Finishing my grandfather's work: stained glass menorah
November 3, 2022 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Finishing my grandfather's work: stained glass menorah
A few years ago my parents gave me my Grandpa Milt's old stained glass stuff, including a large unfinished menorah piece. I've spent the last two weeks finally tackling the logistically and emotionally complicated job of repairing and elaborating on his piece to create a finished work. This is a summary with photos of that process. I also created an exhaustive step-by-step process thread on the fly as I worked through the whole thing.
Role: artist, blogger, grandson
posted by cortex (8 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by bondcliff on November 3, 2022: artist, blogger, grandson

I've been following this on Twitter and man, it's great. Very cool process documentation and a gorgeous outcome.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2022

The finished piece looks amazing! How wonderful that you were able to finish your Grandpa's work!
posted by amf at 10:33 AM on November 3, 2022

"This piece is the best bridge I have for the moment to that missed-out-on past. It's mine; it's his; it's something that in the end that feels more like a shared entity than a wholly personally-created piece of art." I have also been following this process on Twitter. Thank you, cortex. it's lovely, and the idea of it as a bridge, well, that's lovely too. Good, meaningful work!
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:41 AM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've been watching on Twitter. I enjoyed this all the way through. I'll re-say what I said on Twitter, I think the diagonal is a wonderful, lovely, touching tribute. Kudos.

And... you've not helping me decide if I want to learn stained-glass making as away to decorate some front-door sidelights. :)
posted by tayknight at 12:10 PM on November 3, 2022

This is very good, both the write-up and the finished piece.
posted by bondcliff at 2:10 PM on November 3, 2022

I've been glad to see this unfold - and the finished product is gorgeous!
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:48 PM on November 3, 2022

There's a partially finished piece of my late Dad's stained glass, so this is very relevant to my interests. I need to see how much of the original is left (the original design drawing was kicking around for decades and I think has been lost.) His stumbling block was that he needed to make some curves which were supposedly impossible to do cleanly with a traditional manual glass cutter, he had some scheme to accomplish them with a (belt sander? Bench grinder? )I was just a kid at the time. He borrowed the power tool he needed but it required a 220V outlet, there were none in the area of the house he was using as a workshop, eventually the lender of the tool got impatient and took it back.
You've inspired me to plan to drag it out and look it over the next time I'm near where it's stored to see if it can be salvaged, used as a base for something new or repurposed.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 7:01 PM on November 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

There were definitely some impossible-when-taken-literally corners in Milt's design, yeah. I got good enough mileage out of a skinny grinder bit and just accepting that literal sharp corners weren't gonna happen; you could probably do the same with a little adaptation, and avoid having to lay out for anything fancier than a grinder bit. (Or maybe like a dremel and bit if you don't have an actual grinder?)

The one potentially really helpful new tool that's also within the realm of financial possibility if I ever decide to invest the money it is a ring saw; they go for about $600 I think and are basically a built-to-purpose sort of bandsaw with a water reservoir like a grinder, and you can cut arbitrary curves into glass without having to involve glass cutters/pliers. Probably not a total panacea for particularly dicey shapes but it'd simply some types of cutting hugely and make approximating inside corners probably a lot faster and more consistent than any method I currently have.

(There's also I guess a new consumer waterjet on the market that's "only" $10K, which, uh. Yeah.)
posted by cortex at 11:00 PM on November 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

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