Okay folks, this is an awesome way to make a window, demonstrated by mom, Catharine Brown. She and my dad have conspired on many projects as my dad is a door maker and she is a clay and glass sculptor. She has offered her talents up for our a window in the front door of the house. Naturally, I wanted to capture the process in all of its complicated beauty. Basically she makes the window out of clay, pours a mold of plaster over it, then melts glass into the plaster mold to achieve a glass version of the clay you see below. In these first shots, she is sculpting several different beautiful versions out of clay.
The process continues below. Plaster has to be mixed properly - this is a science. The water has to be the right temperature, the ratios of plaster mix to water have to be accurate, etc. Once the plaster has been mixed and an initial layer of goopy stuff that looks like pancake batter has been applied, the molds are filled with plaster. My dad and I were asked to hit the underside of the table for several minutes with hammers to encourage bubbles to rise and escape. A day later, the plaster molds come out as negative versions of the originals! As you can see, my mom is very excited and relieved to be onto the next phase.
Once the molds are cleaned, the science begins. She carefully measures amounts of glass, calculates temperatures, and studies the weather to make sure no power outages were in the realm of possibility (for the kiln).
After she is comfortable with her calculations, she begins to fill the plaster mold with the colored glass powders. This is where the scientist and artist really join forces to achieve a beautiful and accurate result. These go into the kiln for 30+ hours to so they can heat up, melt, and then slowly cool.
My mom loves this step because she knows the final product is near. She also gets the most stressed out during this time. Things can go wrong, like the glass spilling out of the mold, not enough glass in the mold, the mold cracks, etc.
I seem to show less stress because it seems like every time the result is a success! Here she is holding up the first of four pieces. It is a test piece to gauge the mold's and glass' behavior in the kiln. She is thrilled to have it out, but wants to make adjustments. Here you can see the glass did not spread all the way to the edge of the circular mold. A sweet piece of glass nonetheless.
Repeat all of this three more times, and the end result is below. We took a vote on these three on Facebook (thank you for your input!). Scroll to the bottom for the winner!
Thanks mom for a beautiful showpiece for our model home!
So, some of you may know this already, but my dad is kind of a door making beast. He has primarily designed, built, and carved big solid doors for the last 15 years or so. His company, Floating World Wood Design, has been a great success over the years. To view some of his work, visit perceptionofdoors.com. My dad put a lot of emphasis on the importance of the door in a structure and says this about it: "The door has been a symbol of transition because when we pass through, we change. Something shifts in our consciousness. A door deserves to be a thoughtful and beautifully crafted part of your day to day life." This tiny house deserves no less, so we got to work on a door that will live up to this philosophy.
Here, the mahogany door has been glued and is out of the clamps. A round window will be the only glass in the door. The glass is currently being made by mom, who is a clay and glass sculptor. I am really looking forward to sharing that process in the near future... She is going to make a really beautiful series of windows and we will let folks on Facebook decide which one we use! More soon.
I had some fun working on the stops (the small pieces of trim that hold in the door panels). After making the stop material and cutting it to approximate length, I mitered the edges with our stationary sander miter jig. When you use the sander for this process, you can achieve clean and precise miters by removing small, incremental amounts of material. The most difficult by far were the window stops that needed to be laminated around the radius (far right).
Here is my dad hanging the door. It still needs a door handle, deadbolt, finish, and, of course, a one-of-a-kind cast glass window! Stay tuned friends, we will have more soon. Thanks for reading!
We picked up our 8 windows at Builder's First Source and installed them today (thank you Joe Canone! . . .See his sweet business card below). The windows are a beautiful shade of red/brown and are aluminum-clad. Prior to installation, we flashed the rough openings to ensure our envelope stays dry.
Proper window flashing involves managing the seems to prevent any water from making its way inside. Start with the bottom sill and work your way up. This tape is not cheap but is easily justified when you consider the cost of a leak.
Another important step is sealing up the gap between the rough opening and the window jamb. In this case we used spray foam for an air-tight seal. The excess will be removed to allow for trim. At this point, noise level inside the home dropped dramatically and gave a sense of security and comfort. . . It's starting to feel like like a home!
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