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How Three Local Artisans Craft Beautiful Stained Glass

The Power Brothers—Chris, Tony and John—have been creating stained glass masterpieces for more than 40 years in their Scottsdale studio. Here are the implements they use for their craft.

By John Roark | Photography by Rob Ballard

1. In a technique pioneered in the 1800s by Louis Comfort Tiffany, each piece of glass, in addition to the wooden frames, is edged in adhesive copper foil to enable solder to affix. 

2. After glass components have been edged in copper, solder comprised of 50% lead and 50% tin joins everything together. 

3. Ranging in power from 150 to 300 watts, the soldering iron melts the solder, which adheres to the copper taping. The size of the iron used varies depending on the area to be covered. 

4. A glass cutter scores the surface of a sheet of glass to create individual shapes. An oil pan contains a reservoir of WD-40, which is applied to the cutter to lubricate the score for a clean cut. Grozing pliers come in handy for grinding edges and pieces that are too small to cut.

5. Concentrated glass paints, used for detail work such as faces and clothing, are applied by hand or airbrush to multiple layers of glass that are then fused together in a kiln. 

6. Before soldering, the entire foiled window is assembled and secured in place with horseshoe nails to ensure everything is straight and square. 

For more information, see Sources.

This completed window, measuring 43"H by 35"W, is one of 50 that the Power Brothers created for Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish Center in Cave Creek.
Chris Powers creates a pencil drawing that serves as a blueprint for the finished window. “Everyone tells me it would be easier to do this on a computer, but I have enough trouble with my iPhone,” he quips.


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