Construction / Molds
Scoring / Breaking Glass
Fitting The Glass
Solder / Soldering
Releasing a Shade
Ring and Rim
Tools, Aids etc.
Health & Safety Concerns
Selling Your Artwork
CONSTRUCTION / MOLDS
The Odyssey System is an outgrowth of production methods used at Paul
Crist Studios and is based on two features: a 360 degree “Full Form”
mold (that permits assembly of the whole lamp at one time) and Tacky Wax,
its patented adhesive that holds glass pieces in place. The mold is made
of fiberglass and is virtually indestructable - allowing it to be used
over and over again. Pattern lines are engraved into the mold. Tacky Wax
allows you to put all of the glass on the mold at one time and gives you
the freedom to cut, fit, foil and solder your lamp together in separate
complete operations. Each Odyssey mold kit contains a fiberglass mold,
one each of mylar and paper pattern sheets and an instruction manual.
This Company sells exact replicas of Tiffany hardware, bases, crown &
branch sets, filigree, jewels and turtlebacks. It also sells 8 such things
as Pattern Linen - used to draw your own designs, posters of Tiffany designs
and color slides of Tiffany reproduction shades by Paul Crist Studios.
The patented WordenSystem™, introduced in 1974, uses economical
styrofoam forms that are light in weight and easy to use. Removable MagicStrips™
allow you to construct a Worden lamp design on one form. Lamp designs
ranging from Tiffany reproductions to original designs by Howard Worden
are available and are built on SectionalForms™ or on 360 degree
FullForm™ shapes. Several lamps can be made on each form by simply
changing the MagicStrip™ guides. Glass pieces are positioned on
the form and held in place with pins for soldering. The heavy paper MagicStrips™
protect the form from heat and solder. A lamp designing grid is available
for those who wish to design their own lamp. The Worden Company sells
accessories such as cast brass branches, spider legs, heat caps, filigree,
jewels and turtlebacks. It also sells, among other things, LampLeveler™
position tools and Flex-Bar™ - tinned copper braid for reinforcing
Carol Conti: Odyssey bases their patterns on authentic designs of Tiffany.
The patterns are made of mylar and the molds are made of fiberglass. These
molds are full molds - no guessing about how to line up sections. In addition,
the Odyssey instruction manual is a great help. When one of my students
wants to use a Worden design, we buy all the sections that are necessary
to make up a full mold. A plus for Odyssey is that Tacky Wax makes every
part of construction so much easier. Wax is not a nuisance if you use
just a tiny bit of it on the back of each piece of glass in order to hold
it to the easel and then use the same wax to attach it to the mold. We
even found out that by securely wrapping Worden molds with Saran Wrap,
you can use wax to hold the glass pieces in place. After the outside is
soldered you just lift the lamp off the mold with the Saran Wrap still
Jo Anna Vitale: As far as Worden vs Odyssey....I have made both and I
have taught with both and I still prefer the Odyssey for strength and
ease of use and of course,
authenticity. I must admit that I haven't used tacky wax but rather start
at the top and "sweat solder" the first row to the brass ring.
Then tack solder each piece one at a time to each other going around and
around until it's all done. I flip it over carefully and solder the inside
while it rests inside a big box of crumpled newspaper. When that's done,
I solder the outside. This seems to work for me.
Nancy Pimental: This method of constructing a lamp is especially helpful
for beginning students as well as those who cannot complete a lamp in
a timely fashion. First of all, zerox your pattern onto full sheet Avery
label paper, making as many copies as needed. The label paper cuts with
pattern shears and stays on at the grinder. We cut around the pattern
once it is on the glass, eliminating the need to trace.When we build a
lamp, we tin each piece and wash it before soldering it to the lamp. Starting
at the top, we only need a little duct tape to get us started...from there
on out we tack solder the clean pieces on without flux. If it takes a
week or two years to complete the lamp, it does not tarnish from flux.
(After some of our students suffered from allergies, we discovered a safe
flux...lemon juice. It works fine, but be warned that it might stain some
glass, so try the juice on samples of the glass you plan to use.) If it
sits a very long time, you may need to shine the solder with extra fine
steel wool, but the lamp readily takes a 9
bead with little or no oxidation. Our students prefer this method to using
wax, since it is much cleaner.
Paul Crist: Lines engraved into an Odyssey mold are permanent, but are
diffficult to see, so they need to be filled with colored grout to bring
them out. Here is an alternative to Odyssey’s “Mold Mud”.
Mix together 3 tsp. powdered tile grout (without sand), 1/2 tsp. powdered
black tile grout pigment, 1/2 tsp. white glue and about 3 tsp. water.
This mixture should have the consistency of pea soup.
Conrad Grobbelaar: Instead of using grout on my Odyssey mold, I decided
to use a permanent transparent marker to “draw” the pattern
on the mold. It was a fairly easy process, since the tip of the marker
fit nicely into the engraved lines.
Nikki O’Neill: The lines on my mold are now darkened with an extra-fine
black Sharpie. I actually enjoy this part - becoming familiar with the
pattern and thinking about the glass shapes and colors.
Wayne Taylor: This time I darkened the lines on my mold using Joe Porcelli’s
technique. I bought some drawing charcoal from Wal-Mart. I wore gloves
and rubbed the mold with the charcoal sticks. Then I used paper towels
to remove the excess powdered charcoal that was on the mold. I think the
whole process took 12 minutes!
Lynn Perry: Install a wooden base in the bottom of the mold for strength,
dimensional stability and to aid in the lamp’s assembly. To facilitate
releasing a shade from its mold, drill six holes (less for smaller molds)
about four to six inches from the center of the wooden base. The diameter
of these holes must be large enough to insert 100 watt light bulbs. Heat
from the bulbs will melt the wax so that the lamp can be lifted from the
Sandy Stringfellow: After I discovered that the 14” Dragonfly mold
had no directional arrows so that my unique glass would line up correctly,
I built my own plumb line! After drilling a hole in the Odyssey mold to
accomodate the pipe of the Worden Lamp Leveler, I looped nylon twine (20”
long) around the pipe and tied a heavy object to the other end of the
twine. Following this plumb line, I used a fine point black Sharpie and
drew a line from the top of the mold to the bottom. I did this all the
way around the mold. Where there were large pieces, I had to place the
plumb line down the middle of the piece. After I cut my mylar pattern,
I held each piece to its corresponding spot on the mold. By following
the lines I had drawn on the mold, I marked a vertical arrow on each mylar
pattern piece. In order to achieve some extra accuracy, I drew vertical
lines to follow on my sheet of glass.
Walt Boepple: Order 2 sectional forms to construct your Worden pattern.
Cut the glass for the first sectional form and then pin the second form
up to the first one. Cut and fit to glass on the second form. You can
then solder up the first section, but don't solder it to the second just
yet. Remove the soldered glass section and lay it aside. Take the first
form and put it over next to the second; it now becomes the third section.
Since the edge of the first section and edge of the second fit perfectly,
you can now solder the second section. Remove the second soldered section
from its form and move this form over so that it will become section four
- and so on. This way you make sure that no glass sticks out over the
edge that will haunt you later. When you come around to do 10 the sixth
section, you fit it to the first section that you did. This is so simple
and you get a perfect fit. When you shrink wrap a Worden mold the key
is to get the Saran Wrap draped over the mold with quite a bit of excess
so that you can wrap it up under the mold. Then, with any means you have,
secure the wrap in place. I use "T" pins, straight pins, masking
tape, duct tape and everything that I can to reallyget it up under there
so it has something to pull on when it starts to tighten because of the
heat. I did not have any need for gloves when I heated it over the (stove)
burner. Just raise it up from the burner and you will see it start to
tighten as soon as the heat hits it.
Al Morgan: For many years I’ve been making lamps using Worden’s
molds and patterns. When I receive my styrofoam mold, I cover it completely
with G.E.’s clear silicon sealant - using my fingers to rub it into
the mold. The next day, I pin the pattern strips to the mold and again
rub the clear sealant onto the mold - covering the pattern and spaces
between. I solder my shades while they are on the mold. Since using this
method to preserve the mold, I’ve been able to make five shades
with the same mold.
Arthur Haft: I’ve only made lamps using Worden forms and found that
if you cover your styrofoam mold in clear silicone caulking, solder will
not melt through the form...it just rolls off.
Carol Conti: If the Worden design you want is not available on a full
form, buy enough sections to make a full mold. Glue the sections together
with Elmer’s glue.After the glue is dry, attach the “Magic
Strips” to your full form. Cover the full form with masking tape
to help protect it from solder. (The pattern lines are still visible.)
Wrap the form securely with Saran Wrap and tape it tightly to both the
top and bottom of the form with masking tape. No need for pins! Use Tacky
Wax to hold the glass pieces to the Saran Wrap.
After soldering the outside of the shade, remove the masking tape that
holds the Saran Wrap in place and then lift the Saran Wrap and soldered
lamp off the form. The Saran Wrap pulls away easily from the shade so
that you can solder the inside of the shade. (Since heat isn’t necessary
to release, the wax doesn’t melt so it’s easy to remove the
lamp without damaging the inside foil. )
Donna Darcy: The first thing we encourage students to do is to cover a
styrofoam mold with clear contact paper and then use spray adhesive to
glue the pattern to the mold. After that is done, we have them cover the
pattern with clear contact paper. Then we coat the mold with Tacky Wax
so that we can eliminate the need for pins. The shade is removed from
the mold in the same way you would release a shade from an Odyssey mold.
Tom Trimble: Here are a few unique experiences I had as I soldered my
18” Grape - a big, awkward and heavy shade. First of all, the shade
(and lamp positioner) tipped over on me because the bronze branches made
it so top-heavy. I managed to grab it before it hit the floor but not
before it banged into a few sheets of glass that were propped up against
the wall. It broke 3 sheets of glass, but luckily, the lamp did not sustain
any breakage. I also managed to get a nasty burn on my hand from the soldering
iron when I grabbed the lamp...there was no way I was going to let that
lamp hit the floor! (At this point, I decided to fasten a circular wooden
disc inside the lamp which, I discovered, helped greatly in supporting
it.) After soldering in 5 reinforcing wires, I noticed a hair-line crack
in one of the leaves, so I removed and replaced that leaf. Thankfully,
this turned out to be not all that difficult a task. Now, after all those
soldering events, I am very satisfied with the lamp...it sure makes a
statement in my family room!
Bill Geller: I am mindful that we all have our own way of soldering the
inside of a shade; however, laying a shade on its side, especially a large
shade, might distort the integrity of the sphere/globe. Because of the
weight, it is too "soft" even if you use the support of wedges.
I use one, two or even three brass rims - depending on the size of the
shade, and tack them at different places around the outside of the shade.
They create a wire-type basket that cradles the shade and helps prevent
distortion. Using this method, you end up with a shape that more perfectly
matches the mold.