Saturday, February 2, 2013

Challenges of Boxmaking, pt. 1

I love the idea of stained glass boxes. I have seen so many beautiful ones made, and I've made four to date. Only one actually survived as a finished piece, unfortunately. The first was made when I didn't have the right tools on hand and while trying to move into a new home. That was a disaster and I was embarrassed to give it to the commissioner. The second turned out better, but the hinges were weak and ended up tearing off in transit. Again, unfortunately, I didn't think there was much choice. Both of those were made with tube hinges, as detailed in How to Work in Stained Glass by Anita and Seymour Isenberg. Essentially you use a piece of wire that fits tightly in a piece of tube; You score the tube into three pieces, solder two to the lid and one to the base (or vice versa). This is a bit cleaner than the old L-shaped elbow hinges most people make. Unfortunately, for me at least, they are very hard to get right. I started with these because HtWiSG has been my glass bible from the very beginning;

My third attempted worked:

This was made for my brother to store a deck of tarot cards, something he collects. I used a tube hinge and it worked fine.

While browsing a supplier's website, I saw they sold hinges for glass boxes that appeared like regular hinges. I got the idea to try this out, and bought hinges at a local hardware store and ground them down.

Unfortunately, these are not much easier to place.

My first "pale" project I thought of was the same box pictured above. I made the base and sides and got sidetracked. Recently for a holiday party I tried to complete it in a hurry. I finished the lid, got the hinges ready, and managed to build a solder bridge between them. I ended up tearing the hinges out and not having anything for the white elephant exchange.

This set of instructions made me realize my first mistake may be in not tinning the contact parts up front. I think for my next attempt (which will be to finish this pale box) I'm going to try the traditional L-shaped elbow hinge and see how it works for me. Then I can finally finish this box up and free up the bench space. Right now it is an ugly mess, after having to rip it apart.

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