FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


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 shades.

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 attached.
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 mold.

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.