Materials for stained glass projects

Copper Foil Construction.
Various materials and tools commonly found around the home can be used for copper foil construction of stained glass projects. As well you’ll need some equipment specifically designed for stained glass construction. Most urban centers have at least one retail outlet that caters to stained glass craftsmen and several companies offer a mail order service. Check your telephone directory yellow pages for a listing of local shops and establishments offering mail order service. If you know someone who has worked with stained glass, ask them for recommendations. There is a wide selection of tools and materials available. Finding the tool that best suits your needs or that special piece of stained glass to complete any project in this book should not be difficult.
Copper foil:
Copper foil supplies the base from which the metal support structure is created to join together the pieces of glass in a stained glass project. An adhesive-backed copper foil tape is wrapped around each piece of glass once it has been cut and ground to shape. Molten solder is then applied with a soldering iron along the foiled seam that is created when the individual foiled glass pieces are placed side by side on the pattern. The rounded solder seams hold the pieces of stained glass in place. Copper foil is available in rolls 36 yards long from 1/8 in to 12 in wide. The most common foils used are 3/16 in to 1/4 in wide, depending on the thickness of the glass used. Copper foil also comes in 12-in square sheets that are used primarily for creating decorative overlays. Copper foil with a silver or black backing can be used when the glass is translucent and a view of the copper is not desired.
Before a stained glass project can be soldered together, the copper foil must be clean and free of oxidation to ensure an even solder seam. The application of flux aids in the fusion of the solder to the copper foil. Solder will not stick to the copper foil if flux is not applied. Flux solutions are available in a variety of forms-paste, gel, liquid, or cream. A water-soluble safety flux formulated for stained glass construction is recommended. Fluxes containing zinc chloride and hydrochloric acids should be avoided because they can cause skin and respiratory irritations in some individuals.
Solder is an alloy composed primarily of tin and lead that will fuse to the copper foil when heat is applied (approximately 600 to 800°F). For ease in handling, solder is produced as a solid wire, approximately 1/8 in thick, and comes in one-pound spools. The most commonly used solders for copper foil construction are
60/40-combination of 60% tin and 40% lead. It melts quickly and is easy to work with when trying to achieve a rounded solder seam. Once it cools, the surface has a shiny finish.
50/50-equal parts of tin and lead. This solder melts at a higher temperature and takes longer to solidify. It is often used as a basecoat on the seams of 3-dimensional objects to help prevent the final b( of solder from melting through seams.
Lead free-consists primarily of tin and is recommended for the construction of stained glass jewelry and any project where lead content is a concern. Its melting point is higher than the other 2 solders making it more difficult to work with.
On labels, the amount of tin present in a spool c solder is listed first, followed by the lead content.
Extruded lengths of channeled metal used to hold pieces of stained glass together are called “cairn H-shaped lengths of lead were used in the tenth century to build some of the first stained glass windows and are still used today. U-shaped cames ai used to finish the outside border of a project. Came i available in lengths of approximately 6 feet and is als manufactured in zinc, brass, and copper.
Vase caps and spiders:
A vase cap is usually mac of spun brass, is circular in shape, and should have several small vent holes to let the heat escape that is given off by the light bulb. It is soldered over the top opening of the lamp shade and assists in holding the individual panels of the shade together. A small brass ring with 3 or 4 spoke-like arms radiating outward is called a spider. It is used in lamp shades when covering the top opening is not desired. It can be usee in conjunction with a vase cap to lend additional support on large lamp shades. Both are used to give the lamp shade support and a means to suspend it from a ceiling fixture or on a lamp base.
Hinge and fine-link chain:
A brass tube and the rod that fits within it can create a hinge for the lid of a stained glass box. One end of a fine-link chain can be attached to the lid and the other end secured to the bottom of the box to prevent the lid from flopping over and breaking.
Tinned copper wire:
18 to 20 gauge copper wire can be purchased with or without a slight coating of tin. Tinned copper wire is used to add strength and as a finishing border around lamp shades and small window panels. Copper wire can be tinned by applying flux and thinly coating the wire with solder.
Lubricant: A lubricant is required to keep the wheel of the glass cutter clean and well oiled. Kerosene is still used but there are other types of lightweight oil available that are odorless and water soluble.
This solution of water, copper sulfates, and mineral acids is applied to a solder seam to change the surface of the solder to a copper or black finish.
Neutralizing solution:
A neutralizing solution of water, sodium bicarbonate, and detergent is used to wash off all traces of flux and patina when a stained glass project is completed.
Finishing wax:
A wax compound applied to the solder seams of all finished stained glass projects can be buffed with a soft cloth, leaving seams shiny and with a protective coating. Specially formulated stained glass finishing compounds or a quality car wax can be used.

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