MISSION & CRAFTSMAN LIGHTING HANDMADE IN THE USA
Introduction to Mission Style Lighting
Handcrafting beautiful Mission Lighting takes time, patience and years of experience. Our light fixtures feature a combination of beautiful wood and stain glass together for an appealing and elegant design. When combined these two raw materials have a beautiful synergy effect and create a unique style of lighting.
Carefully selected glass and wood is part of the artistry of our lighting. For starters, not all woods are alike, and stain glass has hundreds of variations in quality, color and texture.
The information below will provide details about our construction technique and material selection for our Arts and Crafts, Mission, and Craftsman Lighting Collections. We have outlined four specific segments of the construction process for your clarity and understanding.
Here is a summery of what we are covering in this post
1. Material Selection
2. Staining Process
3. Stained Glass Process
4. Wood Construction
Material Selection - Wood and Stained Glass
Wood Selection – Oak
We put a lot of time into choosing superior wood for our products, giving us our Craftsman Style lighting design.
We’ve selected oak for the beauty and popularity in old and new American homes. Also, oak is an excellent match for Craftsman and Mission style designs.
Wood Selection - Cherry Wood
The other wood option we offer is Cherry Wood. We only offer one finish on Cherry and that is a clear natural oil finish which does not color the wood, an application of four coats with 12 hours to dry between coats does the job. One thing to keep in mind about Cherry Wood is it will patina overtime, so in one year it will turn two or three shades darker
Stained Glass Selection - Hand-Rolled Glass
Stain glass comes in a variety of textures, different thicknesses, and transparencies. All of our Mission Style lighting fixtures use a hand-rolled stain glass called Wissmach.
Because each piece of Wissmach glass is specially hand-rolled, each sheet will be unique. Our favorite characteristic about Wissmach glass is that it has the perfect transparency, enough for light to pass through but still has a hand melted swirly design.
Staining Process – Mission Craftsman Style
In the early 1990s, we built a furniture line in the Mission Style. We were able to develop a unique staining process that brings out the best grain color definition in the wood.
Read on below to find out more.
Step 1: Sanding the Surface Thoroughly
First, sand the wood with 80 grit sandpaper. Then, wet the board with a damp cloth and let it dry for 30 minutes. Next, sand the board with 100 Grit sandpaper. After, wet the board again with a damp cloth and let it dry for 30 minutes. The final sanding should be with 180 grit sandpaper.
The board is now ready to stain.
Step 2: Applying the Water Stain
To create the tone and color we’re looking for, we mix various water stain colors. We have a unique way of applying the water stain, by wiping it on and off before the water stain dries. See the video below.
Unfortunately, water stain tends to run and drip. You can avoid messes by thoroughly wiping the wood all around.
The water stain should dry for 12 to 24 hours before going to the next step, which is applying the oil stain.
Step 3: Applying the Oil Stain
When we apply the oil stain, we wipe it on and off quickly. Do not allow the oil stain to sit too long on the wood, because the water stain has already discolored the piece lightly. After, let the oil stain dry for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 4: Applying the Finishing Coat
We apply a final coat with a Gel Top Coat Sealer from General Finishes.
With a cloth, wipe a thin layer on and off. Then let it dry for 12 to 24 hours.
Repeat two more times for a total of 3 finished coats.
1. Sand with 80 grit sandpaper, wet with a damp cloth and let it dry.
2. Sand with 100 grit sandpaper, wet with a damp cloth and let it dry.
3. Sand with 180 grit sandpaper.
4. Wipe water stain on and off quickly; allow it to dry 12+ hours
5. Wipe oil stain on and off; allow it to dry 12+ hours.
6. Apply finish coat; wipe on and off, and let it dry for 12-24 hours.
7. Apply 2nd finish coat; wipe on and off, and let it dry for 12-24 hours.
8. Apply 3rd finish coat; wipe on and off, and let it dry for 12-24 hours.
Stained Glass Process – Mission Style
There are two processes for making stained glass: copper foiling and lead caming.
Historically, lead came was the first technique developed, going back to the 1800's. It uses long pieces of metal(lead came), soldered together at the joints. The lead came holds together the stained glass, creating a uniform look.
Then in the late 19th century, copper foiling became popular. Louis Tiffany, known for Tiffany lamps, started this technique. Copper foil is excellent for small shapes, 3D projects.
For our Mission-style Craftsman lighting, we’ve chosen the copper foil method, as we believe it gives a more handcrafted, artistic look.
We’ve summarized our stained glass foiling process in three steps down below.
The process of glass cutting is easy, just score with a glass cutter and snap the glass(see video below). The difficult part is cutting with great accuracy. Many of our mission light fixtures have 20-80 pieces in total, the glass must be cut with great accuracy to align the pieces. To build the glass shade perfectly you will need to cut the glass with a tolerance of 1/16 of an inch.
Copper foil comes in thin rolls, with one side sticky and the other side containing the copper foil.
To apply copper foil to the edge of stained glass, we use a foiling machine (see video below).
Next, we will apply the solder. What’s great about this process is that the melted metal sticks to the copper foil, and not the stained glass.
Soldering - Building the Stain Glass Shade
Soldering is what joins the glass pieces together to make a complete shade. The process involves melting metal at 400 degrees on to the copper foil. The melted metal will avoid the glass and stick to the foil.
The art of soldering takes many hours to master as It's easy to have too much or too little solder and it takes time to learn just the correct flow necessary for the piece you're working on. After soldering we clean the metal and glass with a damp rag and apply a black patina with a clean brush to make the metal black
The goal here is to have a very tight and strong joints that will last a long time. For this part of the process we use the old fashion technique of wooden dowels. The wooden dowel method of wood joinery has been around for 70+ years and has proven to be very durable and long-lasting.
In our 20 years of business, we have prided ourselves with building authentic Craftsman and Mission Style light fixtures to match your home. The foundation of our products is a result of our carefully selected hand-rolled glass and specially selected wood.
Our unique staining process creates definition and beauty in the wood grain while keeping a vintage charm. The copper foiling method for our stained glass technique is reminiscent of the early 1900s, contributing an antique feel to our lights.
In every product we handcraft, our goal is to satisfy the customer while displaying our craftsmanship. You will see the details, hard work, and experience it takes to create these elegant designs.
We hope you have gained enough insight into our unique assembly process to understand how we create our handmade in the USA light fixtures. There are various styles and colors to choose from, as we know, customizing is the best way to match your home.
You won’t regret your investment in a Mission Style lighting product or any of our handcrafted products. Explore your options today!