The Dale Maley Family Web Site

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Falling Leaves stained glass panel

The Fall 2017 Glass Patterns Quarterly magazine has a neat pattern for a stained glass panel called Falling Leaves.......

You can buy this pattern here.


I entered the pattern in Google Sketchup...........and printed out 1 paper copy to put on the board, and 1 copy to cut out the pieces of glass. Here I almost have the red done.........

Glass Selection

I checked my inventory at home, and the only thing I had was the clear glass with bubbles in it...........which I will use on this project.


I then went to my instructor's studio, Touch of Glass in Normal, Illinois........but was dismayed to find it closed, vacant, and a sign posted saying he retired after 43 years.  I wish him, Terry Garbe, good luck in retirement!!


My only other choice for glass supplies locally is Hobby Lobby in Normal.  I was able to find enough glass colors, that I could do this project.  Their selection is not that big.

Copper Foil Selection

1/4" wide copper foil is kind of standard size.  I like 7/32", which is a little narrower, and I used it on this project.  For the clear glass, I like the black-backed foil, and I used the 1/4" size on this project.  Since I am about out of 7/32" foil, I ordered a roll of standard and black backed in that size to restock my inventory.

Making the Middle Brown section from one leaf

For the middle brown leaf section, I decided to try a different approach to cutting the glass. My traditional approach would be to cut each piece one at a time.

I decided to try cutting out the whole leaf first, then cut out the sections of the leaf. this method worked ok and probably saved some time. This was a difficult big piece to cut due to the many quarter inch diameter curves.

Closing Thoughts on this Project

If I had this project to do over again, I would first review the design, then try to eliminate most or all of the 1/4" diameter cuts required. You have to change out the grinder bit from the standard 1" grinder to the smaller 1/4" one every time you do one, but it is very time consuming to grind with the smaller diameter cutter. In the magazine article, the photo of the finished panel does not match her design, so she must have made some changes from the original pattern as well.

Copper Foiling Completed

Solder Iron Holder

On a previous project, I was using a the wire frame holder from my electric woodburning unit...........to rest my soldering iron on.  I forgot how hot the wire frame was, and got burned when I picked it up to move it.  So, in stained glass class, we used the bottom of ceramic pots to rest the hot soldering iron in.  I got one of those, and it worked just great on this project!!

Soldering and Patina Application Completed

Oak Frame

I have built a couple of oak frames for my stained glass projects. For this project, I want to use a framing design similar to the web site Northern Hardwood Frames.


This method screws and permanently glues the bottom 2 joints on the frame. The top two joints are screwed from the sides, but are not glued, and are designed so you can insert, and later remove the stained glass panel if you want to. She uses brass hooks screwed to each side of the frame, to attach the chain to and hang the panel. I went ahead and bought the brass hooks and chain from her web site.



She sells the wood framing material in widths of 1", 1-3/8", or 2". The larger your stained glass, the larger the width you should use.

It is $3.15 per foot for the 1 inch frame stock. My project would take a 6 ft piece, which would be $21 plus shipping.

Making my own frame stock

Her price for the oak framing stock is reasonable to me.  But, being a woodworker, I want to give it a try making my own frame.

I like her design where both grooves are rounded over. I put this design into Google Sketchup, to figure out what router bit(s) to use to make some.

To make this frame in 1-pass on the router would required making a custom router bit.  I searched the Internet and could not find this type of bit available for purchase.  If I made a lot of it and sold it, then I could justify paying the set-up charge to make a custom bit.

Another option is to make this frame design in 3 passes on the router.  

1. Put in inside grooves

2. Put in outside grooves

3. Use a straight bit to make the groove deeper


I have a selection of straight router bits in my inventory. I went to MLCS and found they sell a bit that will work for radiusing the groove edges.

I made up a spreadsheet to correlate the MLCS router bit PN's to the frame groove thickness........



I use 2 different type of channels for the outside of the stained glass panel. One is 3/16" wide, and the other is 1/4" wide.  I did not have enough stock left to use the 3/16" channel on this project, so I used the 1/4" wide channel.

To give the frame a little clearance, I probably need to make the frame channel 5/16" for the 1/4" wide channel.


MLCS does not offer the 7/32" diameter circle which yields the 5/16" wide groove. They offer a bit which gives a 1/4" wide groove, and a bit that gives a 3/8" wide groove.  I have the bit in inventory that produces the 3/8" wide groove, and will try it out.  I ordered a couple more MLCS bits a couple days ago.........

Trying Out my In-Stock edge forming bit plus a 5/16" straight bit

I tried this out on a piece of common pine.  First I used the MLCS #5530 edge forming bit.......


Next I did several passes until I achieved a 3/8" depth, using a 5/16" diameter straight carbide bit.  As predicted, it left a small shoulder on each side.  The test piece did fit nicely on my stained glass frame which has 1/4" wide border stock.

So I then asked myself the question, "Can I vary the thickness of the frame piece, and achieve a 5/16" wide groove with no shoulder on it?"  

I constructed an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the thickness I will need...........


So, If I just plane down a piece of standard 3/4" thick stock to 11/16", I can use the MLCS edge bit I have in stock.........and achieve the 5/16" wide groove I want!!!!!!

I went ahead and did a test piece of red oak. First I planed it down to 11/16 from 3/4" thickness. Then I put on the edges using the MLCS bit in 2 passes on the router table.

Last, I made about 4 passes on the router table using the 5/16" straight bit, until I achieved the desired depth of 3/8".   Here is the result on the stained glass frame......


This worked great!!

I did have an issue keeping the 1-3/8" wide board upright and against the router table fence all the time.  If you slip away from the fence, you get an ugly mark in your groove.  I suspect my 5/16" straight bit is dull also.  It was my father-in-law's, and he passed away in 2004.........and I don't know how many years he used it.  I should probably buy a new, and sharp bit.

I went back to the web site that sells oak framing wood by the foot. She does not specify how thick of stock she uses, so it is possible her stock is 11/16 versus 3/4".

Frame Assembly

I used the miter saw to cut the corners for the frame pieces. Then I glued the 2 bottom joints using Titebond glue, and used the string and nail clamp method. The process I used to install the brass screws, one at each corner was.......


1. Drill with tapered bit from the set I have

2. In several steps, rub the steel screw with paraffin wax, and get the steel screw to go full depth

3. Apply paraffin to the brass screw and install to full depth


I learned a long time ago, that in hardwoods like oak, you first get the threads cut in the wood using a stronger steel screw, before you install the final brass screw.  If you try it with just the brass screw, you will strip the thread before you get it to full depth.


I then installed the 2 side hanging hooks I bought from her web site.  The top of the bracket is 1-1/4" down from the top of the frame, or basically as high as I could install them..........and stay away from the corner miter joint.

Stain Selection

This frame is made from Menard's red oak. I decided to use Golden Oak stain on it.........

Finished Project

Closing Thoughts on this Project

This stained glass panel really looks nice in the sunlight!

I like this style of frame design, and I plan on using it on future stained glass projects.