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What to Watch Out for When Sandcarving Mirrors

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. Ruth holds a Master's Degree in Printmaking and Art History and has been a partner in a stained and fused glass wholesale supply company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program. For the past 20 years, she collaborated with her husband Norm Dobbins in commission work, writing books and creating videotapes on how-to techniques for glass etching. Ruth taught these techniques for 30 years in the U.S. and other countries. Ruth continues these venues by offering a complete training program at Aliento School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and by teaching at various trade shows, including The Awards & Engraving Show. One-on-one training and consulting services are also offered. You can reach Ruth by email at ruth@etchmaster.com, by phone at 505-473-9203 and by fax at 505-473-9218. Check out the website at http://www.etchmaster.com

It all depends on which side of the mirror you want to sandcarve. If you sandcarve on the front of the mirror, then scratching is the main thing to watch out for. If you plan to sandcarve through the back of the mirror, then you want to make sure not to use any glass cleaning products that contain Ammonium, especially after you completed sandcarving. The Ammonium can cause a chemical reaction with the silvering of the mirror (now slightly exposed where you sandcarved through the backing), which causes black spots to “grow” from the exposed edges.

—Ruth Dobbins, Professional Glass Consultant