Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Guild of Master Craftsmen (and women)

I have just received a letter to say that I have been elected to membership of the Guild of Master Craftsmen. This is a long established organisation which provides quality assurance for the client and a range of services to ensure the client receives an excellent service and product and has a means to seek redress if anything were to go wrong. To be accepted my premises were inspected, the quality of work in progress was assessed, and a number of recent clients were contacted to provide information on my customer service, and their opinion of my work for them. The application then goes to the Council of the Guild for consideration.

It of course provides access to insurances and other business backup for the craftsperson.

Mostly, for me it provides an assurance for the potential client that my work is up to standard even though I not have the best website or advertisement.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Acid Etched Panel

In Glasgow and throughout Scotland - and possibly many other areas - etched glass front doors and stair windows were very popular in the mid nineteenth century. These were made on plate glass of around 8 mm thick which have proved to be pretty strong, as many of them still exist. However accidents occur, or as in this case someone threw an object which hit the glass with enough force to break it.

When it came into my hands - because I use traditional techniques rather than sandblasting - it had already been removed by a firm of glaziers who did more damage to it in getting it out. They were not aware initially of the screws that held the mouldings to the door and so damaged the moulding and more of the glass. Such is life.

This image shows the front door with the glass installed. If you wish to find out about the process you can go to this section of the blog.

The smooth reflective nature of the glass from the outside is shown in this picture. It also shows the privacy generated, as it is not possible to see what is happening inside, even at this close an approach. The apparently clear portions are subtly textured by the acid process that you can only see colours through those areas.

From the inside you notice the amount of light that is transmitted. You can see how the glass reacts to the colours outside with the view against the sky at the top having little contrast, the centre against the houses opposite having strong contrast, and at the bottom showing the green of the grass outside. The etched parts become the dark positive on the grey/white of the ground glass.

The following two images show the detail of the centre and bottom of the door panel.

central detail

bottom detail

This has been prepared on laminated glass which is a security glass. If in the future there is an accident, the interlayer will hold the glass together and prevent any entry through the glass or injury to anyone from falling or protruding glass.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Porch Door

Having previously completed the complete rebuild of a window for a sagging frame, I was asked to provide a reproduction front door. This involved removing the dark timber cladding of the door to reveal the original opening in the door.

This is the completed panel installed.

General view, outside

Inside view

Detail of the painting

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stair Window

Monday I was called out to give an estimate on repairing windows. This stair window is characteristic of stair windows created in the latter half of the 19th century.

In this general view of the window you can see the quality of the fittings of the house, for example, the newel post in the lower right of the photo, and the hanging plaster work in the upper right.

The window is interesting not only in its subject - literature and the arts - but in its technical aspects.

The glass has been ground before the painting has been done. The firings must have been quite low and few to retain the ground surface. It is so fine that it feels similar to touching velvet. I will need to do a number of tests to achieve the same result.

At the bottom left is the panel that has been shattered and needs replacement. The need to reproduce the panel with the paint loss that the rest of the window has had, will be another challenge. Assuming I get the work.

I should also look up the meaning of the Latin motto at the bottom of the window to help my interpretation of the window.

Possibly it means "Fortune [luck] has no divine power"

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Castleton House

Through an oversight when starting this blog, I left out the developments at a large house in the west of Scotland, Castleton House. The new owner who extensively restored the house engaged an interior designer, Claire Craig to assist with the development.

The owner had purchased a number of medallions at auction and wanted them reset into a large skylight over the stair landing. After discussion it was decided to set them into a traditional glazing pattern.

A number of the pieces were of birds.

And one was of roses

There also were two medallions of women in classical dress that both needed repair and restoration.


Discussions led to the decision to make a series of four medallions - one for each side of the skylight - representing areas of endeavour as would be in keeping with the period of the house.

Art as Purchased at Auction

The areas decided upon were, Art, Music, Literature and Science. As these were to form a series and as the face for Music needed to be completely repainted, it was decided to paint all the faces and any replacement backgrounds to give a unity to the whole installation.

Brian Waugh was chosen to do the painting and his success can be seen in the following photos.




These were installed at Castleton House by the joinery company Elmwood in this skylight. As you can see, part of the problem was to ensure the quarry glazing pattern matched all the way around the skylight.

In addition to his purchase of the medallions, the owner also obtained the two panels below at a very reasonable price. The job was to make use of the glass as best as possible in a new setting beside the front door.

There was extensive damage to the glass at the borders. It was not possible to determine what the partial figures might have been depicted as doing. After consultation, it was decided to make use of the central Justice and Prudence sections in one decorative panel set into a quarry glazing pattern for the window.

The extensive damage and inappropriate insertions can be seen from the photos below.

You can also see the amount of fine leading that was required. The whole of the two panels were taken apart. New pieces were painted where required, and the whole re-leaded.

A further requirement was that the window needed to be able to be installed in a curved window opening to fit with the whole of the curved entrance hall to house. Curved glazing bars were provided to assist with the installation.

This photograph shows part of the entrance with the cloakroom door at the bottom of the stair. The setting of the two panels without their borders can be seen in their quarry glazing at the foot of the stair.