Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Memorial Disks

After several weeks of not being able to stand at my work benches (sprained ankle followed by gout attack), and with very few weeks until my last option to enter MK A&S for the year, it's time to put the hammer down and get serious, or I won't be entering this year at all.

It took a dozen tests to get everything settled, to get a method to create two armorial disks. The disks are bearing the arms of a departed friend, blazoned "Azure, a chevron argent, overall a Latin cross Or." One will go into a panel for A&S. One will be attached to the lid of the handmade box containing his ashes.

I ordered two square feet of flashed glass, blue-on-clear. I also had a small (7x7") scrap of blue I found on a fluke at a local shop that doesn't normally carry flashed. I placed that into my Morton circle cutter and popped out a perfect disk. For the second disk, I cut one of the new sheets up. Popped it into my circle cutter, and met with heartbreaking (and expensive) disaster as the disk mis-cut. A second square became two more half-circles. Then a third. I blew through $75 worth of glass in an hour. I decided to forgo the fancy circle cutter and do it slowly, by hand and grinder.

Not too bad. Then, on to the acid etching. Resists/masks have been a problem for me, after several tests. Duct tape (fuzzy edge), contact paper (very fuzzy edge), and a resist gel were tried and found problematic. Most of the "tape" solutions I was trying are actually suggested for sandblasting flashed glass, not acid-etching it. I tried them anyway, because I had no better ideas and I'm not yet equipped for sandblasting. The gel was especially tricky because after I smeared a coat on the glass, I needed a "resist resist" to keep clear my target pattern. I laid down duct tape first, and lifted it to try and leave behind what I needed, but the lines weren't clear enough for my taste.

I ended up going back to duct tape, figuring I'd rather have a roundel with slightly fuzzy edges than none at all. I wanted a wider roll, however, to avoid issues where two pieces of tape match. A trip to the hardware store turned up a 4" wide roll of Gorilla-brand tape... and this stuff is mighty. I put a strip of Gorilla tape mostly across where the design will be, and two extra strips above and beneath. I then covered the gaps with two more thin strips, trying to get as much coverage as possible. I put a copy of the roundel on top with white glue, attacked it with an X-Acto knife, and got something workable.

Then, began the cycles of acid etching cream. Five of them, I do believe, in all. Sitting on scrap mirror for protective purposes:

After two coats, I believe:

Three coats:

After four:

I was shocked but pleased with the result. I gave it a fifth coat to clear up the edges. The glass is a lot clearer than I expected, more so than with sandblasting. While washing it in the end the water filled in the pits and made it completely clear.

The Gorilla tape worked far, far better than I had hoped. It stood up to wirebrushing to remove dried coats of acid etch, and kept the fine points intact. Here is a shot on top of my ancient crown template, for visibility.

Now knowing how to get the silver stain to work, I applied my stain and fired it.

I am exceedingly pleased with the result!!! Now, to get it into a panel....

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the link. Your work is beautiful and I appreciate the information and tips about how to use etching cream successfully.