Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started in a stained glass hobby?
Take a class from an experienced teaching studio. The Vinery has been teaching people how to create stained glass for over 25 years. We offer a three-hour stained glass workshop class that provides the opportunity to make a project and get a feel for the steps involved. Many customers tell us that they have always wanted to learn stained glass and are ready to jump in. We always recommend the six week course for them. This is an in-depth class that takes you from the beginning to the end of your project. You will finish the six weeks with all the knowledge and tools you need to continue the hobby at home. Many of our students also take the six week advanced course, setting aside time each week to continue learning and practicing the art of stained glass.
How much does it cost to get into stained glass?
When starting stained glass, there is an initial investment in tools. Initially, the two most important (and costly) tools are the glass cutter and the soldering iron. There are many glass cutters on the market and we recommend you try as many different types as possible to determine which suits you best. In our beginning classes we offer the opportunity to try a variety of cutters before buying one. As for soldering irons, they are available in many sizes and wattages. We suggest an iron that is somewhere between 60 to 100 watts. The wattage is a rough indication of the heat the iron will generate. If the iron does not have an internal temperature control, it is highly recommended that you use a rheostat to control the tip temperature. Another tool that is more expensive, but makes your projects much easier to construct, is a grinder. Beyond these main tools, you will need the staples of every project: lead or copper foil, flux, solder, patina and glass. For the beginning student, The Vinery offers two different kits to start you on your way. The prices range from $150 to $240. Aside from the glass and the grinder, these kits give you everything you will need to launch yourself in this exciting craft.
Is stained glass hard to learn?
No! It takes some time to get the techniques down, but our students are consistently and pleasantly surprised with how great their projects turn out.
How long can you store putty?
The shelf life of putty depends on the manufacturer. Commercial putty has additives that extend its shelf life. If you purchase putty made by the Vinery, it should be used within three days. It must be sealed well or it will harden.
When puttying a leaded panel, how long until the putty has set up?
After 24 hours the putty has set up but is still pick-able. After 48 hours the putty has set up and is almost impossible to pick out of the corners.
How can I get good results when I putty?
Well, really, the best way is to bring it in and have Tate do it. But if you want to try it yourself, this is what we recommend: After soldering your panel, wipe down solder joints to remove the remaining flux. If you are using our putty, it can be applied with a brush. Make sure all the spaces between the glass and lead channel are filled with putty. After puttying one side, clean away the excess putty and film from the glass and lead using a large natural bristle brush and whiting. Using a pick (sharpened dowel rod) clean putty from the corners and anywhere else it maybe oozing. Then flip the panel and repeat the above steps on the other side. Buff with a clean brush to polish both the lead and glass. A final clean and pick should be done within 24 hours.
How do I get my patina even and dark?
Before applying patina, make sure the solder seams and zinc are free of corrosion and flux residue. A fine steel wool works well to clean surfaces where patina is going to be applied. Apply the patina with a clean paper towel, cloth or brush. When applying patina to zinc channel, it is important that you frequently use a clean area of your towel to apply fresh patina. If you are using copper patina, apply it after you have applied a little finishing compound. This helps the patina plate the solder and reduces the blotchiness that can occur. Be sure and wear gloves to protect your hands when handling patina!
Resource link for additional questions about stained glass
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