Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stained Glass OR Fusion Glass

When planning a decorative glass window for your home you have the choice of techniques -- stained glass, fusion glass, or a mixture of the two.  Which is best for a particular location depends upon many factors. 

BUT FIRST, I'll clarify the techniques:  In a stained glass window (maples leaves below) the pieces of glass are held together with solder applied to copper foil or by lead channels.  Fusion glass is made by layering small pieces of glass on a large sheet of clear glass and fusing it all together in a kiln.  You don't see any lead lines (the birch trees).

1. Will you be viewing this window from one or both sides?  In a front door, where you'll probably want your window to look great from both sides, stained glass is an obvious choice.  Most fusion glass designs have a front and back side, with more intense colour and detail on the front side.  For a bathroom or clerestory window, one-side viewing is probably the norm.

THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS.  A two-sided relief pattern was chosen for this door so it can be enjoyed equally from both sides.

2. Are there complex shapes in your design?  With stained glass you need to add a lead line at each right angle.  The designs in this French door would look very busy if done in stained glass.  Also, by using fusion glass I was able to add detail to the  zebra.

3. What are your budget limitations?  Generally, making fusion glass windows is less labour intensive, so they can cost less.  However I do have to factor in the electrical costs in operating the kiln.

4. What about weight and strength?  Fusion glass is usually 6 mm thick, while stained glass tends to be 3 mm.  The thick fusion glass is heavier, but less likely to be broken. Your location will be a factor in deciding which attributes are pros and which are cons.In my next blog I'll talk about some interesting options achieved by combining both stained and fusion glass.  In the meantime, take a look at some of the windows at http://www.turtlecreekglass.ca/.

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