Sunday, July 10, 2011

Glazing Glass Doors

Whenever I build doors with glass, if the clients budget and taste allows, I like to have true divided lite panes.  They just look so much better, especially when the client or a friend opens the door and sees that it indeed has divided lites.  I think people have become accustomed to snap in grills, so there is a surprise when they see it.

These doors are a little tricky because they have a molded edge, a quarter round with a fillet, so the end of the mullions ( the horizontal pieces ) have to be coped, that is, shaped to fit the edge pieces.  I'm not really gonna get into that, that would be better covered in a class.  I am going to describe the process I use to glaze the glass panes.  You could of course use wooden strips to hold the panes in place.  I prefer putty, but either is fine.

 Below you can see where we are headed.  A smooth inlay of putty that meets in what is called a masons miter.  One thing to keep in mind is that the edge of the putty has to be inside the wood edge on the other side of the glass.  If you don't cut the putty inside this edge, it looks horrible...ask me how I know this.  What happens is you can see the putty from the outside when the door is closed.  You can chip the putty away to move the line, but that looks bad when the door is open.  Better avoided in the first place.

 Another shot of the finished putty, smooth with a crisp corner.  You can see the wood on the outside of the glass here, well inside the putty line.

 For putty, I like to use Durham's Rock Hard.  It's available most everywhere.  There's lots to like about it---it dries fast but not too fast, is cheap, non-toxic.  The only downside is that you have to mix it with water but I see that as a plus because that way I can get exactly the thickness I want.  I like peanut butter, maybe a little stiffer.  You can't have it too thin because you can't cut it...the cut putty will just blend right back into tapered part.  What you want is to cut it, and have a line that clearly separates the putty glass from the waste.

Here you can see what I'm talking about.  First, you pack the putty into the area above the glass and form roughly a triangle of putty.  At this point you don't need to be too careful.  Just get some putty on your knife, pack it in like you're trying to scrape the putty off.  Don't get too much or it'll be a mess.  Then using a clean putty knife, run the edge down the length of the pane, smoothing it out as you go.  When you get to the corner, leave the tip on the glass, and in one motion lift into the corner, creating a nice mitered corner.  One trick is to clean the putty knife and lick it before smoothing.  I provides just the right amount of lube to smooth it out.  I'm pretty sure the putty is non-toxic, probably should check.   Another important thing is to leave the cut putty until it's dry and then use a window scraper to remove.  Below you can see the cut putty.

 Below you can see the roughly packed in putty.  If you look closely, you can see the wood that you must stay inside of--otherwise you can see it from the outside.

This is the putty knife I use, pretty standard tool.  I don't use the bent part, I use the straight knife end,  not really sure what the bent end is for.  Maybe someone can explain it to me.  I like the knife end though,  really works well.

 One last pointer--I place a duct tape covered brick on the pane.  I glazed a door once,  and when I looked at the finished outside face, I saw that some of the putty had squeezed out between the glass and the door.  I had to chip out all the putty and start over,  ahh the joy of doing things twice.

 Above you can see how I usually hold the doors closed.  On the left you can see a spinner that goes on the inside.  The top part mates with a groove in the underside of a shelf and hold the ( usually ) right door closed.  A rebate allows the the left door to close over the right door and hold it closed.  Finally the left door knob turns and has a finger that goes behind the other door.  I made that sound a lot more complicated than it is.  It really is simple and hold the doors flat and true.   All this takes times and takes patience to do, but it is what separates an average piece from a true heirloom. 

Things have been busy around the shop lately, finishing up this piece... a really nice order from a  recent show and a couple chairs from the same show,  and football coaching coming right up.  I have another show coming up in Rockland in early August.  I also am trying to get a rocker done for that show, and I have a couple other things.  Be careful what you wish for!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Take a Seat

As I said, last weekend I demonstrated at Maple Meadow Farms in Mapleton.  The weather Saturday was horrible, rain and cold, but Sunday turned out alright.  Erinn is here enjoying a tractor ride.  Now those things have some comfortable seats.

 Speaking of which, the quest for the comfortable seat continues.  Here's a pic of a sack-back seat that by all right should not be comfortable.  The deepest part is too far back, only about 4 1/2 in. from the back edge.  The prevailing wisdom is the the deepest part should be 6 1/2 in.  from the back edge,  and spread out 3 1/2 in. across the middle.  In other words, you measure in 6 1/2 from the back edge,  and then drill a hole about 15/16 in. deep, 1 3/4 in. from either side of the center line.  That marks the deepest part of the "bowl".

 But here you can see the deepest part is two inches to far back, around 4 1/2 in. .  And it's deep too, about 1 3/8 in.  Not really sure what happened here, but there it is.  The funny thing is it is very comfortable.  It supports your back and bottom, and everyone who sits in it says oh, that's nice.
That's the thing about chairs, you just never know how they are going to sit until they are done, which can be very exciting or a disappointing letdown.

 Below you can see the whole seat.  The flanks are cut down so they don't dig into the backs of your legs.

 Above you can see a Rod Back chair.  They were first introduced about 1880 in Philadelphia and were quickly accepted as less expensive seating.  The bamboo turnings were in response to the public interest in the Orient.  On later rod backs, the top back was a flat board on which decorative painting was done to add visual interest.  All of this was due to the rising popularity of Sheraton "fancy" chairs.  Ahh, economic pressure.  The Rodback unfortunately marked the end of 150 years of what had been primarily hand built chairs.  Most later rod backs were factory made, and one can see shortcuts that were taken.  For instance, on most the legs did not go thru the seat, they merely went into machine drilled holes that stopped short of the top.  In many ways this marked the beginning of the decline of the Windsor as a chair.

At any rate, here's a small green rodback with another very comfortable seat.  The deep part is right about 6 1/2 in., so that's "right",  and the deepest part is about 1 in., which is deep for a rod back.  They typically had very shallow scooping to cut costs and time.  But this one very comfortable.  One school of thought is that a deep seat feels great initially, but the longer you sit the more uncomfortable it becomes.  I not sure I buy into this, think tractor seats.  I find a deepish seat, about 1 inch just about right.

 Here's a good look at how deep and wide the scooping is and this chair is comfy!

This pic shows another seat that is not as comfortable as the green one, but is still comfortable.  The deepest part is about 5 in. from the back edge, and about as deep, but it just doesn't sit as well.  One thing is the scooping is flatter from front to back, maybe that has something to do with it. 

 Here's the latest seat, legged up and seat done.  This one is pretty much by the book, deep part about an inch deep, is 6 3/4 from the back,  and the bowl all runs to the deep part.  You can see I use a marble to find the deepest part, my daughters idea.   I'll have to get back to you on how it sits.  I did drop the front arris down about 3/16 of an inch so as to give legs more room.

 I am happy with the edge treatment on this seat.  I cut the bottom back to give the seat a sharp edge which I like,  and the cove on the side came out nice.  Practice makes perfect I guess.

 So in summary, deep part 6 1/2 in.  from the back edge, 1 inch deep, 3 1/2 in. apart, sort of.

Couple shots of the show, nice barn!  The owner asked me when I was getting my stuff out, and I said out, I'm moving in!  Thanks to Andrea, Miriam and Terry Gregg for having me and thanks to all the people who stopped by my booth.