Tag Archives: solder for stained glass

How to solder stained glass

How to Solder:
1 Choose a well ventilated area and a level work surface. Wear safety glasses and a work apron.
2 Plug in soldering iron (we recommend 100-watt style with built-in temperature control, chisel-style tip, and stand).
3 To wipe the tip clean while soldering, moisten a natural fiber sponge with water and place in the holder on the soldering iron stand.
4 Lay out 60/40 solder and a safety flux.
5 While the soldering iron is heating up, assemble the copper foiled pieces on the project pattern.
6 the pieces together by dabbing flux (using a cotton swab) onto the copper foil at a point where at least 2 pieces meet. Then unwind several inches of the solder wire from the spool. Grasp the soldering iron handle like a hammer, in your writing hand, and remove from the stand. Melt a small amount of solder onto the tip of the iron and apply it to the fluxed copper foil. Hold the iron tip on the copper-foil only long enough for the solder to melt onto the foil, joining the pieces together.
7 Working your way around the project, flux and tack solder all the pieces together, making sure to tack wherever 2 or more pieces join. If a piece is tacked in several spots, it will not move out of position when the finishing seam is being soldered. At regular intervals, wipe the tip of the soldering iron on the moistened sponge to remove flux residue.
8 Once all the pieces have been tacked together, the exposed copper foil must be coated with a thin, flat layer of solder. First apply flux along the entire length of a foiled seam. Then holding the soldering iron in your writing hand, place the flat side of the iron tip on the fluxed copper foil and, grasping the spool of solder in the other hand, place the end of the solder on the tip. As the solder melts, pull the tip along the seam, leaving a thin coating of solder over the foil. Fill in any gaps between the stained glass pieces with solder.
9 gives seams a rounded and even finish. To do this reapply flux along one seam. Place the narrower side of the iron tip onto one end of the seam (the flat side will now be in a vertical position), keeping the tip in contact with the seam at all times. Holding the solder to the tip, slowly draw the iron along the length of the seam allowing the solder to build up only enough to create a slightly raised, half-round seam. When the solder begins to build up more than necessary, pull the strand of solder away from the tip. Draw the tip along the seam until the molten solder levels out more evenly. It will take a bit of practise to determine how quickly to move the iron and how much solder to apply. Because glass can crack if it is heated too much, don’t go over a solder seam too many times. Allow the area to cool while you solder another seam. Flux and bead solder the remaining seams.
10 Turn the project over and tin and bead solder each seam on the reverse side, as described in the steps above.
11 To finish the outside edges of a project that will not be utilizing a rigid metal border (zinc or lead came), flux and tin all exposed copper foil on both sides. Holding the project in a vertical position, bead the edge by applying a small amount of solder and then lifting the iron off the foil long enough for it to cool before adding more. Use a touch-and-lift motion rather than drawing the iron along the edge. This will prevent the copper foil from becoming too hot and lifting off the edges of the glass. Repeat around the outside perimeter of the project. (Other methods of finishing the outside edges will be demonstrated in various projects throughout the book.)
12 Remove excess flux residue quickly to eliminate oxidization and a tarnished look.

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