Tag: WIP

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 _ 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!

Got writing needs? Check out ElliottRWI.com!

The Smith Panel Combination: The Penultimate Step

We noted last week that work on the Smith Panel Combination had proceeded, with the repairs to the glass and its joints handled and the two panels framed together. We’ve got the finish on the wood framing done, staining it to a lovely red cedar–as you can see below!


Assembled, stained, and ready to go! Photo by Kevin Elliott.

Even though the panel is ready, there’s still a little left for us to do. We have to get it in! As we do–because we often do our own installations–we’ll work to give you a glimpse of how we make it happen!

We’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page to see what all we can do to make–or repair and refine–stained for you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Framing

Late last year, we started reporting on work on combining two formerly independent panels of stained glass into a single larger installation. We’ve continued to work on the project, if with a bit of a break to spend time with family over the holidays, getting the figures and designs done before moving on to take care of the actual work of the job. So far, the work’s gone well, with such component repairs effected as needed doing–and we’ve got the initial framing of the combined piece done!


Photo by Kevin Elliott

The project isn’t done, of course. The framing in place is mostly to test the design and its tolerances; as presented, it’s some 32 inches wide and 65 & ¾ tall, with the framing consisting of 1×2 cedar. There will be a fair bit of sanding and staining before the combined panel is ready to be assembled and installed. Once it’s in, though, it will hold up for years to come and, with regular care and cleaning, it’ll look good the whole time. We look forward to showing it to you ready for the installation and once it’s in place!

We’re taking orders for custom projects even now; we’ve got a couple in queue, but give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page, and see what all we can do for you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Doing the Math

Last week, we noted getting started on a new project: the Smith Panel Combination. We’re excited to be working on the project, and for several reasons. For one, it’s always good to have work to do. For another, the panels really are quite pretty, and it’s always a pleasure to work with beautiful things in the shop; really, it’s one of the reasons we work with stained glass to start with!


The project at present; photo by Geoffrey B. Elliott.

One of the other reasons we’re looking forward to working on the project is the challenge it presents. We noted last time that we’ve got to find a way to combine the two panels into a single installation, and we have to find a way to strengthen the construction so that it will hold up over time. If you look at the picture of the project above, you’ll see that, although the panels are framed in came, they are composed of individual cut pieces of colored and textured glass; the edges of those pieces are wrapped in a copper foil and soldered over to join them together.

The advantage of the technique is that it allows for great detail in the work; cutting glass in curves and small parts is a skill in itself, as is fine solder-work, but deploying those skills allows for more complex pieces to be made in smaller spaces. The weakness, of course, is that there are a lot of joints, and they are not very strong; came is a more robust joining technique in no small part because it occupies more space and can provide more structure therefore. At the same time, the came takes up more space, so it doesn’t allow as much detail per square foot or yard.

Addressing the issue, for us, means integrating the two techniques: foil-and-solder and came-framing. Working out how to do that is where we’re at at the moment. It’s not enough to just slap some copper on some glass and cram it into the frame that exists; we’re going to be resetting some of the pieces and reinforcing the frame with additional came-work. That means we have to work out where the new came will be minimally intrusive, allowing for the most strength to be brought in while still keeping the most detail possible. That begins with sketches, such as are showing up as preliminaries already.

It also involves some complex calculations. Each kind of glass we use–and we use lots of different kinds!–has its own strength, as do the various solders and cames we employ. Figuring out what needs to go where to have the maximum effect takes no small amount of pencil-pushing; it’s not the kind of thing that can be leapt into with abandon, not and have it work well over the long term. And since we mean to build (and repair) to last, it is the kind of thing we take seriously.

We take it seriously with all of the work we do. If you’d like some of that to be for you, please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page. We’d love to hear from you!

The Smith Panel Combination: Getting Started

We’re proud of the work that we do, and we want to share that work with you! So, as we’re getting started on a new project, we figured we’d bring you along for the ride and show you something of a work-in-progress view of things as a new repair and alteration job gets started. This’ll be the first in what we hope is a series of posts that’ll show you how we go about doing what we do–and what we can do for you!

The project, which we’re calling the Smith Panel Combination, is a fairly typical project for us in some respects. Our client has some older stained glass pieces that need some repair. In the photos below, taken in our shop after we got them home, a few bits of glass that’ve cracked show up. Too, the panels, done almost entirely in Tiffany-style, show some bowing where the glass has clearly been subjected to flexion and other pressures–and where it will break if something’s not done.



A couple of complications are already evident. One is the sheer size of the panels, given their construction; they’re large pieces, and the technique used to build them in the first place is one we’d normally only apply to smaller works or smaller components of larger pieces. We’ll be addressing some of that as we move through the work; we want to be sure that the piece we return to the client will hold up over time and be something that the client’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can look at and still see the beauty of the light coming through the class.

The other major complication is that, although the panels are akin, they are currently separate pieces–and the client wants them combined into one larger window, framed in cedar, for installation. Again, the pieces are akin; they clearly already belong together. However, they’re not designed, in themselves, to be two pieces of a single whole; harmonizing them to fit together will be an artistic challenge. But we’re ready to face that; indeed, we welcome the chance to show what we can do!

Please, give us a call at 830-890-1509, or message us via our “Contacts” page; we’d love to talk about meeting your stained glass and art glass needs!

Read about the continued progress of this project here!