Sunday, August 7, 2011

Light Tables: Why You Need A Light Table

Beginners often question why you need a light table for stained glass suncatcher construction.

The answer is that you don't REALLY need a light table, but having one facilitates the cutting process to a great degree.

Light tables or light boxes as they are sometimes called are great additions to any stained glass workshop.

They are an invaluable aid to cutting opalescent and dark colored glass that you can't see through to cut in the conventional manner.

Light tables are also a great aid when laying out your stained glass suncatcher projects.

When you can actually see the light coming through the back of the glass project that you are constructing, it makes it much easier to accurately position and esthetically arrange the different types, textures and colors of glass in your pattern.

Light tables are normally constructed of wood, frosted glass and some sort of fluorescent or incandescent lighting fixture.

If you plan to be cutting stained glass directly on your light box; make sure you use either frosted acrylic, or at least `1/4" thick plate glass for the surface. This is needed to withstand the pressure that is exerted when making a cut.

You can use clear plate glass for the surface and "frost" it using Krylon's frosted glass finish spray, applying a window frosting film, having it sandblasted, or paying a little extra to get the real thing.

For reflective purposes, the insides of the box should be either lined with thin gauge metal, metal foil, or just painted white to provide the most light possible from the fixture you are using.

Almost all the supplies you need can be purchased at Lowes, Home Depot or any other retailer for under $50.00 if you are a DIY enthusiast.

This YouTube video is a little lengthy but shows one type of light table construction that will give you an idea on how to proceed.

The dimensions, light fixtures and type of surface you use are all variables that you can adapt to your stained glass workshop.

Light tables like any other tool make the job of constructing stained glass suncatchers easier.

This is precisely why you need a light table in your workshop.

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