Awards & Engraving

January '17

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A&E JANUARY 2017 • 51 Sandcarving of weight the glass pieces present. A work table with hundreds of blanks on it can easily weigh over a thousand pounds and had better not collapse. WHAT THEY BECOME Some glass blanks will get placed into a kiln to distort the original flat shape into a curved shape, such as crescents. It takes special glass fusing kilns to get this job accomplished. Along with the kilns, it also takes quite a bit of know-how to be able to bend the glass to an exact degree and in such a way that the heated glass does not pick up any kiln texture. One has to devise a special firing curve for the specific type of glass and for its thickness to be able to bend the glass without inducing stress into it. This process requires a proper annealing of the glass, which means cooling it off at a calculated rate. This process takes sev- eral hours during which the tempera- ture decrease has to be controlled. If the glass is cooled too rapidly, stress will be induced into it and it will shatter during the blasting process. For most of the larger made pieces of glass, such as shelves or tabletops, the above described process is pretty much the same, except that those pieces are a little harder to handle. Yes, the machinery helps a lot in moving such pieces, but greater care is needed in moving larger pieces around. When it comes to grinding and shaping the edges of glass, many of you do not know the amount of time that goes into this process. The grinding process is usually comprised of three different stages from roughing to fine grinding, which then in turn is fol- lowed by at least two polishing stages in order to achieve those brilliant-looking IMAGES COURTESY SLEE CORPORATION Larger cut glass pieces that will become sign blanks or small tabletops. A large tabletop made from the same glass panels that the awards are made from. These pieces tend to be heavy, considering that they are maybe 3 feet by 8 feet and 1/2- or 3/4-inch thick. IMAGES COURTESY SLEE CORPORATION Another specialty machine is rough cutting a round tabletop under a constant spray of water. Several finished round tabletops made from Starphire glass.

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