Taurus Ring Saw Review

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After cutting glass by hand using the score and snap method for 6 years, I finally purchased a Taurus 3 Diamond Ring Saw.  I absolutely love it!  Obviously, it is now much faster to complete projects, but I also love that I can cut more complex shapes than ever before.

 
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The saw came with a very entertaining get-started video, and it has many features I haven't tried yet.  I've only used it in the standard configuration to cut single sheets of glass and haven't tried it as a hand saw or purchased any of the special blades yet.  To the left is my very first cut, made from one of the sample patterns at the back of the instruction book.

I'm really loving it as I am getting into fusing now, I must have cut out 3 or 4 dozen pendant shapes in short order over the past two weeks.  It's especially great for cutting circles - it would have taken me forever to score/snap all those circles but it was a breeze cutting them out w/my new saw.

It is very wet to work with, and the glass definitely takes a bath. I'm used to marking where to cut with either a Sharpie or by glue-sticking the pattern to the glass, but both of those can come off while cutting if you're not quick and careful.  I've found that if I let the Sharpie ink dry for ~60 seconds it's more likely to stay on long enough for me to get my piece cut, but not always.

You can also use the saw as a grinder to grind away the rough edges, but I'm not doing that.  The blades are expensive, so to save mine I'm still using my normal grinder after I get the rough outline cut w/the saw.  And I do still score/snap for straight lines and simple cuts.  

New Resources Page and Recent Projects

Hi, I know I've been offline for a little while, but I'm back with a couple of updates to the site!  

Resources Page - Essential Supplies for Stained Glass Artists

Check out my new Resources page!!  I made a list of most of the tools and supplies I use with each stained glass project.  I probably have a few more things to add here, but I hit all the major items.  I'll keep it up-to-date, and all the links on that page are to items I use frequently and with which I have personal experience.  

I'll also try to note which tools are ones I consider essential vs nice-to-haves.  I certainly don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed by the amount of Stuff needed to get started, since stained glass already requires more tools than for many other hobbies.   

There are a bunch of tools on my "wish list" that I don't really NEED (or really have the space for either):  a circle cutter, glass saw, an engraving setup, I'd like to try etching or sandblasting... on and on and on!   But the reality is that you can have a pretty good initial setup in place for about $250-300.  Also keep your eye out on Craigslist; I've seen an occasional ad for the whole setup from a person who is getting out of the hobby and selling everything.

Recent Stained Glass Projects

I'm also adding three new photos of finished projects to my Gallery page, one is the colorful geometric piece I finished a few weeks ago, and the other two were commissions for friends.  Next up, I'll be working on another request from a friend; that one is still in design stages and I'm hoping to start on it in the next few days.

This one is hanging up at work right now, along with my small Lemonade panel.  The photo doesn't quite capture the colors, and there are 5 or 6 different textures of clear glass used for the background.  This was a lot of fun to make, and I got to use up some smaller scrap pieces too.

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This small panel is for a ballerina of course, and I'll need to do a whole post on this one sometime.  I wanted to use the perfect pink for the slippers, but couldn't find just the right shade in the stained glass section.  I ended up choosing a sheet of Bullseye Fusible COE 90 glass since it was a solid color and the shade I wanted.  I'd been warned that it is harder to work with, and that was no lie.  I'll tell the whole story another time, but it ends happy, and I love how the piece came out.

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This was also done for a friend.  She requested a cabin in the woods, with mountains and a purple-blue sky.  I of course hit up Google Image search for pix of cabins that I could turn into a pattern, and this is the finished product.  I really love when people request specific designs since it gives me a chance to create something I wouldn't have thought of on my own!  Again the colors don't look quite right, I'm much happier with them in person.   

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So one theme here is that I need to find a better method of taking pictures of my work.  Currently, I am using a lightbox and a point-and-shoot camera - I think my problems come from the LED light in the lightbox - some glass is more opaque than others, so that comes out extra dark on the box, and also the solder lines just look black with the backlighting.

We went to a photo salon at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago, so I had a chance to ask some professionals for advice.  One suggestion I need to try is to hang a white sheet outside and then hang the piece in front of that.  I just need to figure out the logistics of this and then find a nice sunny day to practice.

If you have any other ideas for great photos, please let me know in the comments!