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Pattern Cutting a la Maher/Nicholson
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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 01:39 pm
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Don Burt
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Lets say the cutline drawing is made with thin pencil lines. To cut the paper templates from the pattern, we use a pair of blades taped together at exactly the width of the lead heart, and cut the paper along the pencil lines. Then we score the glass along the edge of the pattern pieces.

The V of the cutter cannot track exactly on the edge of the paper. It must track ever so slightly to the outside. Lead came cannot be formed exactly to the glass curve, particularly when there is a compound curve. It seems therefor there will always be a slight creep of too-bigness on any construction, if the template is cut with an exact lead heart size. What is the best process for mitigation of this? Grozing? Making the pattern blades just a hair larger than the lead heart? Adjusting the pattern registration on the glass a little?



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 06:47 pm
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Tod
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Gotta admit, although I couldn't get to the conference, that I've been wondering the same thing this week while working on a reproduction sort of panel. One thing I can add is that the hearts of most leads today are much smaller than the scissors' heart. Gone are the good old days of a standard .062 heart, if, indeed, they ever existed. Today, the small round and flat leads I get have hearts from .030 to .055.

My scissors remove a .075" strip and the cutter wheel I like best is about .040 thick. I'm not sure how far from the edge of the pattern piece that puts the center of the cutter, but I do know that the pieces of glass were larger than what I wanted.

So, Don, if you're removing only .040 or so, your pieces are doomed!

I guess I'll go back to using only antique or clear glasses and forget this template-and-opalscent crap. Best advice: do that "trace cutting" thing and have near-perfect results.
My 2ยข.... Tod

Last edited on Mon Jul 30th, 2012 06:51 pm by Tod



 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2012 09:57 am
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Steve
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Hmmm. never taped blades together at the EXACT width, I always allow extra room. Just a smidge, and learned where that smidge needed to be by trial and error, years ago, and kept things there so I could work the same, cut the patterns so they fit the same, or close. Adjusted the method as the manufacturers adjusted their dimensions. Never saw a perfect fit window, didn't know they were supposed to be that way.



 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2012 12:44 pm
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Don Burt
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The smidge requirement sounds reasonable. Maybe I wasn't paying attention in class. The linoleum knife blades we used have a certain kerf width when placed directly together that, in addtion to a piece of two sided tape, should be adequate for copper foil. Maybe we were instructed to measure lead heart width from the flat of the two blades,which would add a smidge, rather from the cutting edges. A fellow student or perhaps an instructor's clarification would be welcome.:)
Thanks for the feedback Todd and Steve



 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2012 08:44 am
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Kal Tiki
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Hi Don, Yes the blade should be just slightly larger than the heart and this can be adjusted to your level of accuracy. Our point was to try and make it more accurate than pattern shears especially in the light of some smaller leads, say smaller than 3/16" or 1/8", with very thin hearts. Of course there is a lot more leeway with larger flat leads but the more accurate the cutting the stronger the window and you can be more efficient assembling the window. In the Rowan LeCompte movie Dieter was using a beautiful tool to cut his patterns. I didn't see it enough to note but I would imagine you could adjust the space between the blades. Maybe he didn't need to adjust the blades because he made his own lead and perhaps all his lead hearts are the same size.
My own experience has been that making the custom pattern cutting tool is cheap and helps fabricating windows better and more efficient. I am going to do some videos of some of the things we reviewed in the class and some of the ones we didn't get to. hopefully you picked up a few things. so tough to teach and learn something that takes decades to master.



 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2012 09:59 am
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Don Burt
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Thanks for confirming Dan. The class was great. Granted, we were in a downtown hotel meeting room for one day (with lousy light) and not in Dieter's studio or a room otherwise dedicated to fabrication, but the content of the course was great. For a one day course, I think we got through a lot of material. Seeing and using the tools, the lead came profiles that you prefer, the layout technique, terminology....it all added value. One of the important things that sticks with the student in a course like that is the verbal and visual reinforcement that that there is a level of craftsmanship that is a step up from the acceptable. Even if your students aren't going to spend decades trying to attain that level, at least we have an introduction to the factors that have to be managed in order to get there.

I got a pair of fanout cutters from Sunshine Glass (AGG Sponsor).



 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2012 11:49 am
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Kal Tiki
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Take good care of your Fanouts and only cut lead with them. No pulling of nails, cutting copper or hanging wire. If you just cut lead with them they will last for years. Glad you liked the class.



 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2012 12:11 pm
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Krueger
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In regard to the intricies of pattern/lead cutting.....regardless of how proficient one is, there is always a little something, the AHA moment, that will turn on the light, or perhaps offer silent encouragement to experiment on the next piece.....actually, this could be said for the conference, ANY conference, in general.....there are those Aha moments when looking at the work of others, either in a historical context or a current context......thanks Rona, and all the instructors and presentors for making Pittsburgh another fine conference. Hope to see many/most of you in St. Augustine next year.
Barbara in Michigan



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