Sunday, September 22, 2019

Making Glass

I decided to try to make glass.  Basically glass consists of sand [silica sand], soda ash and lime heated up to a temperature high enough to "melt" these items together.

So since I live down near the Atlantic Ocean I went to my local beach and got "sand".  The beach that I live near has beautiful light tan sand. However it had a lot of impurities in it.

So I set about sifting and sifting...
and eventually ended up with clean sand - see below in black container.  The sand in the bag is bought white silica sand for comparison

Then I needed soda ash also known as sodium carbonate. You can get this by putting standard baking soda in your oven at 200degrees for about an hour which I did.  The last item needed is lime,and I went to my local garden store and bought it!

For the first experiment I decided to use the store bought sand

I went with the "recipe" of sand 60%; Soda ash - 30 % and lime 10 % -and mixed them together

I had bought a ceramic mold and coated it with mold release that said it was good up to 2000 degrees F.  I put the mixture into the mold

Baron Fergus got his propane forge ready for us to put it in

And it immediately cracked

Fortunately Baron Fergus has a crucible that he had used to melt various metals, so we decided to use that

into the forge

take it out and look at it...starting to melt - estimated temperature was 1700 C
Back in - unfortunately I did not time it for when we took it out again

After we had taken it out and cooled it down - this is what we had.  Not glass that I could actually use but we did prove the concept.Then we did it the same process with the beach sand.

The discoloration is due to the impurities that were in the crucible from making melting metals in it. - copper/tin/lead and pewter.

The first one that we did had more impurities in it -red and greens

Basically using the propane forge there was not that much difference in the pieces.  The bought sand had much more white coloring to it.

Then Lord Ulf the Dragon Slayer mentioned that we should try to make it with period "fire".  So he prep'd and fired up the charcoal forge

When it got hot we used a clean crucible and store bought sand mixture - after about an 1 hour it did start to melt.

We put it in longer but could not get it hot enough to really melt it...we did get a small amount of "melted" glass

When we took the crucible and put it into the propane forge we got "glass"!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Chivalry White Belt Stained Glass Piece April 2019

I had previously done a similar piece for an elevation to the Order of the Chivalry in the SCA.  When I heard that my Laurels son-in-law had a writ to get his Chiv I wanted to make one for him.

I used a simpler design than the actual heraldry.  As the actual heraldry has a gold chain in the design

Icon Chivalry.gif

This is the design that I am using. Pieces 3, 1 and 2 will be opaque white.  The other pcs per the Chiv recipient’s request will be cathedral red -which is a deep blemish free red.

 I cut the pieces of the belt pattern out and glued them to the opaque glass. In period they would have used beeswax to adhere the glass pieces over a whitewashed board with the pattern drawn in charcoal over the whitewash

I did "cheat" at this point.  Usually I had cut each piece with a glass cutter.  However I would not be able to cut out the circle of the belt that way, without put it into several sections.  So I used a band saw tile/glass cutter that I have

The other two pcs I used the hand held glass cutter on

Using black tracing paint, I painted and cleaned up the black lines that emphasize the design

I have put the pieces into the kiln to fire and will continue tomorrow with the shading

Her Excellency Vienna's Rose Stained Glass Arpil 2019

Hi All

I have not been active for over a year due to health and mundane reasons.  I have missed it very much!!

I decided last week at K and 's A and S to do  a piece of glass art for both of their Excellencies Wilhelm and Vienna when they stepped down at Coronation on April 6th.

I decided to do a Tudor Rose period stained glass piece for Her Excellency

I had a pattern that I have been modifying so I worked on it a little bit more and came up with this design:

 Each "number" is a different glass piece that needs to be cut.  It there should be a direction to the grain of the glass then there is an arrow to keep the grain the same on all of the same color.

 I decided to use a very rich colored glass for the red,yellow and greens.  It was what is called cathedral glass.  Clear color with very few blemishes.  I used an opaque white for one of the roses and a very "blemished" clear for the background.  Their clear glass would have had blemishes it. 

I cut all the pieces and then roughly put them onto the main design.  I used a standard hand held modern glass cutter and glass grozer.  About 2 years ago, I did see an artisan that made medieval grozers but he appears to not be in business anymore.  I am hoping that I can barter with one of the blacksmith artisans in my Barony - a piece of glass work for a medieval style grozer.

 In period they would have heated the glass with a hot iron to break it and then medieval grozers to get a finer edge to the cut glass pieces.

Seeing that the pieces fit together for the most part I started to paint them.

First I put a black tracing paint on them.  This emphasized major veins in the leaves.

I used Reusche tracing black leaded paint and gum arabic as a binder.  I have always used the gum arabic in my work but will do some experimenting on if you really need it.  You mix the dry particles together so that the there are no lumps and no white of the gum arabic showing

Then you add water and start to make a paste

 When the paste is a consistancy of what I like to say "cake batter"  it is mixed enough

Next I take a thin brush and start painting rough lines on the favorite brush..about 10 years old.  I do have some bird feathers and cat I intend to try to make my own brush...yes I followed my cat around the house waiting for her to drop took 5 months but I have 5 long whiskers!!!

Sorry I did not take pictures of the rough ones but these are cleaned up pieces ready to fire in my kiln so that the paint will adhere. I use a bamboo stick and dental tool to clean up the black and give it sharper lines.  They would have used anything sharp that they had to clarify their lines

After the pieces have been fired and cooled down. You are ready for the shading.  Various shades of browns are used to give the "stained" glass look.  The same process follows where you mix the brown paint with gum arabic and then add water to get a paste consistancy.

However there is difference at this point.  You actually cover the whole piece of glass with the brown paint and let dry. You get a smooth line free finish by using  wide badger hair brush

 Then you start removing the brown paint to achieve your shading.  I have several brushes of varying stiffness that I use to achieve the removal of the paint.  I did not get any pictures of the removed paint on this piece as I was in a rush and forgot.  However you can look at some of  my other blogs to see this process.

When you have finished the shading, the pieces get fired in the kiln again to adhere the paint.  Then you are ready to start putting the piece together

Using the master pattern you start to lay the pieces in using leaded came.  I used a medium sized came as I had some bends that were a bit tight. Using horse nails the pieces are held together as you build the piece.

 At this stage you are ready to solder the piece.  This requires a light touch or the came will melt too much.  Below is the piece soldered and I used a black pantina to stain the leaded came. 
Then you need to cement the piece to stop the pieces from moving and provide stability..As you can see in the picture below it gets a bit messy with the cement and then the whiting drying agent.

You let it set for a bit.  Then I use a brush and wooden stick to clean out the cement from the glass and form the defining came cement lines

This is the final piece.  I apologize if I forgot some pictures but I made both pieces in 4 days as the Rose had to set several days before I could give it out.  I am starting up another piece called "the 5 heroines of the Bible"  next week and will give much more detail.