When we talk about what we do, people are often confused about "Glass Treatment". Below is a brief explanantion of the processes we
use. Our specialty is etched and glue chipped glass.
There are other
methods of etching glass, such as etching creams, but we feel the sandblast method gives a richer deeper texture. Creams will only
etch the surface and turn it white. While sandblasting will add texture to the surface. Different textures can be achieved by varying
the grit size of the sand. Depth can also be achieved to produce different layers, as in "Bas Relief" work or a 3D effect.
On a mirror we typically blast the back side removing the paint and the silver. The reason we do this is to avoid the reflection.
Blasting on the front will leave a gap between the etched surface and the reflective (silver) surface. So if you look at the etch
off-center, you will see the etch and its reflection, and detail will be lost due to the blending of the two.
We start the process with artwork generation. We can custom design artwork or work with artwork from other sources. We then use a
computer controlled cutter to generate our masks. Using the cutter allows to get extremely accurate with our masks and allows multiple
masks to be generated for exact duplicates with fine detail. This mask is then applied to the glass or mirror.
Next we take our glass to the blasting booth and fire up the compressor and spray sand through our sandblast gun. Once we have sprayed
all the open areas in our mask, the process is complete.
People who do stained
glass are very familiar with glue chipped glass as it is used extensively in stained glass. It is bought in sheets and cut to size.
We carry this process further in that we actually chip the glass ourselves and we contain the chipping to where we desire to produce
beautiful combinations of chipped, etched, and clear glass.
We start witrh the etching process detailed
above, but with the added step of coating the glass with "Asphaltum" or "glue resist" prior to masking. Once the etching is complete,
we mix up an animal hide glue and coat the etched areas we want to glue chip.
With the right combination
warm dry heat and low humidity, the glue will dry. As it dries, it will shrink excessively. As it does so, it will crack and curl
up. However, the adhesion to the glass is so good that when it curls up, it will pull up a glass chip.