If I were to ask, I am sure there are plenty of you who could share a bad bevel story. It's a good thing that we all like them, or there would be no need to talk about them. However when they go bad, there's usually a deadline and money involved. Neither two scenarios helpful in running a profitable stained glass business. So, lets look at some of the common stock bevel shortcomings.
Size and Shape: when neither the size is, nor the shape is, remotely accurate.
Bevel width surface: the undesired optical illusion of different widths of bevel surface.
Edge: too thick or too thin.
Bevel clusters offer their own unique problems:
Fit: large gaps between bevels and cut shape has no relationship to the pattern.
Problems that plagued both stock bevels and bevel clusters:
Poorly mitered corners.
Poor quality bevel surface.
With all these possible defects, is it any wonder that a lot of us have shied away from using bevels?
Well, welcome Dennis Swan. Entirely open and generous about his work, life and bevel passion, Dennis has become an expert, having risked starting a new career, without formal training nor equipment, back in 1979. Mechanically minded, Dennis has taken neglected, abandoned and distressed finds and transforms them into commercially functioning equipment, able to handle any custom beveling job. Mostly self taught, Dennis is currently expanding his business, both from factory floor space to his client list.
Dennis' expertise draws a pretty fine line when describing the qualities that make a great bevel. Some things just speak to quality and craftsmanship. The bevel should be the size and shape specified, however he points out that cutting plate glass greater than inch thick, posses it's own unique challenges, however that is no excuse for poor fit.
Bevel width surface is a variable.
Dennis hints that we, as artists and designers, under utilize this custom feature. By changing the bevel width and the plate glass thickness we can dramatically change the bevel's appearance and how it preforms at refracting light. He suggests that a bevel can be created with different bevel width surfaces along one or each side. This technique is referred to as a sculptured bevel. This leads then, directly into correctly mitered corners regardless of shape or bevel surface width. Dennis also appreciates your time at not having to fight with bevel edges too thick or too thin. Unless you happen to like the wave effect, the bevel surface should be relatively flat. Technically referred to as multiple planes, Dennis informs that this "faceted" surface starts early in the bevel making process and if care is not taken at this initial stage the end result will show it. Finally, bevels are hand made and should reflect those charming undefinable qualities that are not commercially perfect, but rather unique and mysterious.
Dennis has offered a sampling of other websites showing how bevels have been used. The sites are from across the country, so there is no excuse about how you can find and cultivate a relationship with a beveler near you. I've checked out the majority of these sites and they are a great resource for seeing how bevels have been used. Despite the quirks and some shortcomings in mass produced bevels, the bevels you will see on these sites are hand crafted, custom designed and you can see the difference. Bevels are beautiful and we should consider using them more often.
Bremo Bluff, Virginia
Los Angles, California
A few sites worth looking at with well designed panels with bevels
look in innovative applications