Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Benefits of Retail

Two of Mikey's most prized possessions when he was a little boy were his fuzzy flannel pyjamas with the button up feet (oh, they were so soft and cute with the little puppies all over them...Mikey), and his Bulova Space View watch, the first thing he bought with his first real pay cheque. This is the watch he wore when he started Fantasy In Glass going on 25 years ago. Sadly, like some of the staff, it stopped working one day, and was resistant to any prodding in spite of being sent off to Bulova themselves for factory service. Sitting lonely in Mikey's centre desk drawer for the last fifteen years, Mikey would take a forlorn glance at that watch occasionally, remembering the good old days fondly when that watch told him excitedly when to open his humble establishment, and then sadly, when to close at day's end.

Well, you know, sometimes you meet the nicest people. About a month ago, a lovely couple dropped into the store with a repair and through some pleasant conversation Mikey learnt that Albert and his wife owned a jewelry store for many years and that he might be able to fix Mikey's most prized possession (Mikey long ago outgrew the pyjamas sadly). Nervously passing on his watch to a complete stranger, Mikey waited anxiously for what seemed like an eternity, with each passing day one more day closer to possible disappointment.

Albert and his lovely wife (who I'm embarrassed to admit I've forgotten her first name) came into my store yesterday (I don't know quite at what time because they had my watch, remember?...Mikey), with my prized Bulova (the one with the tuning fork- I remember fondly how that humming sound would soothe me contently like a purring kitten as I fell asleep every night, anxiously awaiting the morning to bound back to Fantasy In Glass to start another day). They even brought a new bracelet and patiently explained how to cut, fit and install it.

Mikey now can be found every day at exactly 9:29 a.m. anxiously standing and staring at his repaired Bulova Space View (the one with the tuning fork) waiting for 9:30 a.m. to come and start his day. Let's just hope the battery holds up.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Diamontech Tools Drop In Price!

If you've been reading our humble little blog, you may remember us editorializing on the seeming resistance of the Canadian wholesaler lowering prices as the Canadian dollar continues to rise. I quote from myself here- "Funny how the Canadian dollar has gone up so much in such a short time, eh? That means prices for American sourced goods are now lower, right? Well, you could have fooled us because we haven't seen it happen anywhere- not at the local level from our Canadian wholesalers, nor from our competitors".
Well, they have here at Fantasy In Glass, Canada's first and still only officially sanctioned stained glass supplier".

Some examples-

$50.00 lower on a DiamondLaser Bandsaw (now $249.99 and that includes two blades!), $30.00 lower on a Power Max Grinder (six year warranty- longest in the business), $15.00 reduction on an EZ-Cut Lead Cutter, $6.00 off on an oil-fed brass bodied supercutter.

How about an 8" art piece holder for $9.99 all the way up to a 14" version for only $12.99.

For mosaic people, a 16" hex mold for a new low of only $18.99! And mosaic wheeled cutters for $26.99.

And for beadmakers- heat resistant worksurface down from over $24.00 to a low today of $18.99, or a graphite paddle now reduced to $15.99!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Diamontech Tools Arrive

If you've been waiting for mosaic molds, Lens Cutters, EZ-Lead Cutters, grinders, bandsaws (or a drive belt for an old model) or even circular art piece holders in 8", 10" 12" and even 14", they are now all in-stock... and because of the rising Canadian dollar, they're cheaper too!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Ridiculous According to Zenia!

Mikey breaks his normal Thursday routine, puts away the Playboy magazines and actually finds a glass related magazine that gets him just as excited- Glass Art! The March/April issue (yeah, I know, he's right up to date isn't he...Sam He Is) has a blurb on an absolutely insane flameworker called Loren Stump. You just got to see this to believe it- he's made a pattern bar (picture a loaf of bread that then can be cut into slices) of Leonardo Davinci's 'Madonna of the Rock'. Here's a link to his website- http://www.stumpchuck.com/

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Kokomo Glass

Kokomo is the oldest and dearest artglass manufacturer in North America with documented sales to Louis Tiffany as well as Fantasy In Glass. That's right folks, whatever you might hear, FIG was the first to carry and introduce this quality artglass manufacturer to Canada well over 25 years ago. Let me tell you about a story about going over the Detroit River Bridge with a skid load of glass just picked up from Kokomo in 1984, and how the whole load almost slid off out the back of the truck while going up the rise of the bridge. Ah, the things we do for you...
Tomorrow stay tuned for the first in a series of articles written by Mikey Himself on the various manufacturers we carry.
And to commemorate this event, we are putting the entire line of Kokomo Glass on sale from today until July 15 at 25% off (no minimum, no maximum, no dealers)!

Another Deep Thought From Mikey

At first I thought if I were Superman a perfect secret identity would be "Clark Kent, Stained Glass Artist' because with my super power of heat vision I could save on soldering irons and electricity. But then I thought, if a customer saw that I don't have any soldering irons or electrical plugs in my studio they'd soon realize that I was Superman.

Toyo TAP Supercutter's New Handle Cures Leukemia!

Glass Accessories International (read Toyo- supreme glass cutter manufacturer) is pleased to report that a new, larger saddle on the Toyo Custom-Grip Supercutter is now available. This redesigned handle can reduce hand and finger strain associated with glass scoring and is known to cure leukemia in lab rats. Fitted between the thumb and forefinger, the saddle allows the fingers, hand, and arm to remain straighter and reduce cutting fatigue so long as the tongue is held between the third and fifth excisor (see Tina for demo). This position may be more comfortable for those who have experienced difficulty using traditional glass cutters or little success using their Veg-e-matic! The cutter features a spring-controlled wheel lubrication and Toyo Tap Wheel technology. This patented wheel design improves axle lubrication and reduces rolling friction for a smooth, consistent score. To get a new handle free for this Supercutter bring yours in and we'll give you this new handle (and if you're a rat you'll never have to worry about getting leukemia!)

Monday, 18 June 2007

Figimodo Does Paris!

Mikey just keeps adding and adding to his Mikey's Picture Page. Just posted today are a bunch of pics of Figimodo and his trip to Paris- the link would be here if I could get it to work, but I can't so go here instead and click on Figimodo's face. Apparently a good time was had...

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Man From Last Week Smacked into Present Day

TORONTO, ON (FP)- In a rare case of violence-powered travel, Toronto resident Rob Crapell was smacked into this week by a forceful blow delivered by his wife during a fight while choosing colours for a teddy bear night light at Fantasy In Glass on June 9. “Wow, I thought she was just talking colourfully, “ Crapell said moments after materializing in a burst of swirling coloured light at the intersection of Royal York Rd and The Queensway, just one block away from the site of last week’s smack. Crapell, who has been dubbed “The Man From Last Week,” added: “I have so much to learn about your strange world. So much has changed since my time. Is Bullseye Glass still on sale at F.I.G.? Did the Blue Jays win on Saturday? Have hatred and prejudice finally been eradicated?”

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Recent Website Updates

One of the sometimes overlooked parts of the Fantasy In Glass website is Mikey's Picture Page. Here you'll find well over 1500 pictures, some relevant, some not so, but all in keeping with events and topics dear to Fantasy In Glass. Recent additions here

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Part 6 of Mike's story of the origins of Swiss Cheesed Glasswerks;
People who don't care about glass quality! My dear Sam He Is, we are not all created equal. I know, it's tragic, but true. We are not all born with the same level of glass appreciation. Most people do not care for glass of such quality as Swiss Cheesed and therefore choose glasses of lesser quality, polluting young fertile and impressionable minds. Compassion, not scorn, is in order here, because I believe, there are thousands of hobbyists who, if they could get their first taste of Swiss Cheesed glass, would succumb and convert. Chances are they don't even know that such wondrous glass exists. It is incumbent upon you, to educate and convert these people. (To be continued)...

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Canadian Dollar News

Funny how the Canadian dollar has gone up so much in such a short time, eh? That means prices for American sourced goods are now lower, right? Well, you could have fooled us because we haven't seen it happen anywhere- not at the local level from our Canadian wholesalers, nor from our competitors. Oops, my mistake, let's clarify that- they have here at Fantasy In Glass, Canada's first and still only officially sanctioned stained glass supplier. Sheet glass is down, sale squares too an average of 10%- basically anything we get from the States on our own, and as we continue to source out more goods directly from the U.S. you're going to see more price reductions from us.
Let's face it, Mikey needs to be able to afford his weiners for his Kraft Dinner (and Heinz 57 sauce to mix in), but if our costs are lowered due to a stronger dollar, the savings should pass through to you the customer who we love and cherish.
Mikey has just put in a sizeable order with DiamondTech today- they're those nice people in Florida that make fantastic tools at amazing prices, and we're going to see some substantial price reductions all across the board on this entire line. How about at least fifty bucks lower on a bandsaw to start! How about $10.00 off on their great Lens Cutter? Or $5.00 off on an oil-fed Supercutter? Coming up in this shipment will be Diamond Laser Bandsaws, all their grinders and handtools, glass cutters, torchworking equipment and the popular round panel stands in 8-10-12 and 14" sizes. Also on this shipment will be their popular Lens Cutter and their relatively new E-Z Cut Lead cutter...

It's Pretty Quiet Around Here This Week

Well, you sure can tell when summer arrives, that's when Mikey gets out those tasteless Hawaian shirts he seems so fond of and the staff learn to avert their eyes. Our courses are ending in the next week or two and things sure quiet down at Fantasy In Glass. Being afraid of being so alone, Mikey and Sam are adding a few sales items to our Monthly Sale to see if we might be able to inspire you to have a look at these shirts of Mikey's.
How about all Sale Squares at 20% off, or 11+ at 30% off!

How about 15 book titles reduced from $16.59 to $4.88!

How about over 500 books at 40% off!

How about all Spectrum Fusible Sale Squares at 25% off or 11+ at 35% off!

Just until the end of June, that is all...

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Another Slice of Mikey to Help Explain Him as if that were possible)- Story #18

Mikey, in his misguided youth used to frequently dig things out of his backyard and send it to McMaster University’s Anthropology Department, and label them with his own scientific names, insisting they are archeological finds. Here’s the response he got at age 13:

Dear Mikey,
I thank you for your recent submission to us, labeled “67-703-G, layer four, next to the clothesline post… Hominid Skeletal Rib Cage”. We have given this specimen a detailed and careful examination, and regret to inform you that we must disagree with you that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Toronto two million years ago. Rather it appears that what you have found is the casing of a Glastar grinder, of the variety that one of our staff, who does stained glass as a hobby, believes to be the Superstar model (slightly more powerful motor, extra ¼” head and straight edge guide attachment extra).

It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradict your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen, which might have tipped you off to its more modern origin.

1. The material it’s made of is brown molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
2. The dentition pattern evident on the submitted sample is more consistent with the teeth marks of the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene-clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.

This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that;

A. The specimen looks like a Glastar grinder case that a dog has chewed on
B. Clams don’t have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with deep melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy workload our lab must bear in its normal operation and partly due to the notorious inaccuracy of carbon-dating fossils of recent geological record.

To the best of our knowledge, no Glastar Superstar grinders were produced prior to 1983AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.

Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach Canada’s Science and Phylogeny Department with the idea of assigning your specimen the scientific name of Austrolopithicus Glastar-spiff- arinno. Speaking personally, I for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species you selected was hyphenated and didn’t really sound like it might be Latin.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of the fascinating specimen which comes at timely occasion with the Toronto Museum’s new wing about to open. While it is undoubtedly not a human fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate so effortlessly. You should know that our Dean of Anthropology has reserved a special shelf in her own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the university, and the entire staff enjoys speculating daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you work just outside your Dad’s stained glass studio.

Most excitedly, we await your promised visit to our university, where you might expand upon your theories surrounding the ‘trans-positioning fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty Toyo TC10B Glass Supercutter.

Yours Truly
Z. Chakowsky
Prof of Anthropology

Friday, 1 June 2007

Kerosene Because It's The Best Cutter Lubricant And Because it's a Canadian Invention!

A Canadian discovered kerosene and invented the kerosene lamp. Dr. Abraham Gesner showed off his invention in 1846 on Prince Edward Island (how do you think he figured out where he was? He could finally read the map). He named it by putting the Greek word for wax, keros with the shape of his belly button, ene (not an oute).

Dad said you really never learn to swear until you learn to drive. That's not true- it's when glass cutting with the wrong lubricant. Yes folks, it's true. The type and the quality of lubrication is critical to successful glass cutting.
Now, a bit of a discussion as to why you want to use kerosene as a cutter lube:

Glass is a strange material- it's not a solid, nor a liquid, but a vitreous solution- something exhibiting traits of both and none of either- never mind- read FigHelper # 7 for an explanation, we have to move on. The only thing you need to concern yourself with for the purpose of this discussion here is that the outside skin of glass is in a state of 'tension' (sort of like Mikey's home right now…), holding the middle in 'compression'. When making a score with your glass cutter, the wheel only penetrates the surface of the glass by a mere 1/1000th on an inch (less than that in centimeters…helpful Ed), into the area of tension, but, at the same time it drives a crack well into the deeper compression layer. Using a lubricant will minimize excess surface fractures as your wheel rolls along the glass. A lubricant literally 'oils' the score line reducing surface damage, and as a bonus it reduces the tendency of the score to heal itself (that's Earnest Ainsley's job). The lubricant best suited to this job? Kerosene!

Now, while you might be a better person for understanding the principle behind making a score, you're not really any closer to finding out why we want you to use kerosene. After all, why put oil (which kerosene is) on glass that's already clean? This means we'll have to clean the glass before copper foiling people whine. Oh, the horror. Hey, if we analyze the purpose of a lubricant we could theoretically use any liquid (don't go there Ed). After all, it's the presence of a liquid that's important, not the type. Sounds kind of like Deja Moo- the feeling that you've heard this bull before.

But why kerosene? Let me illustrate the ways;
1) Well, most importantly it is a liquid.
2) It "facilitates the smoothest penetration of the glass surface, keeping microscopic chipping to a minimum" according to the experts.
3) It's cheap and widely available.
4) Its oil base protects cutters from corrosion unlike many of the synthetic cutter lubricants that make unscrupulous retailers lots of money
5) It evaporates almost totally, leaving little residue

Let's expand a bit here and discuss the cutter wheel doing all the work. The angle to which the wheel edge is ground is the hone angle. This is an important factor in determining how well the wheel can have and then hold a sharp point. Getting it right with steel is very difficult, as steel does not allow itself to be well sharpened and then almost impossible to keep sharp. To compensate, manufacturers steepen the hone angle to compensate for steel's weakness. Stained glass cutters with steel wheels average 114o to 120o hone angle. The ubiquitous Toyo Supercutter's tungsten carbide wheel uses a wide (135o) hone angle with a very sharp point.

Now what does all this highly technical talk about hone angles have to do with cutting glass. Well, it seems that the difference in impact between a steel wheeled (steeper angle- blunt point) cutter and a tungsten carbide (shallow angle- sharp point) one is sort of like dancing with a 250 pound man in open toed (but with wool socks) sandals or with a woman wearing an off the shoulder chiffon red dress and matching stiletto heels. The pressure applied to the glass is directly proportional to the amount of wheel touching the surface of the glass. This is one of the reasons carbide wheels regularly outlast steel by 50-1.

That is all.