Hints & Tips
Old inner tubes from the garage work really well for clamping odd shaped woodworking projects. And most bike shops are tickled to have you take them off their hands. Who cares if they have leaks? They're free & recycled!!
Bricks wrapped in duct tape is a great idea for non-marring weights or supports or spacers or.....
Sheetrock screws bought in bulk make great cheap fasteners for creating workshop shelves and benches.
Recycle plastic jars (like peanut butter) for storing nails, screws & small parts. They keep dust and dirt out while allowing easy visibility.
Clear plastic shoe boxes make great places to store smaller glass pieces. If you stack them as you accumulate pieces you can easily see what is contained in the box (these are also available in some translucent colors which is fun for reds, blues, etc). We try to separate our glass by color & type.
Black electricians' tape is ideal for holding together three dimensional objects. Boxes and lamp panels are excellent examples. Can even be placed in scotch tape dispenser.
When soldering large three dimensional objects place them on a pile of bagged marbles. Some of us glass crafters have an ample supply of glass nuggets still in their net bags. These can be piled up & semi-formed to hold a 3-D project at just the right angle for soldering. A piece of old ironing board cover spread over them will help prevent dripping or splattering the solder (if you have none the material can be obtained from a fabric store).
Soda cans can be cut (carefully!) into square pieces (say 2" by 2") to make great tools for taking apart solder seams. Fold one edge over to make a safe place to hold it. Heat the joint with a soldering iron and gently force the thin aluminum edge between the two connected pieces. Solder does not stick to aluminum.
A standard soap dish next to your soldering station makes a nice receptacle for a damp sponge. It's much larger & more convenient than the small area & sponge furnished with most solder stations.
Pegboard. Use it wherever space allows. This is a great way to keep both tools and supplies organized and handy.
An inexpensive laminating unit can be handy for frequently used pattern pieces such as Christmas ornaments, or anything that you might make in quantities..
Stainless steel trivets or molds for firing in a kiln can be created cheaply by cutting (again, carefully!) from old toasters, deep fryers etc.
Obtaining free project wood is easy.
1) People ask me to cut up or down trees for them because they know I have a chainsaw.
2) After a storm I easily obtain wood just for removing it.
3) The power company trims trees for power lines....free wood for asking.
4) When neighbors remove trees, ask or trade for useful chunks.
5) Glue scraps together, it adds character to projects.
Plastic soda or salad dressing bottles filled with water and frozen take the mess out of putting ice in your ring or band saws and can be reused. Keep a couple of spares.
Tip: Sort everything....if you can't find it you can't use it.
We put a thin layer of cork on the bottom of straight edges used to cut glass. It keeps them from slipping.
Attach yardsticks to the edge of workbenches or saw fences or any place you measure things. Some hardware stores give these away to customers.
Use sunlight or full spectrum fluorescent lighting in your stain glass shop. Shows true colors of glass, reduces eyestrain, and gives your body necessary sunlight during the winter days. Color Rendering Index (CRI) for natural outdoor light is 100 cri, while standard fluorescents are 56 cri. Tubes are readily available at 90 cri.
We use brass cap screws when assembling our wood frames for stain glass. They allow the frames to be be taken apart should glass repair become necessary down the road (hopefully waaaay down the road...or preferably never, right?).
You can make your own felt pads for projects by sticking one side of two sided tape to regular felt. Paper punches come in all sizes & shapes nowadays, just have fun.
Use Beeswax or soap on screw threads to ease use.
Plastic 4" plumbing pipe is a great place to store came, & metal edging strips be they lead, zinc, brass, or wood.
Roll away tool cabinets are great for storing tools or parts since the wheels allow them to be portable benches or rolled under benches to get them out of the way yet still have drawers accessible.
We grind all edges of all glass we foil. Not heavily just enough to give a good surface for foil to stick and also prevents the glass from cutting the foil.
Turning projects into clocks offers a great opportunity to create with very little additional expense. This can be done with items as small as suncatchers.