Archive for July, 2013

The Magic Box

Recently, a customer that I was doing some work for asked me if I would do some repairs on a small wooden box that was very special to her. The little box was brightly painted with images of a sun, moon, and stars painted on the outside. She called it her “magic box,” and she told me a story about having it since she was a little girl. She thought she remembered it having been built by a famous rock musician… Maybe one of The Doors? That idea would sound completely crazy if it wasn’t for the fact that her father worked in the music industry during that era, and know a lot of famous people. I decided to take the little box to my shop and replace the mirrors that were inside of it. It’s the type of fun little job that I really don’t get to do very often. My customer told me she would contact her dad, and find out more information about where the magic box came from.



When it came time to return the box after completing work on it, there was a lot of new information available. She had spoken to her dad about the item, and learned that box was actually made by the “The Fool” design collective. This is the Dutch group of artists that designed clothes, sets, and musical instruments for the Beatles and other musical groups in the 60s and 70s. This particular piece was designed and built by Marijke Koger. It was so much fun learning about the history of this little wooden box, and having the opportunity to work on it. Here are some links you can check out to learn more about The Fool Collective and their work.


Using Laser Levels for Shower Layouts

Hello Chris,

My name is Dan, my wife Holli and I own a glass shop in Anchorage AK you can visit our website at we have enjoyed your blog and your story. we started our shop in 1991 doing anything in glass including vinyl windows and auto glass. In recent years due to shortages in qualified help and price slashing with competitors and the overall grind of that type of business we did something similar to you and streamlined our business to just her and I doing custom Showers, tabletops, back-splashes, custom glass basically anything indoors for obvious reasons and we really enjoy it. To the point we really have focused on the shower doors and noticed a reference to laser levels in you blog we are trying to get info on the best type to use for meas and install I am currently looking at a Bosch GLL3-80 I wondered if you had any insight on the best types w/wo tripod and applications with respect to things like no-angles and step ups. A distant colleague looking for a step up.

Thank you

Dan DeLucia

Owner – Aurora Glass

red line

Hi Dan,

I first started using a laser level six or seven years ago. I found something that was pretty affordable (around $200) that worked well for me. It was a Craftsman self-leveling laser that came with a tripod. It shoots your choice of a level line, plumb line, plumb/level cross hair, and a cross hair that is not self leveling (actually helpful in some situations.) I still have that level to this day, and have actually purchased a second one within the past year. The cost of these has actually come down since I bought the first one, but it is a good, rugged, and inexpensive device.

I’m sure the one that you are looking at (or have probably bought by now) is at lease as good. As you know, a straight line is better than a plumb line in most instances. A customer will rarely put a level on your work to check it, but will always look at the lines and reveals. That is the thing that makes using a laser so nice. Even if it gets out of calibration over time, you know that the line it shoots is perfectly straight. The cross-hair feature is awesome for laying out mirrors. In the old days, we would take a level and draw a plumb/level intersection on the wall to do a layout. This is really only necessary when all four corners are out-of-square. With this laser, there is no need to mark. You just project the intersection on the wall and measure to the lines. Very nice!

Thanks for writing, and best of luck with your enterprises.


Shower Issues Down Under

Chris, thanks for taking the time to put up so much information on your blog. The internet is amazing in it’s reach – even her in Sydney, Australia.!

We have an old frameless glass shower that has a glued on PVC type strip with a felt seal to stop the water escaping. Over time it has gone moldy and is quite disgusting and impossible to clean (the felt) . I want to remove it , but am unsure of what to use to get it off. So far a screwdriver has just resulted in the hinges developing a creak after I applied down ward pressure to lever off the strip.

Any suggestions.? Also a replacement strategy / recommendation would be great.

Much appreciated and happy to show you around if you ever make it down under.




Hi Ashley,

Thanks for your kind words. Glad to know that people are reading my blog in Sydney!

I would use a solvent to soften the glue before trying to remove the plastic strip. Something like “Goof-off” or “Goo Gone” should do the trick. These are products that you won’t have to worry about harming your glass in any way. Try to get the stuff in underneath the strip, between the plastic and the glass, if you can.

As far as replacement… I have never seen what you are describing before. The standard seals for frameless doors these days are all-plastic. Usually polycarbonate, acrylic, or a combination of both. They should be fairly easy to find, I would imagine, even in Australia. Check with your local glass shop. If you can’t find anything, let me know, and we’ll see if we can figure out how to get you something.

Thanks again, and best to you and yours!