Finishing Steps (and getting in my own way)

Alien Encounter is done!  The last steps I needed to complete, Sunday, were to add the frame and hanging materials.  I wanted to finish this one so I can bring it in to work this week, along with three other pieces, for hanging in our employee art show.  Now, I didn't HAVE to finish it today, there will be another show in a few months.  But I was so close so I wanted to get it done.

I almost got in my own way of finishing it though - I didn't have quite enough of the zinc came to frame it, so I stopped by the supply store I like earlier in the week to buy another piece.  Yesterday, I was happily framing along, and had 3 of the 4 sides cut from the zinc I had on hand when I had to move to the new piece.  Turns out though that I accidentally bought the wrong size!  (3/8" instead of 1/4")  My first reaction was disappointment that I wouldn't get the project done since it would involve another trip to the store - which is closed on Sundays and Mondays.  But then I realized that I could just start over with the larger piece and make all 4 sides again from the wider material.  I had re-doing things, and I don't like wasting materials, but it was the only thing standing in my way of getting this piece completed, so I went with it.

Another part of my mental block with starting over was that it felt like it took SO LONG to cut the first three sides.  But I had a feeling the saw blade might be getting dull, so I went ahead and changed it before I started up again.  Wow, what a difference!  I hadn't realized it but the old blade was pretty dull - and the new blade went through the zinc like butter!  I was cackling away while I zipped through that came and got the new frame cut and taped into place.

So that's my story, but here are the details of the actual framing steps:


First, I cut the zinc came on a 45 degree angle and taped it into place with masking tape.  


Next, in each corner, I used masking tape to block off the square where I would solder the zinc pieces together - this keeps the solder contained to that square area and it looks neater.


Then I fluxed and soldered each corner, and each place where a solder joint met the frame.  One area I'd like to improve on is to be a neater solder-er, it's hard to get it flowing just right!  To get the square nice and flat, I held the soldering iron nearly horizontally to flatten it out.


Repeat on each corner, and, ta-da, she is complete!  I just added two steel rings on either side of the frame for the hanging wire, and it is all done.  I'm including two pictures, because I had a really hard time getting a good photo of this one.  The one to the right is on my light box, and the one below is without the back-lighting, but neither really show the true colors.  Add improving at photography to my list of goals for this site!


Does anyone have any tips for getting good photos of stained glass work?  If so, please share in the comments!