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
FITTING GLASS ONTO THE MOLD
Carol Conti: Here are some things to know about Odyssey patterns and molds
the size of pieces on the mylar pattern is true. The size of the mold
is true. The lines on the mold are approximations. So, cut your glass
pieces by following the mylar pattern. Use the guidelines on the mold
only as approximate areas on which to place your glass pieces.The following
words explain why the design on mold is an approximation:
To make a pattern of a Tiffany design, the original lamp is layed up with
architect's linen and the complete design of the lamp is transferred onto
this linen. Only one of the hand-drawn repeats of the design is used to
make the mylar pattern. The linen is also used to trace the design onto
a blank mold. That design is scribed, again by hand, onto the master mold.
There will be variations on the mold from one design repeat to the next...given
the frailties of us humans.
Walt Boepple: Do not grind your pieces to fit the one on the mold. Just
begin to put them on the mold and all will be fine. After they are all
foiled you begin to move around the mold and make little tiny shifts in
the pieces, moving them one way or another until you have the best fit
Lynn Perry: A foil guide can be used to check the spacing between glass
pieces as 31 they are attached to the mold. The guide can be made by simply
folding a piece of foil over itself toward the sticky side, three or four
Walt Boepple: A turntable that holds the mold would be helpful when applying
the prepared glass pieces to the mold. It can be made by mounting a wooden
disk onto a simple Lazy Susan. For about $13 you can buy a Lazy Susan
at a hardware store.
Carol Conti: When it’s time to attach your glass pieces to the mold,
don’t bother waxing the mold. Use the same wax that holds the glass
pieces on the easels to hold them in place on the mold. Use more wax to
hold larger pieces or to build up pieces if it is needed. If your easels
have been laying on a warm light table, you’ll find the wax pliable
enough to remove the glass. If you have trouble removing the pieces, an
old dental tool can be used gently as a prying instrument.
Lynn Perry: Use a heat gun to smooth the wax on the mold and to remove
wax from the mold at the end of the project. The gun can also be used
to remove wax from the inside of the lamp after it is released, but because
of the potential high heat, be careful!
Ed Minas: Often I find the balls of wax lose their tackiness on the mold
and won’t hold the glass in place. For this reason, I always keep
a hand-held hair dryer handy. One quick pass over the area of the mold
where I am working and the wax is sticky again. As I fit glass pieces
to the mold, I place a piece of foam rubber under the mold. The foam rubber
should be larger than the mold by about 3 inches all the way around. The
foam cushions the fall of any pieces that may fall off the mold as well
as preventing any stray pieces from bouncing off the work bench and onto
Carol Conti: After the foiling process is complete, check the shape of
the foil. If you see any errors, they can be trimmed with a precision
knife. Make sure there is plenty of wax holding the bottom row of glass
pieces in place and that the larger pieces are secured to the mold with
extra wax. If any glass piece seems to have sunk below its adjacent pieces,
now is the time to brace it forward with more wax.
Joan Bengtson: Over low heat, melt one pound filtered beeswax with 1/2
cup Vaseline petroleum jelly. Stir occasionally until all solids disappear.
Pour into a flat 9”x13” baking pan that is lined with kitchen
plastic wrap. When cooled and solid, turn out on a cutting board. Remove
plastic wrap and cut into blocks. It isn’t necessary to use expensive
candle grade wax. I buy #2 grade (tan colored) wax from a local nature
center. It smells heavenly when it is melting!
Ross Lynch: I use BLU-TAC instead of Tacky Wax when I build lamps. There
is no mess to clean off after the soldered lamp is released from the mold
and the pieces of BLU-TAC are easily removed for later use. Hobby shops
Jim Gossum: Years ago, there was some mention of using poster putty rather
than wax to hold your glass pieces to a mold. I decided to try it out
when I found a product made by Super Glue called Poster Tac. Since this
“discovery” I’ve built three Odyssey shades using the
following method: take one strip of putty and knead it until it becomes
soft and pliable. Pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball. Push
it onto the mold in the center of each pattern space. It really doesn’t
take a big piece - just a dot, actually. A larger piece of glass might
require a slightly bigger piece, or maybe even two pieces of 32
Poster Tac, but only use enough to hold the glass to the mold. Experiment!
Less is better! The glass needs to be dry, so if you’re grinding
and fitting onto the mold, dry the glass before pushing in onto the putty.
You can remove the glass from the mold and replace it as many times as
you like. You may very well have to pick off the dot of flattened putty
and roll it into a little ball again and put it back on the mold. It holds
for a long time.(I hate to admit it, but sometimes, months....) The rest
of the process is much the same. I’ve had no problems soldering.
Release works very much the same. Poster Tac does not liquefy, so heat
only makes the Poster Tac more soft and pliable. (Remember: use small
dots of Poster Tac!) There is a little oily residue that occurs from heating
as well as flux residue, but clean up is MUCH easier. I scrape the dots
of putty onto a paper towel and then use clean paper towels to wipe down
the mold. After removing any putty that stuck to the glass on the inside
of the shade, I am ready to solder the inside of the shade.
Arthur Haft: You can take a large wad of putty and apply it to the small
pieces left on the glass (or mold) and it lifts up the little pieces almost
completely. These products are not toxic and can be cleaned with water.
Joni Tornwall: I’ve used Poster Putty on two lamps and found no
problems when it came to releasing the shade from the mold. I ran some
warm water into my utility sink and put the mold & shade upside down
in the water.When I came back in about ten minutes, I carefully squeezed
the edges of the mold in toward the center. (The glass shade also wants
to bend in a little, so I was careful!) I tried to make sure that water
got between the glass and mold. After a little squeezing and prying the
shade away from the mold with my fingertips, the shade easily separated
from the mold.