Copper foil lifting from edge of glass


Hi,

Could you give me any advice as to why my copper foil is lifting from the edge of my glass. When applying it the adhesive seems strong but the foil seems to lift when I put the iron on it to flat solder all of the edges prior to assembley. I then washed the glass parts befor assemblying the project and the foil lifted completely in parts. I don't know what I am doing wrong.
Sue

Answer

Make sure your glass is clean before you apply the foil. Before you foil the glass, wipe the edges with alcohol...you can get it at any pharmacy.

Burnish the foil very well. If it isn't burnished tightly to the glass, flux will get under the foil and cause it to lift.

There are very few instances where you need to "flat solder" the foiled pieces before assembly. In general copper foil work such as panels and suncatchers, tinning the foil before assembly is an unnecessary and time consuming step.

Washing the glass after the foil is applied is also not necessary. It is another place where liquid can get under the foil and cause it to lift.

Go to my Copper Foil Tutorial for more help. Make sure you read the pages on applying the foil and soldering.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Copper Foil Did Not Stick

by Susan
(Tryon, NC)

I had completely finished a project and was cleaning it up in order to put the patina on it. I washed it in warm water, then put flux remover on. One of the pieces just fell off. The foil did not stick. What did I do wrong?
Thanks, I really enjoy your site.
Susan

Answer

Hi Susan,

There could be several reasons for that happening:

1. The glass wasn't cleaned before you applied the foil.

2. The glass wasn't totally dry before you applied the foil.

3. You didn't burnish the foil well enough ... didn't get it tight against the glass.

4. The edge wasn't beaded up well enough.

5. When you washed the panel, you puled the foil loose by scrubbing from the center downward instead of the edge upward. Pushing against the foil, that way, will pull it loose quickly, especially if it hasn't been beaded well enough.

6. The edge wasn't reinforced with wire if there were irregular pieces that protruded from the panel. In that case, the protruding pieces can pull away from the panel due to their weight if they aren't properly reinforced.

As you might already know, the adhesive does not hold the panel together, but the foil must be burnished tightly against the dry, clean glass for it to stay in place. If the foil isn't burnished well, moisture can get between the glass and the foil causing pieces to fall off very soon.

Once the panel is soldered, the solder forms the framework that keeps the panel together. You are in essence making a psudo lead came when you build a bead of solder over the copper foil. You must form a well rounded bead everywhere, but especially around the edges, or finish the edges with lead or zinc. I finish my foiled pieces with a bead over wire, or just a bead, depending on the size of the piece.

You might want to look at my tutorial on Cleaning and Patina.




Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

copper foil pulls loose

by olga koke
(virginia beach, va, 23462)


Hello, I have made a 7" by 7" panel and soldered jump rings to the top of the piece and on one side foil keeps on pulling off, is it better to solder rings to the sides of the panel instead of to the top?
Thank you

Answer

You need to solder the rings at a solder joint. If you solder the rings to an open area, as in your shell design, the foil will pull loose from the weight of the panel pulling down and the chains pulling up. There's nothing to anchor the jump rings to.

In the case of your panel, the only place you could put the jump rings so they are secure is where the shell touches the top. You could put two rings there, one on either side of the shell where the solder joints are. It's not the best placement on that panel, but the only place where they will be secure on top.

Yes, you can put them on the sides, but if you use one chain it will slide behind the panel and show through the glass. You could put 2 separate chains on the sides and hang the panel from 2 hooks.

Another alternative would be to solder a copper wire around the edges. Using one continuous piece, it would keep the foil in place and you could solder the jump rings wherever you want.

When you make a panel for hanging, you need to redesign a bit to integrate some cut lines that will join the edge where you will attach jump rings.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil not sticking

I am having difficulty with my foil sticking to the glass...I wash it, Windex it, wipe it down with alcohol and still sections just don't stick at all....many different rolls of foil so its not the foil or age of foil etc.. read about heating it in an electric frying pan...but please I can't sit around heating up pieces for 20 min. I need a realistic solution...any ideas...thanks Terry

Answer

Just stick with alcohol It will clean the edges better then water or Windex. However, I'm thinking that burnishing is the problem. You really need to burnish the foil until you're sure there isn't one single spot that isn't stuck down tight. It needs to be tight on the front, edge, and back. I use a small wooden wall paper roller, but there are roller tools available specifically for burnishing foil.

You didn't say whether it doesn't stick at all, or if it comes loose after washing the finished piece. If the piece isn't burnished extremely well, water and patina can seep under the smallest gap and cause the foil to loosen and lift off the glass.

Try wiping the glass with alcohol as you are foiling, not hours or minutes before. When I'm foiling I keep a cloth dampened with alcohol on my work bench. I pick up the glass, quickly wipe the edges with the alcohol cloth and apply the foil. For whatever reason, foil sticks better when the glass is freshly wiped with alcohol just prior to applying the foil.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Copper Foil Not Sticking After Soldering

by Sharon Harold
(South Africa)

After placing my copper foil and applying solder the copper foil doesn't seems to stick to my glass,I clean my glass before applying the foil, this only seems to happen after i have soldered it. I was wondering if maybe my soldering iron is to hot or maybe I am applying to much flux. Before applying the solder the copper foil sticks to the glass very well its only after applying the solder I have the problem,

Answer

It sounds like you don't burnish the foil well enough. If there is any place that isn't tight, flux will get under the foil and cause it to lift.

Working one area for too long will cause the foil to lift also. If you have an area that needs to be "fixed up", leave it until the solder is cool, then go back and do a bit more, leave it, and so on until you are satisfied with the results.

Thanks

Sharon Harold

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil Lifting off Glass


While soldering my project the foil lifts off of the glass. Usually on the sides while the tops stays put - just the sides. what is going on?
Foil old or defective??
Iron too hot??
Just that type of glass?? - iridesent spectrum

Answer

Either your glass isn't clean or you haven't burnished the foil well enough.

Wipe the edges of your glass with alcohol. Just put some on a paper towel and run it along the edges. It only takes a few seconds to do. Then make sure you burnish the foil very well, by pressing down firmly on all three sides...front, back and edge. If the foil isn't burnished well enough, flux gets under it and causes the foil to lift.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Trouble with copper foil sticking to glass

by Linda
(Bradenton, FL)

I am having trouble with getting my copper foil to stick to the glass. And before you ask, I have ground the glass, cleaned it well and also wiped it with alcohol before applying the copper foil.

Answer

Try warming your glass before you apply the foil. You could lay the glass on a heating pad or in an electric frying pan turned on low.

Other than that, all I can think of is that you have a defective roll of foil. Try a different roll to see if that's the problem.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Lifing edges

by Mary
(Cypress)

I am working on some beveled angels. I have finished the normal steps copper foil, soldering, cleaning, patina and lastly putting on the wax. When removing the wax I noticed that some of the edges of soldered foil are lifting from the glass. What is happening?

Answer

Hi Mary,

This is a question that has been asked here many times. The main reason the foil lifts is two fold. Either the glass hasn't been cleaned to be free of grinder dust and fingerprints before the foil has been applied, or the foil hasn't been properly burnished after it has been applied.

If the foil isn't tight against the glass, flux or the water from cleaning will get under it and cause it to lift any time from during soldering to final polishing.

I use 90% isoporpyl alcohol to wipe the edges before I apply the foil. I use a very small wooden wall paper roller to burnish the foil. There are many other types of burnishers available. Any one will do as long as you take the time to make sure the foil is rubbed down tight.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil Not Sticking

by Teressa
(Lincoln City, Oregon)

I made my very first stained glass project and found that the foil is coming up on all of the edges. Can I just re-solder or do I have to redo it all again? I am not sure how to get the foil to "stick" now. Thanks.

Answer

It sounds like one of two problems. Either the edges of your glass were not clean before you applied the foil, or you didn't burnish the foil well enough after you applied it.

I use a paper towel dampened with alcohol to wipe the edges of each piece just before I foil. The alcohol cleans off any grinder residue and removes oily finger prints.

After the foil is in place use a fid, chopstick stick, small wall paper roller, or I've even been known to use the side of a ball point pen, to go around all of the edges of the foil to make sure it is pressed down very well. If it isn't pressed down well enough, flux can get under the foil and cause it to lift.

Once the foil has lifted, there isn't much hope of it sticking down again especially if flux has seeped under it. It's best to pull the foil off, clean the glass and start over.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Lifting Foil

by cyn polo
(carmel, Maine)

My foil is lifting after I solder, I have burnished very well, where the foil meets the glass is so smooth and it still lifts????I'm getting very frustrated.

Answer

You need to make sure the glass is absolutely clean before you apply the foil. After you cut and grind, wipe the edges with alcohol before you foil. The alcohol will clean the edges and it seems to make the foil stick better.

Also, if you read through the copper foil questions page you will find many questions (and answers) about the same or similar problems. There should be other answers that will help.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

copper foiling

I am having trouble with the foil sticking after i am finished with my project. I clean with alcohol before sticking the foil, i use a ball point pin, burnish tool and have also tried the walpapper roller and taking special pains to make sure it is stuck good before fluxing and soldering but I am still getting lifting of the foil after i solder and wash my project.

Answer
Try a new roll of foil. If it sticks, then there is something wrong with the other roll. If you still have the same problem get back to me and I'll give you another solution.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Copper Foil Peeling Up

by Shirley
(Oklahoma)

I've noticed on 2 of my projects that a couple of places where the copper foil comes unadhered to the glass after I apply the flux. Am I putting on too much flux, or should I be using paste flux? I think I'm burnishing the foil well before soldering. I hope you can tell me what I'm doing wrong. Thanks!

Answer

You may not be cleaning the glass well enough before you apply the foil. If there is any grinder dust, oil from your cutter, or oil from you skin on the glass, the foil could lift after you solder it.

Even though you burnish very well, the foil isn't stuck down tightly. Flux gets under the foil, or water from cleaning gets under the foil and it lifts off the glass.

Try wiping each piece with a cloth dampened with alcohol before you foil it. The alcohol cleans the glass and it also seems to make the foil stick better. Don't use enough alcohol to make the glass wet, just enough that it cleans the glass and it evaporates by the time you start foiling.

The only other reason the foil could be lifting is that the foil is defective and has spots where there isn't any or very little adhesive. This is quite unlikely, but I have seen it happen. Check the roll of foil as you're using it, to see if that could be the problem.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Copper Foil Is Coming Loose

I do my foiling exactly as you have explained, but sometimes when I get my project complete the foil starts coming off. It is so very frustrating so I take the entire project apart and then redo it, and it happens again. It hasn't happened to everything I have done, so I don't understand what I am doing wrong.

Answer

It sounds like one of two problems. Either your glass isn't clean enough, or you haven't burnished the foil well enough.

Wipe every piece with alcohol before you foil it. Just put some alcohol on a paper towel and zip around the edges, making sure there is contact on all three surfaces. It only takes seconds, but makes a big difference in the way the foil sticks.

Secondly, if the foil isn't tight on the glass, flux and or water can get under it and cause it to lift. Make sure you go around the foil on both sides with your burnisher, pressing the foil down very well.

Another possibility is that you could have a defective roll offoil. It does happen occasionally. If it's only happening since you started using a particular roll of foil, that could be the problem.

Lastly, although this is the wrong time of the year, if you live in the northern hemisphere, foil sticks better to warm glass than cold glass.





Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Copper foil lifting

by Antoinette
(Ireland)

Hi Sue I wonder if you can help, I'm sure you can!!! After burnishing the foil and then start tinning,the foil lifts straight off. Even though when I have burnished it there are no gaps in the foil. I clean the glass with alcohol cleaner. Any help would be really helpful.
Thank you in anticipation.
Brilliant website!!
Kind regards,
Antoinette

Answer

I wonder if it's the foil. If it happens repeatedly, even with a different roll of foil, then you still aren't burnishing enough. If it's happening with just one roll of foil, get a new roll. Your foil could be defective. That doesn't happen very often, but, there can be defective foil, so, my advice would be to try a new roll of foil first.

If the foil isn't what is causing the problem, here are a few hints about burnishing. When you burnish, the foil must be absolutely tight to the glass. If you're using a textured glass burnish with something round like a chopstick, piece of a dowel or a ball point pen. Run it along the foil making sure you get it down in every nook and cranny. If you are using smooth glass, press harder on your burnishing tool. I know you said there were no gaps, but the most minute gap will allow flux to seep under it and cause the foil to lift.



Lastly, I want to comment on tinning. In my opinion, it is absolutely unnecessary and a waste of time except in a few circumstances. I only tin when I'm putting wire around the edge of a piece, adding a hinge to a box, putting a vase cap on a lamp, and working with bronze or brass rods. Other than those few instances, tinning is only using up more expensive solder.



Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Help, My Copper Foil Has Peeled Off!

by Tania
(Maryland)

My foil peels off the edge of my suncatchers, in spots when I tin them. I usually wash my pieces after I solder one side to prevent oxidation if I can't get back to it within several days. Is this causing the problem with the adhesive? How can I prevent this problem and how can I fix my almost finished dragon with tinned foil that's not stuck to the glass in a spot on the edge of his wing?

My foil peels off the edge of my suncatchers, in spots when I tin them. I usually wash my pieces after I solder one side to prevent oxidation if I can't get back to it within several days. Is this causing the problem with the adhesive? How can I prevent this problem and how can I fix my almost finished dragon with tinned foil that's not stuck to the glass in a spot on the edge of his wing?

Thanks so much for you site and help.

Answer

Hi Tania,

Yes, washing bare foil will often cause it to come off, especially if you use hot water. A better way is to wipe the piece off and put it in a zip lock bag until you can get back to it. The foil won't oxidize
over night. I've left pieces for several weeks, with nothing more than a wipe off, and have had no
oxidation problems.

I imagine what happened to your dragon is that the foil got loosened when you washed it, then flux got under the foil during your next soldering session. Once flux gets under the foil, the foil will not stick, no matter what you do. Not burnishing the foil well enough when you're applying it is another way for flux can get under any loose areas.

There is no quick fix to repair the loose foil on your dragon. The best way would be to remove the piece of glass with the loose foil, pull off the foil, clean the glass and re-foil it. That's what I'd do. Removing the glass as I describe here is pretty easy and shouldn't take you very long to do.

Believe me, I've tried every quick fix I could think of, and none of them work well, or they take more time than fixing it properly in the first place.

Here are my experiences with quick fixes:

One time consuming quick fix is to peel off just the area of foil that is loose. You need to cut the foil on either side of it, with an exacto knife, so you don't have ragged edges. Clean the bare glass to get rid of any adhesive and flux, being careful not to damage the remaining foil. Cut a new piece of foil just long enough to fit precisely between the edges of the gap. Put the foil on the glass and burnish it well. Once you start to solder, the new piece of foil usually ends up on the tip of you soldering iron. If it doesn't come off, the adhesive backing oozes out at either edge and you have black sticky stuff to try to clean off.

Another quick fix is to put some glue under the foil and try to get it to stick to the glass. You can't start soldering until the glue dries. When you do solder over it, the heat of the iron usually causes the glue to soften and ooze out, which makes a mess, plus you're back to having loose foil.

So, back to option number 1. Take out the glass and re-foil it. It will look better and take less time in the long run.

Perhaps someone reading this knows of a quick fix that works. If so, please tell us by using the comments section below.






Thanks so much for you site and help.

Tania

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil Lifts Off Outside Edges

I have trouble with the foil lifting off of the outside edges of my projects. I thought it was because I was using too much heat. I have tried keeping the heat of the iron as low as possible and working as fast as possible, but it still happens. How can I cure this problem?

Answer
Hi,

Foil lifting can be a problem. Here are all of the reasons, I can think of, that might be causing it.

The more obvious ones are that you didn't clean your glass before you started foiling or you didn't burnish the foil well enough. Either one of those reasons will cause the foil to lift.

I always clean the edges of my glass with alcohol just before I apply the foil. That gets rid of any grinder dust, as well as any oil left from cutting.

Make sure you have that foil pressed down tight on the edges of the glass. If it's textured glass, use a wooden chop stick or even a pencil and roll it across the front and back of the foil. That will make sure the foil is seated down between the bumps and valleys of the texture.

Too much heat can be a problem, not because the iron is too hot, but because you hold the iron in one place too long, trying to make the solder look just right. This, in turn, will cause the foil to lift enough for flux or water to get underneath. Once you start cleaning the finished piece, the foil will not only lift, but often pull right off.

The placement of your hanging loops is another reason this could be happening. If they are not soldered on at a spot where an internal solder line meets the edge, the foil will eventually pull loose from the weight of the glass. If there are no internal lines where you want the loops, solder a wire around the perimeter of your panel. The wire will strengthen the edge of the panel and give you the freedom to solder the loops wherever you want. How to do this is covered in
Finishing The Edges. The first method on that page tells how to apply wire to the edges of your panel.

Finally, cleaning too vigorously can pull the foil loose from the edges. When you are scrubbing the finished panel, don't push against the foil from the inside out. That can pull the foil loose from the glass. Scrubbing up and down the edge, or from the outside in, will prevent this from happening.

I hope one of these reasons will help you to solve your problem,
Sue

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Problem With Foil Lifting

by Sandy Brouhard
(Granbury TX)

After I finish soldering and wash my piece, sometimes I lift the inside edges up. What am I doing wrong?

How do I know when I need reinforcement?

Your website it the best information out there.

Thank you,
Sandy Brouhard

Answer

Hi Sandy,

Your foil problem is a common one. It is usually the result of the foil not being burnished well enough. It has to be tight against the glass and the best way to do that is with a small wall paper roller. The roller works much better than a fid. It gets rid of wrinkles and presses the foil down very tight.

The reason the foil lifts is because water gets under the foil, that hasn't been burnished well enough, while it's being washed. The water loosens the foil and makes it very easy to lift, especially when you are wiping the glass.

Reinforcement

You will reinforce a foiled or leaded panel if there are hinge joints. Those are joints or seams that go from one side of the panel to the other. It is very easy for the panel to bend or even fold in half if there is a hinge joint that has not been reinforced. Make sure you run the reinforcement across the hinge joint, not along it.

Another place you would reinforce is if the panel is going in a door that will be opened and closed frequently; for instance cupboard doors and entry doors. With doors, you reinforce as much as possible to keep the panel from bowing after the door has been opened and closed over a period of time. Slamming a door with a stained glass panel is not a good thing, so reinforce that panel heavily.

For large panels, our rule of thumb is to reinforce every 1 1/2 to 2 feet of length and/or width. If you have a panel that's 4 feet high, you would reinforce at the 2 foot point, or as close as you can to 2 feet. The larger the panel, the more you will reinforce it.

We use copper restrip for reinforcing both lead and foil panels. It if fairly easy to work with and has incredible strength. We also use reinforcing rods as well as restrip for very large panels. The rods are joined to the panel with wire. They stick out over each end of the panel and are attached in the window frame itself.

I hope this information will help you, and other people that have similar problems.

Sue

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil Trouble

by Donna
(Lowell, MA)

Hello,

I am working on a piece that consists of 4 different clear, heavily textured glass. No matter what, I can't get the foil to stay on the glass.

I did grind it, cleaned it several times, and when I fid (burnished it), the foil looks ok. In the curves it can just be brushed back.

Do you have any idea why? I have tried several foils.

Thank you,
Donna

Answer

Hi Donna,

Thank you for submitting your question.

You have a problem that frequently occurs with heavily textured glass, especially around curves.

First of all, use Edco brand foil if that isn't what you're already using. It has more stretch to it and can be worked into curves easier than Venture foil.

Make sure you ease the foil into the curve as you apply it. It is easy to pull the foil too tight as you go around the curve. When it comes time to burnish the foil, it is then difficult to get it to fit well into that curve. It will pop loose as fast as you try to push it back down.

Wipe the glass, well, with alcohol before you apply the foil. If the glass is heavily textured, you might need to use a tooth brush to scrub the alcohol into textured surfaces where the foil needs to stick. Wipe it dry after the alcohol scrub. Foil seems to stick better to an alcohol wiped surface.

Use an orange stick, wooden chop stick or even a piece of copper rod (that is used for making hinges for stained glass boxes), to burnish the foil around the curves. You need something narrow to fit down into the crevices. Make sure you burnish every bump and crevice around both sides of the curve so the foil is pushed down and touches glass every bit of that curve.

Try using a wider foil. It could be that your foil is too narrow and there isn't enough overlap to get it burnished well into those crevices.

Good luck with your project. If you'd like to, please put a picture on the photo gallery when it's done. We'd love to see what you're making. The textured glass should give it a lot of sparkle.

Sue

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Foil coming away from finished lamp

by Chris B
(Canada)

I have finished a lampshade and just cleaning it and all the foil along the bottom is coming away from the glass. What do I do now. I don't want to have to take the whole thing apart.

Answer

I'd guess that you didn't solder a wire around the edge. See if you can burnish the foil along the edge enough to get it to stay in place, then solder a #16 or #18 gauge copper wire around the bottom edge.

If the foil won't stay in place after burnishing, you can try to pull it loose, clean the edge thoroughly, and put more foil around the entire edge, then solder the wire around the edge. This is not the recommended way to repair it, but you said you didn't want to pull the shade apart and re-do it.

I would personally pull the panels apart and re-foil the edge of each panel. It shouldn't be that difficult to do if you follow my Copper Foil Repair technique, using an aluminum strip to get the panels apart. Then read the Lampshade Tutorial to learn how to solder the wire in place.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

patina problem

When I applied patina to the stain glass sun catcher that I had made, the whole project came apart. The copper foil and the lead just came apart. I am just wondering why this happened? Would be grateful if you could let me know why?

Answer

Here are some probable reasons:
1. You didn't burnish the foil well enough so that water and patins got under it. The process of applying patina was enough to make the foil pull loose, causing it to fall apart. It wasn't the patina, just the handling and rubbing that it takes to apply patina.

2. You have hinge joints in the suncatcher it fell apart due to them. Hinge joints have nothing to keep the suncatcher together. You can bend the piece in half along a hinge joint. Again, the extra handling during the patina process caused it to fall apart.

If a suncatcher if apt to fall apart due to hinge joints or dangling pieces, for instance wings, solder a #22 copper wire around the edges of the entire suncatcher.

Also, make sure you have the foil well burnished before you start to solder it. Well burnished means it must be stuck down well the entire distance. if there is any place where water or patina can get under it, that is exactly what will happen and the foil will lift and or fall off.

Click here to post comments

Return to Copper Foil Questions.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Stained Glass Gems.