Monday 7 July 2014

Going medieval...

...although not in a good way.

Before we went away for the weekend, I decided to glaze the windows of the Coffeepot.  Normally, when I am faced with windows in a locomotive cab, I leave them unglazed.  Yes, they can look empty, but from normal viewing distance that isn't really noticable, and I'd rather have that than do something cack-handed that looks obviously wrong.

However for this model I decided to try something different, so I remembered that a while ago I had invested in one of those pots of "glazing solutions".  You know, the ones that you spread around the windows using a cocktail stick and them leave to dry.

Well, I did that, popped the model safely under a dust cover, and left it to dry.  The finish had been quite lumpy immediately on application, and I had hoped that it would smooth down and settle into a glass-like finish.  Well, it had, but not quite as I expected:

The glazing had smoothed, and set, but it was left with many small bubbles in it.  In fact, it looked like the sort of handmade glass that is often found in historic buildings, with the slight imperfections from the blowing technique before industrial production began.

However I don't think that Stratford at the end of the 19th century would have been using glass such as this.  

Fortunately, with a gentle prod with the tweezers, I was able to extract all four solidly set discs from the apertures.  They came out with no damage to the paintwork, which was nice as well.

The dilemma for me now is whether I have another try, knowing what to look out for and possibly pricking the bubbles out with a scalpel blade.  The alternative (which I'm currently favouring) is to just leave it and not risk an accident with the paintwork.

I'm tending to favour the second option at the moment...



  1. From previous experience I'd say you were really unlucky. I've glazed quite a few windows using Kristal Klear and in all that time I think I've had just one bubble.

  2. Must say, I think there's a knack to using the stuff which I don't seem to have and I get similar results to yours this time. In my case, I guess it's down to my lack of patience. Someone told me to lightly tap the workpiece to remove the bubbles, although a pin does work.
    I loved your opening lines, you had me caught with that sentence :-)

  3. Hi Iain,

    Well, my wife and I spend quite a lot of time exploring old buildings, and the glass effect was something that even late medieval/early Tudor glass makers would be ashamed of... Looking at the pot again last night, I think that there is no real hope for a revival. I can't work out from the smell what the solvent is to let it down, and I can't think of an alternative use for it (not modelling any babbling brooks in the near future...) so it's probably going in the bin!

  4. Hi Mark,

    I simply think that I let this stuff become too old and too thick, so that the bubbles were trapped and it was too thick to release them. I may try the pin trick if I ever use a new pot of this stuff again.

  5. If it's gone thick that does probably explain it. Mine is quite runny. In fact I have a problem when glazing slightly larger windows in making sure it doesn't run before it has set, or doesn't sag in the middle depending on the orientation I leave it to dry in. I usually end up having to turn the thing around a lot while it starts to dry to be able to get a good result.

  6. Yes, thick, bordering on gloopy... I tried to resolve the sagging/running thing by propping the model "end-up" whilst it dried overnight. It certainly dried flat, but not clear.