Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Windows and walls

It's been a comedy of errors this week. I managed to sweet talk a friend, who has a friend who knows someone at The National Glass Centre who can cut glass. I provided a template, told my friend that there was a 3mm tolerance on the inside of the template - meaning that the glass could be smaller than the template by 3mm because the window frame would hide it. Somewhere along the line the message got scrambled and the last person to hear the instruction heard it should be 3mm bigger. NOOOOOOoooooooooo. 
It didn't fit - obviously. Second time around, loaded with bribery biscuits and sweets, I met the friend twice removed and got the glass cut. Basically the glass artist used the very same technique as I've seen online but is infinitely more experienced than I am.

I did try it and ended up breaking it twice. I think what I've learned from the experience is you need to:
A) Put a towel underneath to cushion the glass
B) You need to put quite a bit of pressure on the cutter to get a score line in the glass. More pressure than you would use writing with a pen but less than using a chisel. You hear it making a scraping noise when it's breaking the surface of the glass.
C) Dremel diamond bits are great for grinding small areas but wear safety goggles since teeny shards of glass sometimes come at you like missiles.
I also found out that this thin glass (1.8mm), or 'floating' glass is the sort that is readily available in picture frames. I thought I would have to find a specialist supplier but it turns out that IKEA has a mountain of the stuff in their photo frames and art department

Now onto the stairs. I'm blaming Betsy and Anna-Maria for putting this idea into my head. I'm not confident making things that I haven't seen or taken a measurement from. I couldn't install floating stairs into the main walls because that would involve some sort of support like routing out a rectangle for them to sit in or pinning them from the back. Instead I made free standing, floating stairs that actually work as the support for the mezzanine floor above.

I started with a 10 inch strip of MDF, cut it in half and drew pencil lines at 15mm intervals. I Googled to find the maximum pitch for domestic stairs is 42°. Using a protractor and ruler, I drew a line from one corner at 42°. You'll note my boo-boo on the second piece of wood. I needed to make a 3 x 3" platform half way up so the second flight starts 3" in, not from the edge. It took a while to get my head around it. Once I knew where the stairs started and finshed, I cut the MDF widthways to suit.
I decided to use strips of Walnut to not only add texture to the wall and give it a modern spin, but also to help anchor the steps in place

This is the start using 5, 10 and 15mm strips inbetween the steps.

 A close up of the steps sitting inbetween the wood strips

The almost finshed staircase. The supporting rods are carbon fibre from a local model plane shop. They're not glued in place yet since I have to work out where they will meet the floor above.
I love the natural pattern and tone of walnut. Maybe a large, modern chandelier hanging above will add drama to the space.

Have a wonderful weekend

Pepper =0)