You know how silver stain is sensitive?
Meaning, there’s some glass it “just won’t work” on.
And – in particular – people often say: “Silver stain won’t work on the tinned side of machine-made glass”.
OK, that’s a rule of thumb.
And if someone wants to live and die by it, that’s their choice.
Myself, I’m constitutionally more cautious. And more rigorous.
So myself, I’d say: always test your stain and glass before you do it for real.
Now if I had a tracing brush for every time someone asked me, “Should I get a gadget to tell the tinned side from the side which isn’t?”, I could set up shop.
And this is where gadgets can sometimes give you the right answer but lead you in the wrong direction.
Because listen to this, and listen well. It’s just not true that tin and silver stain don’t work together. Rather, it all depends on the glass in question. Heck, it can even depend on the batch of glass. And this is not something you can know about in advance.
In other words, like I said, you always have to do a test.
And if someone gets a gadget to identify the tinned side, then maybe they won’t test the tinned side.
Which – exactly – will sometimes mean they won’t find the result they’re looking for.
Gadgets – right answer, wrong question, therefore … wrong direction
Look at this. Here are two bits of glass from the same sheet but different sides:
Same stain; same concentration etc.
Yes, the stain is darker on the right-hand side.
But I don’t care which side is the tinned side and which side isn’t.
I don’t care at all.
Nor would you.
All I care about is the effect.
And so would you.
Because maybe you want the lighter stain.
Like I know I do today … see here this broken piece which I must copy for a window I’m restoring:
So of my two tests, it’s the lighter shade of stain I need.
And if I’d used a gadget and only tested (what I bet you is the) side that isn’t tinned (the right-hand side), I would never have found what I was looking for: the lighter-staining – tinned – side.
Do you take my point? Gadgets are great but …
In other words, tinned vs. untinned is not important – it’s the wrong question. Forget it!
All the best,