Custom hand-bevelled glass
Hand bevelled, leaded glass is a spectacular art glass tradition dating back more than a century. Thick, clear glass is hand ground at a steep angle and then polished to a brilliant, refractive finish. The Glass Studio in Toronto was one of only a few studios in all of Canada to offer this technique. Regrettably, most bevelled glass today is mass-produced using thin glass, in standard shapes and patterns called "bevel clusters". It's certainly cheap but it's a poor imitation of the best bevelled glass from a century ago. The difference is due to the glass thickness, hand-polishing techniques and design originality.
In 1982, The Glass Studio was fortunate to acquire a set of three antique Henry Lange bevelling machines. Made in Chicago in the early 1900's, Lange machinery was capable of producing the best quality bevelled glass. The Glass Studio's stone smoothing wheel was a vintage 'Newcastle' stone from England - an incredible wheel from a long-exhausted stone quarry - which gave The Glass Studio's bevels a brilliance different from those produced with modern diamond abrasive wheels. Thomas Smylie mastered the skill of hand-bevelling over his 42-year career as a glass artist and made almost all of The Glass Studio's bevelled glass pieces.
Hand-bevelled glass is produced in five stages - blank cutting, steel grinding, stone smoothing, cork polishing and then felt buffing. The Glass Studio used 8mm glass for its custom bevelling - twice the thickness of commercial bevel 'clusters'. A typical hand made bevel requires anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to make, depending on shape and difficulty. The studio's bevels were always finished with optical grade cerium oxide for incredible brilliance and sparkle.
Some of the studio's very best hand-bevelled work was on display at the studio's showroom - called 'The Showroom Collection' - now available for sale on this website!