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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The "Putting My Teaching Skills To The Test Once Again" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Standing with my brother Steve in my driveway looking at the stained glass pieces he just bought from a store in downtown Lancaster.  Two days ago Steve spent the morning with me learning how to make stained glass pieces he could sell at a local farmer's market.  Steve is willing to give anything a try and since he retired he has time to do just that.  He knew I made stained glass windows and various other stained glass items and asked me to teach him how to do it.  I retired from teaching in 1999, but thought it would give me a chance to try my hand at teaching one more time.  We began about 8:30 am with making a drawing and then patterns from that drawing.  Something simple like a Christmas tree was my suggestion so we could keep it all in one color and make the procedure easier to understand.  
My brother Steve with his first stained glass creation.
We transferred the design to a piece of green glass and after having him practice both straight and curved glass cutting, he managed to cut the pieces of the tree following the pattern lines on the glass.  It was then I discovered he was having a hard time seeing the lines on the glass.  Seems he forgot his glasses!  After finally cutting the half dozen pieces, it was then time to have him use my glass grinder and grind the edges to get rid of any sharp corners and edges.  Next came the part of the operation that caused me to stop making stained glass pieces; wrapping all edges with copper foil.  Tough on the hands and there isn't an easy way to do this procedure.  You have to take the 1/4" wide copper foil and wrap the edges of each piece of glass that is in your design.  The foil has an adhesive on one side just as scotch tape.  I did help Steve with this step since you do need to see well to wrap the glass and he was at a disadvantage from the start.  We then placed all the pieces in the proper places and coated the copper foil with flux to help the solder to flow properly.  Next I showed him how to solder them together and add a small bead of solder along all the joints.  Before long he was looking like a pro.  
My brother Steve looking at a new piece of stained glass.
We then washed the green tree with water, dried it and added a black patina to the solder joints.  Fun to teach him what to do.  Teaching him was easy since he really wanted to learn what to do.  I gave Steve the basic equipment he needed to get started as well as a few pieces of glass.  Wasn't long before he called and asked if I had more glass I wanted to sell.  I had some, but told him where he could go in the city of Lancaster to buy stained glass sheets.  So, now we are standing in the drive looking at all the different colors he has purchased for his first window panel.  Anxious to see how good a job I did teaching him.  I'm sure I must have forgotten something, but we'll see.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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