I’ve been doing stained glass for 8 years now. When I first started, I had just the bare minimum in tools. But as in every craft, there are specialty tools and tons of gadgets. I must admit that I am a bit of a sucker for a good gadget. Unfortunately, all too often these gadgets are a disappointment.
One of the items I noticed early on was the Morton Portable Glass Shop. The first time I went to the Vegas Glass Expo the guy demonstrating it was aghast that I didn’t have one. What was I cutting glass on? I was using velvet mat board. And most of the time, I still do. The velvet mat board was left over from my father’s frame shop days. It is a soft surface, the glass doesn’t slide on it, and I’ve got it in several different colors depending on the color of glass I am cutting.
I have mentioned before that my studio is not heated. One winter I had a custom order for some three-dimensional angels that were going to be Christmas gifts. It was so cold in my studio that I decided to move my glass cutting session into the laundry room. I bought the Morton work surface to use specifically for working in the house. The nice thing about this work surface is that the little glass chips that normally fly all over the work table fall into the little grid. It really helped to contain the glass shards.
One of the selling points of the Morton Glass shop is the ease of making repetitive shapes. In my stained glass work I don’t do a lot of geometric repeating designs. The only thing that I did repetitively was borders. For this I used the Scoreboard to cut strips. It was simple to use and less expensive.
Since I started doing fused glass, however, I can really see the value of the Morton Glass Shop. When I make pendants, for example, I often cut multiples of the same size rectangles. I bought the glass shop with the fence extension. The glass stops that come with the system make it easy to set it up for the different sizes. I set one stop for one dimension. Then further up on the work surface I set up the fence extension with another stop for the second dimension. With the two dimensions set I can easily and quickly cut out my rectangles. The bottom line is I highly recommend this system. Who knows maybe someday I’ll even do a geometric stained glass panel.