Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Friday, 30 November 2012

Something to Leave...

... on your partner's/kids'/mom's/dad's/orthodontist's pillow as a gentle reminder.

Or pin it to their chest if subtle isn't your style...

December Monthly Sale

The announcement of our Monthly Sale means that we get to post another horrifying picture of Zenia. 
Being Christmas and all and Mikey getting all weak and gooey, he apparently is feeling a bit charitable this month, and posts a somewhat ok pic or Zenia instead. Go here for the sale...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Employee of the Month Sad It's Already the 26th of the Month

Toronto, ON- Stan Devious, a housewears department shelf stocker and occassional cashier at Acme Glass, expressed sadness Wednesday over the rapidly approaching end to his reign as Employee of the Month. Fellow employees didn't have the heart to tell Mr. Devious his reign had actually ended four years ago.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

NASA Continues Coverup!

NASA administrators continue to strongly deny that there is a stained glass store on the moon. 
Recent pictures have been circulating on the internet and purport to show the reflection of a long chocolate brown coloured awning with the words 'Stained Glass' inscribed on it in the helmet visor of astronaut Buzz Aldrin (see censored photo here), lending weight to conspiracy theories which suggest that the U.S. space agency faked the 1969 moon landings in order to divert attention from the Vietnam War and the increasing price of Bullseye kilnshelf paper.
Sceptics have long claimed that photos of the alleged lunar landing which show shadows facing in the wrong direction, coupled with 
the awning reflection seen in Aldrin's visor, suggest that the event was faked by NASA and the reflection seen in Aldrin's visor proves it was staged in Toronto, Canada. 
Conspiracist Gary Beige has documented proof that Fantasy In Glass Glassworks, a stained glass emporium of some note, has been based in Toronto for several decades and yes, while out-of-this world, it has never been anywhere but Toronto, more specifically on The Queensway in the Swiss Cheesed GlassWerks Building in Toronto's west end. 
Mr. Beige claims that two employees who worked there disappeared shortly after in mysterious circumstances and that they have yet to be found.
Said Brownie, "The problem is that stained glass craftspeople are scared to talk about this - too many of their colleagues have been silenced over the years."
Canadian Space Agency sources scoffed and pointed to the timing of the story. "This is malice put about by opponents of the United States' plan for a Lunar Moonbase and a colony on Mars and the revival of lead came in stained glass".

Friday, 23 November 2012

I'm Really Not Making This Up...

... I'm not that clever.

One of the most popular higher end items we sell around Christmas time is the Taurus 3 Ringsaw.
Wanting to order a bunch in anticipation of a busy gift buying season, I  called our One and Only Canadian Stained Glass Supplier (the only legitimate source for these saws in all of Canada) to grab a bunch only to be told that they didn't bother to order any, and that it won't be until after the New Year before any might come in...
Bah, humbug...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Continuing With Tiffany

There used to be a time, years ago, when we heard the name Louis Comfort Tiffany spoken with reverence and awe in our store several times throughout the day.
You see, those were the 'sweet spot' times in our industry when art glass manufacturers were exploring, inventing and rediscovering all manner of interesting glasses such as Drapery, Ring Mottles, various iridescence, Fractures and Fracture/Streamers- of which many were the invention of Tiffany Studios back about a hundred years ago.
And we carried it all. Things sure have changed...
One thing that hasn't changed though, is the genius of Louis Tiffany, and the legacy of his work and its effect on our industry today. He deserves to be better known. Check here for a great resource.
Further to the genius of Tiffany, Mikey continues a sporadic posting of some of his works.

Sir Galahad, Cryder Memorial Window, Before 1910
Leaded glass, 45 x 27 1/4 inches. 
St. Andrew’s Dune Church, Southampton, New York

(Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion is on exhibition at Museum of Biblical Art (MoBiA) in New York from Oct. 12, 2012 to Jan. 20, 2013. The introduction and photo captions were provided by MoBiA.)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Boring Blog Post...

... to show you  couple of new Spectrum colours that just came in today. 
Staff pictures have been obscured to protect the reader...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Copper Foil Primer

Not All Foil Is Edible. Or equitable
We carry copper foil from three manufacturers;

 • Edco Foil is the line that we introduced to the Canadian market over 25 years ago (white package). It’s a dead soft foil with superior glue and shelf life. It’s the most expensive foil we sell, but it's also the best and therefore worth it. And it's so good...

 • Venture- in the red/purple crinkly bag. It’s copper is also crinkly, with a an oozy glue and shortest shelf life- not our favourite- actually, to be honest, we don't like it at all- even down to the crinkly bag which always rips and is then impossible to display.We carry it only because it’s a familiar brand. Priced a bit below Edco.

• DTI- the new guys and another first in Canada by us. It’s the best value out there today. Good glue, soft copper alloy and a clever package which doubles as a dispenser. Close in quality to Edco, yet cheaper than Venture making it the best buy on the market!

Of course all of these foils are available in many widths in copper, silver or black backed, but most importantly, they’re all 1.25mil thick. 
NB: because of supply issues, while we do carry all sizes and backing colours, we don't have all sizes/colours in all three lines.

Beware of new foil flooding the market that has been of suspect quality, and in the thinner 1mil thickness. We sell some as 'Really Crappy Foil, at such a low price, no one is allowed to complain...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Movember Store Tour

Mikey Claims He Invented Sliced Bread

TORONTO, ON- In a published interview in 'The FigLeafLet', president of Fantasy In Glass, Mikey Figgy claims that he invented the concept of sliced bread. "It's a little known fact that several years ago when I was toiling in the back room of FIG's stained glass studio working on the quintissential teddy bear night light, I succumbed to a compelling urge to do something different with my lunchtime break. Tired of having to open my mouth to the extreme to accomodate a full double rye loaf, I developed a mechanical device that slices an entire loaf of bread without polluting the atmosphere nor contributing to global warming. Though I'm a modest person I take full credit for this invention," said Mikey. 
A spokesperson for the National Bread Association scoffed at Mr. Figgy's assertion. "Frankly there were many people who made major contributions toward the development of sliced bread and Mr. Figgy, I assure you, is not one of them."
"This is another one of his half-baked ideas that he's gotten into his head," said Gary Auburn of the Stained Glass Store Owners Association.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Man Called Gus

While the glass business has been good to us, the real upside is the people you meet, and the lifelong friends you sometimes make. This is the story of one of those people.
This is the story of Gus.
Twenty five years ago, I watched as this hulking, stern looking, Mike Mazursky look-a-like mountain of a man came into our store. 

All weathered and gnarled, with a voice like he chewed gravel all day, he asked for an ashtray (yes, folks, it was that long ago- we all smoked and we did it wherever we felt like doing it). But I digress. He told me what he wanted, and with trembling hands I gave it to him. 
His accent was thick. I asked him where he came from. We chatted, but just a bit. He eventually warmed up, as did I. We shared a few stories. I learnt that his sense of humour and ability to tease was unsurpassed. 
I began to like him. I think maybe he tolerated me. I never caught his name as he left.
The next time he was in, I asked his name. 

He said I should call him whatever I felt like. So I did.
"Gus it is" and for twenty five years he was known to us as Gus.
I met his wife and his daughters. I saw them grow up as we all grew old. 

Gus and I both quit smoking. He, after losing half a lung. You see, he was so tough, he worked in a brickyard, with asbestos, smoked 2 packs a day, and quit at seventy. 
I extended him credit, always keeping a scrap note that simply said 'Gus' on it. I didn't know his address or phone number, I just knew Gus was good for it.
I didn't see Gus for a few months.
Then Gus' wife came in to the store.
I feared why. I was right.
I'm not ashamed to say that a tear welled up in my eye. And again now as I'm writing this. 

As it did to Pat and Zenia, because we all were there when Gus' wife looked at us with her tired eyes.
Gus' wife came to see if he had paid all his bills with me. She wanted to make sure his debts were all paid in this world.
It made us tear up again.
I'l miss Gus.
His name to everyone else?

Note- One Day Change of Opening

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Just In

More of the very exciting Spectrum Fuser's Reserve.
And remember, this stuff works just as well in your stained glass projects. The nice thing is that now we can bring them in in larger 24" x 24" pieces (all the better to hide the staff's faces with...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bullseye Rodz (Rods)

Thanks to the hard work of FLB (Flowering Lotus Blossom), and her sidekick Nicholas Picholas, our massive Bullseye Glass Lampworking Rodz (Rods) Sale is now underway. Rodz are bundled, labeled and stored according to the Dewey Decimal System. Link to the Sales Page here, and link to our new customized on-line order form here.

On a separate note, Mikey was obviously cracking the whip as FLB also polished up our Spectrum 6" x 6" glass (for fusing, or not) shipped anywhere in Canada for a lousy $5 On-Line Order Form, making ordering so much easier. Go here for that one...

Makes me wonder sometimes about the youth of today...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bullseye Rodz for Lampworking

... (and fusing).
Dropping Bullseye as a supplier means we have literally a ton of Bullseye Rodz we'd like to share with the lamp working/ torchwork/fusing community.
Pricing is below Bullseye Glass factory direct (now the only place you can actually get their full line if you live in Canada), with huge discounts and savings also on books and oxygen concentrators!!
Don't believe us? Check this out here-

All pricing is for 1/2 lb quantities
and go there... (if you don't see it, do a page refresh)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Why and What of Kerosene As A Cutter Lube

One of the things we get worked up about is all the misinformation about glass cutter lubricants. So much so that we feel compelled to rerun this blog entry;

It was a Canadian who 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 see 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 cutting glass 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 and nothing else as a cutter lube:

Glass is a strange material- it's not a solid, or a liquid, but a vitreous solution- something exhibiting traits of both and none of either- oh, never mind, just read FigHelper # 7 for an explanation, we must 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 of 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 of course!

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 tend to 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.

6) It is not sticky, and will not thicken in viscosity over time therefore it won't clog up the wetting wick in your cutter.

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 114- 120 degrees hone angle. The ubiquitous Toyo Supercutter's tungsten carbide wheel uses a wide (135 degree) 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.

Friday, 2 November 2012

New Glass Colours

Looks like Spectrum has their mojo back. After sitting back for too long, they are finally getting back up to speed and increasingly adding new colours (oops, with some help from Uroboros too!).

 In the past year we've seen Celadon (green/grey), Persimmon (orangy brown), a Deep Chocolate Brown, Lemongrass, Terra Cotta, Black Cherry and now two really nice Opal Greys. Charcoal Opal is a rich, bold dark Grey that works well with strong colours- #280-76SF. and Pewter Opal is a lighter, mid-level Grey that compliments many of the warmer, subtle shades- #280-72SF.

A reminder of some of the stuff added fairly recently, here's some of the expanding opal line-

Fusers Reserve- a seemingly unlimited variety of one-of-a-kind colour mixes-

One of the most unusual and stunning line of glass- the Aventurines (3 choices)(check out the series of Seuss themed fused plates Zenia and Mike are working on-

Reactives (just ask us to explain this cool effect) and Collage-

And a gentle reminder of some of their other glass-Opalarts-

and Spirits-

And while all of this glass is Sys96 Glass specially formulated for fusing, remember, it is glass and is also suitable for all your stained glass projects as well!

Funny, we don't miss Bullseye at all...