and games, but it’s not the best friend to a window.
Photo by Steshka Willems on

With both custom orders and repair work, we’ll draft a quote for getting the work out, done, and back in. Quotes are done on a case-by-case basis, and they’ll take into account the complexity of the design, the glass going into it, any special factors that need to be addressed (such as travel costs for jobs that take us far away from Kerrville and premiums for rush orders), and installation costs (if applicable). We’ll also let you know if there’s a queue–we put our full attention into each piece we do, which means we can only work on one or two pieces at any given time–and where you’d fall in it. If all that seems fine to you, we’ll get started just as soon as we receive your 50% deposit, with the balance due once the work is done and going in.

We guarantee all of our work from manufacturing defects for the life of the piece. We can’t account for how folks will treat what we put in after we put it in, but we can–and we do–guarantee it’ll be right when we get it to you.

We live and work in Kerrville, Texas, right in the heart of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Our pieces are in place in Kerr, Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall, and Bexar Counties–so far. But we are happy to go most anywhere in the Lone Star State. And why not?

As always, we look forward to earning your business. Thank you!

And if you have any writing needs you’d like addressed, check out our associates at Elliott RWI!

Sometimes, the Simple Suffices

While we delight in the colors and textures of art glass, reveling in building new pieces of stained glass art for our clients, we also do no small amount of repair work. Too, living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country gives us an appreciation for the open vistas and the views of our limestone hills covered in oak, cedar, and mesquite. So we’re happy to work with clear glass, too.

As it happens, we’re not alone in enjoying a view through a clear glass window. A client of ours brought us a piece that had seen some use, certainly, hoping that we could restore it to a condition where it will let in the light and the gorgeous views for which the Hill Country is rightly known while still keeping the outside outside and the inside in. Like musicians playing their scales, we know that keeping in practice with the basics is key to doing more intricate work, so we said “Sure; let’s take a look.” And there was something to look at, certainly…

How it came to us; photo by Kevin Elliott

Work to be done included repairing the came that could be fixed, replacing the came that could not be and the glass that had fallen away, polishing the glass in place, and preparing the lot for installation. The client had another panel on hand, as well, and was kind enough to offer it to us as an example of what they wanted; there’s much to say about a matched set.

The panel needing repair and the standard of comparison; photo by Kevin Elliott

It’s always helpful to have a model to follow, and so we got to work on it, cutting glass to replace the missing pieces, polishing those that were already there, and fitting the whole into came to give it the form and structure it needs. That done, we applied a patina to the came, which helps protect it from the weather in addition to making it match the model our clients helpfully provided. The result is below, ready to go back into place to help a happy home stay well-lit and weather-tight!

The job done; photo by Kevin Elliott

If you’ve got a piece of glass that needs some attention–or if you’d like a new piece of your very own designed, built, and installed–let us know; we’re happy to help! Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do for you!

And if you need some writing done, please reach out at Elliott RWI!

The Turner Transom: Getting Started

We’re happy to have done the work we’ve done, but we’re far from sad that there’s more work for us to do–like a new project we’ve begun that we’re calling the Turner Transom. For this project, we were approached by our clients, folks who have some property in our own beautiful Texas Hill Country. They asked about our putting together a transom window so they can get a little more of the kindly sunlight for which–along with wildflowers, barbeque, and high school football–our part of the world is rightly known. They gave us the dimensions of the piece we’ll need to make–36 x 12 inches–and we took our first steps: drafting a design:

We’ve got software that helps us make this kind of thing happen.
Turner Transom Design by Kevin Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License

We ran that by the client and got the approval to start work on it–because we don’t get going on a custom piece for any client without their input and approval. For us, for a piece like this–one we’ll be putting into a metal frame, since a transom stands a good chance of needing to take some stresses–moves from a design draft to what we call a cartoon. That is, we print the layout out at full size, because having something in hand is a whole ‘nother thing from seeing it on a screen, and working in glass is as much about the feel of it as about anything else. That much done, we began making our reference pieces, giving ourselves something to lay under glass or over it so that we can get a good view of how the individual pieces will work with the specific glass we’ll end up using:

How we’ve got it on the shop table as this post gets written. Photo by Kevin Elliott.

This part of the process is important for a couple of reasons. For one, it gives us a standing visual aid as we compile a piece of visual art; seeing what we’re doing while we’re doing it helps us make sure it’s done right. Architects and engineers work from blueprints, writers work from notes, and painters work from sketches; we take our cues from other arts to work in our own. For another, each piece of glass–not only the ones we make, but the materials from which we make them–is unique. Not every piece of blue glass, not even every piece from a single production run, will look exactly the same, for example, and making those differences make sense in a transom window–or any other panel–demands care and attention that we’re more than happy to give.

As with the Smith Panel Combination about which we posted previously, we’ll keep putting out updates about our work on the current project. We think it’s important to bring people into what we do, show a bit of the expertise and experience that goes into crafting works of stained glass that will add to a home’s value and enrich the lives of those who live in it–and we hope you continue to enjoy the ride!

We’d love to work with you, too! Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page or the form below; let’s talk about meeting your stained glass and art glass needs and getting you your heart’s desire!

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The Smith Panel Combination: It’s Done and In!

Late in 2021, we started working on the Smith Panel Combination–and posting about our progress on it. We’ve worked to bring you into our work on the project, showing you some of what we do along the way, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us. But this particular journey’s over; the work is done, and the combined panel has been put in! Placed into the window frame the client selected, and secured inside the existing glass with clips that facilitate removal for cleaning both the panel and the window. The setup lets light in through it and around it, the work blends in with the home while providing a marked point of visual focus for it–one that will hold up for years to come!

We were pleased with how things turned out–but then, we wouldn’t have delivered the panels to the client without liking how they look. We’re happier, though, that the client was well-pleased with the work, who made the following comment on our Facebook page: “Thank You! I love my finished and installed Deer and Tree stained glass piece! I highly recommend Kevin!” It’s the kind of thing we love to read–and we’d love the chance to make you happy, too! Give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do for you!