Sunday, 15 April 2012

[UPDATED] The Kraken has finally been released, plus some complaints about solder

Hey everyone! I finally finished the squid. I would have done it last weekend, but The Scotsman and I decided to spend the long weekend up in Ullapool, a beautiful little seaside town on the west coast of Scotland. We go up to Ullapool regularly. The first time was on our honeymoon, and we liked it so much that we just keep going back.
Wayyy up there!

One of the main reasons we keep going back to Ullapool is the bed and breakfast where we always stay: The Tamarin Lodge. Folks, if you ever find yourself in Scotland and want a luxurious, modern, clean and reasonably-priced bed and breakfast, this is the place to stay. The breakfast they serve in the morning is a thing of beauty; they have their own flock of chickens, and the eggs are that fresh.

So that's why I slacked off last weekend, despite the fact that my darlin' Scotsman had gone to get me some more solder while he was in Alloa (the nearest place that sells stained glass stuff.)

Now, I have to put in a word about the type of solder The Scotsman got me: unfortunately, I hadn't specified to him what kind of solder I wanted, and he got some bad advice from the store owner. He ended up getting the 50/50 solder instead of the 60/40. The different numbers denote the amount of lead to the amount of tin. 50/50 is half lead, and I found it much harder to work with than the 60/40 (60% tin) I'm used to.

All in all, the 50/50 solder was a real bummer. It bubbled up a lot, leaving pockmarks in the lead bead, and was really hard to get to lie in an even, non-blobby way. It also didn't seem to want to adhere to the copper foil, even though I'd fluxed it very thoroughly. It was not my favourite thing. So, if you're ever wondering which type of solder to get, I'd strongly advise getting the 60/40. Also, I now have a TON of 50/50 solder I don't know what to do with. Wanna buy it?

OK, enough preamble. Here's the finished squid:

(UPDATE: I've added a couple of pictures of the squid taken from outside of the house. I don't know why, but my camera is making the red parts look really, really orange when I take the pictures from inside. I guess I need a photography class too!):

Squid stained glass piece
Unfortunately, as with all stained glass, the picture really doesn't do it justice. The reds in the picture look very orange, but they're a darker red in real life. As you can see, I'm also still having issues with getting anything like a straight edge. But whatever!

Here's one taken from outside:
Stained glass kraken
The red parts are much redder, the light parts are much less yellow, and you can sort of see the mottling in the glass. Stupid camera!

I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out, despite the non-straight edges and my troubles with the solder. Here's a detail of the tentacle:

Tentacle action!
Tentacle action!
One last one, again taken from outside:
Release the Kraken!

When you're as new to stained glass making as I am, every new piece is a learning experience. This one was definitely not an exception. I learned a lot on this one, not least because it was a really challenging design. 

To finish the piece, my plan is to go out to the beach, find some driftwood, and make a frame for the squid out of that. I think it'll look pretty cool!
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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Out of Solder

Hey there! I bet you were wondering, "Gee, I wonder if she ever finished that squid."

Well, kind of. I got all of the pieces foiled up with copper foil, which, let me tell you, took a long, long time. When you foil your pieces of glass, you have to be really careful to get the piece of glass exactly in the centre of the foil, or it shows through on the other side. Then when you get the foil exactly placed on the glass piece, you have to burnish it down with a fid so that it sticks to the glass properly.

"Fid." I like that word. Here's what a fid looks like:

You burnish the copper foil with the flat bit at the end.

Since this squid piece has like a zillion little pieces of glass to foil, this took me, as I've already said, a long, long time.  But I really love when you get all of the pieces foiled. Each one looks like a little piece of jewellery in a copper setting.

All copper foiled up. 
Ain't it purty?
After that, you paint flux onto the copper and use your soldering iron to (theoretically) run a nice, even seam of lead along the copper bits, soldering the pieces together. In practice, my solder lines are not always as nice and even as I'd like them to be.

All in all, I got about halfway done with the front side of the piece, when I completely ran out of solder.

Looks like I'm going to have to return to the stained glass supply place before I can finally finish this piece. Curses!

Out of solder! Curses!
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