Facts & Questions
The following are questions that we are frequently asked.
To see the answer to a question, click the question.
- Is stained glass recyclable?
- Does Glass-Smith rent out grinders or soldering irons?
- How do I clean my soldering iron?
- How do I use breaker/grozier or running pliers?
- How many hours of use should I get from a grinding head?
- Kiln Rentals
- How to DRILL HOLES in glass
- Fusing: What is Lava Cloth?
- Drop In Open Studio Evenings
Is stained glass recyclable?
Some companies, Spectrum for example, takes their broken glass cathedral colours and clear glass and put back into the furnace as part of a batch. But mixed colours can not be re-melted effectively at this time. Due to the overabundance of green and brown bottle glass, construction engineers are experimenting with including coloured glass bits as a component of asphalt for paving. We use our stained glass scraps for doing mosaics and jewelry, so that could be considered a form of recycling! Also if you want to use scraps for children's projects, get a rock tumbler and throw in a handful of scraps. Not only will it take off the sharp edges but will give a beach glass appearance.
Does Glass-Smith rent out grinders or soldering irons?
Yes and No. We do not rent these items out of the shop, but we do offer studio space at our Studio Next Door, which includes all of the tools (grinders, soldering irons, cutters, pliers, etc.)!You bring your own project and materials. If you have forgotten something, you can get it easily next door at our store. The rate is $10.00 a day whether you are there 1 hour or all day. If you are having difficulty with something in particular or need some instruction this is an ideal setting for you. One of our knowledgeable, cheerful, drop dead gorgeous, (ok the gorgeous part might be a slight exaggeration) can be yours for only $10 hour. So grab a coffee and come on in!
How do I clean my soldering iron?
Wipe your hot iron tip on a wet sponge on a regular basis while soldering. You must use a natural sponge, not a plastic one. The one that came with your Weller iron or Studio Pro stand is the type that you will want to use. As well a wet Shop Towel (blue) works very well for keeping the tip clean. If you have any black bits or crud build-up that won't come off on the sponge, try dipping the hot iron tip in paste flux and clean with steel wool .000, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot tip as you are gently rubbing the steel wool on it.
How do I use breaker/grozier or running pliers?
Breaker/Grozier pliers are dual purpose pliers with a flat serrated jaw and a curved serrated jaw. Both jaws remove flares and tiny pieces of glass. To break out a score, hold the glass firmly near the score line with the flat jaw up. Use your free hand to hold the other side of the glass and bend downward to break the score. To groze, hold the pliers curved side up, using a rolling motion to gently scrape the glass edge against the serrated teeth. Use the tips in a chewing motion to nibble glass away, including deep inside curves. Running pliers let you break difficult scores with ease. The curved jaw applies equal pressure to both sides of the score line, causing the score to "run". There is an adjustment screw for adjusting to the glass thickness. More pressure runs a score more quickly. Start out by running the score slowly from one end to about half way, and then from the other end until the runs meet.
How many hours of use should I get from a grinding head?
There are many factors that affect the life of a grinding head. The size of a head and amount of diamond surface. A 1" bit will last longer than a 1/4" bit just because it has more usable diamond surface. Proper lubrication is critical to bit life. Failure to keep the bit wet with coolant while grinding will cause premature wear and reduce its grinding ability. Using excessive pressure or forcing material into the bit instead of allowing the diamond to do the work will cause the bit to wear more quickly. Use all available sections on the bit. There are four bands, slightly larger than 1/8", of usable diamond. By moving the bit up or down on the motor shaft you expose fresh diamond. Fully use each section. Many people move the bit before completely using up that section. When you are really having to push hard against the bit to make it grind then it is time to move the bit. Use clean coolant and keep the reservoir clean!
Glass Smith does rent out kiln time on the following kilns: SKUTT GM10F (Bead & Fusing Kiln) $15.00 per firingSKUTT 1014 (Medium kiln) $35.00 per firing SKUTT Clamshell (medium kiln) $35.00 per firing Oval Kiln (large kiln) w/ 1 shelf $45.00 per firing Oval Kiln (large kiln) w/2 shelves $50 per firing *2nd Firing/Slumping is half price **All firings include kiln paper** we do have some molds available to use during kiln rental, or you may bring your own.
How to DRILL HOLES in glass
With a Dremel or rotary drill and diamond coated bits keeping the bit and glass wet. Keep a little pool of water on the spot where you are drilling. This keeps the glass from heating up too much and cracking. Usually the weight from the drill is enough but depending upon how thick the pendant is slight pressure may be needed. It is a fine line though, as too much pressure and it will burn the diamonds off the bit.
Fusing: What is Lava Cloth?
Lava Cloth™ Kiln Shelf Linen™ Product Information: 1. Lava Cloth is 100% American Made, including all components, providing the highest possible quality. 2. Lava Cloth does not stick to glass, kiln shelves, kiln brick, or fiber board. Place Lava Cloth directly on the surface you wish to fire on, then place glass on the Lava Cloth and fuse. 3. Lava Cloth is non-carcinogenic. Lava Cloth is a fiberglass product with the standard warnings for fiberglass materials. These warnings are: Contact with fibrous glass many cause temporary irritation. Wear long sleeve loose fitting clothing when handling any fiberglass material. Gloves and eye protection may be appropriate in certain applications. Wash with soap and warm water after handling. Wash work clothes separately and rinse out washer. A disposable mask designed for nuisance type dusts may be advisable when high dust levels are present. 4. Lava Cloth is tan in color prior to firing turning white after firing. On some occasions you may have an odor and may see white powder (a silicon byproduct) on the kiln shelf with the first firing. These are non hazardous and the powder does not stick to glass. If your kiln has a glass view window you may see a white coating after several firings this simply wipes off. 5. Artists using art glass usually achieve 10 + firings at 1350 - 1485°F before the Lava Cloth starts to breakdown - it becomes fuzzy or simply breaks apart. Artists using float glass firing up to 1600°F obtain about 5 – 6 firings before breakdown. Discard used Lava Cloth in regular trash when it no longer provides the finish you wish. There is NO messy or hazardous cleanup with Lava Cloth. When one side breaks down you may get 1 - 4 firings on the backside before it breaks down. Instructions: 1. Lava Cloth easily cuts with good scissors or a fabric roller knife, looks like a pizza cutter but is for cloth. Store Lava Cloth flat or rolled. Do NOT fold it. A tight fold will leave a crease which will not go away. 2. We recommend pre-firing Lava Cloth. This schedule works: Ramp at 500°F / hour to 1400°F soak for 10 minuets. Shrinkage occurs with the FIRST firing, a 12” square will shrink to an 11 3/8” square and a 24” square will shrink to a 22 ½” square. 3. Do NOT fire Lava Cloth above 1650 °F. Firing above this temperature glass becomes molten and penetrates deep into the Lava Cloth. You will not be able to separate the Lava Cloth from the glass. NOTE: Once glass has been fused on Lava Cloth you cannot fire polish or refuse to get rid of the texture should you want to redo the glass. 4. When fusing directly on Lava Cloth glass will expand then during the cooling down phase glass contracts. During the cooling phase the glass contracts but tends to stay in the weave of the Lava Cloth. The Lava Cloth does not move with the glass; thus the glass tends to curl upward at its edges. If you are going to slump the glass after fusing the curled edges may not matter. If you want the glass to remain flat then weight the Lava Cloth edges to hold it in place permitting the glass to retract out of the Lava Cloth weave at the edges thus stopping the curl. Small jewelry pieces usually do not curl when fired on a large piece of Lava Cloth. 5. Lava Cloth and fused glass MUST cool down to room temperature before separating otherwise the Lava Cloth will not tolerate many firings or it may even tear apart if too warm. 6. If the glass has too rough of a texture simply buff the glass with a diamond pad under running water and the roughness will easily and quickly change to a smoother texture. Some glass will sink deeper into the weave than others; this is due to variations in stiffness of the glass and varies from color to color. Fusing at high temperatures may cause the edges of the glass to be jagged. 7. If you want to reduce the amount of texture you can sprinkle dry kiln wash directly on the Lava Cloth using a flour sieve. This will fill the deeper portions of the weave and reduce the degree of texture. Then fire directly on top of this. 8. If you fire iridized glass with the iridized side down on the Lava Cloth you will get the texture plus the iridized surface will remain bright and shiny. The iridized surface is stiff and does not sink deep into the Lava Cloth. If you fire clear glass on Lava Cloth you will get a prism effect from light passing through the glass. 9. You can cut Lava Cloth into various shapes and patterns place it on top of glass with a weight on the Lava Cloth and press the texture into the top surface of the glass resulting in patterns of texture mixed with the smooth fused glass surface. 10. The textured surface will provide a good surface to glue bails or pin backs for jewelry. The textured surface will also assist mosaic artists and tile artists in gluing their glass pieces in place. 11. When box casting and lining the inside of the box with Lava Cloth provides a textured appearance reducing cold finish time.
Drop In Open Studio Evenings
Starting in April 2018 we will have Drop In studio time from 5:00pm - 9:00pm. Bring your own project in to work on and have an expert on hand to help you.