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[Stained Glass Gems] Magazines for the Glass Hobbyist
April 22, 2012

Issue #41 All About Soldering

These Stained Glass Gems have been found during my frequent browsing and deep digging for helpful and or unusual stained glass web sites, as well as other information pertaining to stained glass. I do hope that there's a gem or two that will brighten your day and be helpful during your stained glass journey.

Stained Glass Blogs and Web Sites

The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet is a blog that contains news about all things (mostly hot) glass from around the world. Lots of interesting information here (at least I found it interesting :)).

What a great idea for making Window Corners in Patricia Linthicum's blog Looking at Glass. You can't copy them, but they are certainly food for thought.

The work of Jacqueline King is gorgeous. She is a talented artist, and only 4 years into working with glass.

This Evening Grosbeak pattern is from a new web site that will have a free pattern every month. It looks like she uses the same technique that I use to make a pattern from a photograph. You can learn that technique Here.

If you know of a web site or blog that you think the rest of this ezine's readers would like to see here, please let me know. My contact information is near the bottom of the page.

Soldering Tips and Techniques

Soldering Copper Foil

Before you start fluxing the panel, make sure all of the foil is burnished well. If you don't know what burnished means, it is the technique you use to press the foil down after you have applied the foil. You can use the barrel of a ball point pen, a round pencil, a chop stick, a small piece of a dowel, a fid, the edge of a coin, or an orange wood cuticle stick. I'm sure there are other things people use, and if you want to let me know what they are, I'll add them to my next ezine.

The object of burnishing is to get the foil stuck as tight to the glass as possible. If you are using textured glass, make sure you burnish the foil in the valleys as well as the hills. If the foil isn't burnished extremely well, flux will seep under the foil and cause the foil to lift either during soldering or cleaning. on to soldering

1. Apply flux liberally. You can't use too much. Any excess can be wiped off when you're done soldering. I get asked, frequently, what type of flux to use for copper foil. Everyone has their favorite...mine two favorites are Canfield Solder Mate and Glastar Glasflux. I really can't say that I like one better than the other. It is best to use a liquid or gel flux, not a paste flux for copper foil. Most Paste fluxes are fairly aggressive and much better suited for lead came than copper foil.

2. Pour a small amount of flux in a separate container like a jar lid. Use that flux for your project and discard any left in the contained when you're done soldering for that session. The reason for the small amount in a separate container is that flux gets contaminated from dipping a brush or Q-tip in the bottle multiple times. Once it's contaminated, the entire jar is rendered useless. I get questions about "why is my solder pitted, or not running smoothly, or bubbling, etc". The reason usually is because the flux has been contaminated. Contamination happens from rubbing the foil or solder with the applicator, then dipping it back in the bottle. Every time the applicator touches the foil or solder, it picks up oxidation and other contaminates and put them back in the flux when you dip into it again and again.

3. Flux as much of the project as you will solder in one session.

4. Wet a natural sponge or a folded paper towel (that is what I use) and have it near where you are soldering. You will use it to wipe the tip frequently. There are two reasons for wiping the tip. It helps to keep the iron at a consistent temperature and it keeps the tip clean. A dirty tip will leave residue in your solder bead.

5. Turn on your soldering iron. Turn it on after you flux, not before. If not in use, a soldering iron will get hotter and hotter, the longer it sits idle, even when using a rheostat. A rheostat will hold the temperature while you are soldering, but not when the iron is idle. If you are using a Weller 100 soldering iron, you do not need a rheostat. That iron's temp is controlled by the tip. The standard tip that comes with the iron is a 700 degree tip (it will have a #7 stamped on the round end ). There are also 600 degree (#6) and 800 degree (#8) tips available. Here's where you can see the Weller 100 Hakko has a new iron available that has a built in temp controller. You simply turn a dial to the temp you want. Here's where you can see one Hakko Fx-601

6. Test the iron to make sure it is hot. You can test it by touching the tip to some solder. If the solder melts quickly, the iron is ready to use.

7. Here is the tutorial for Soldering Copper Foil You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

8. You can tell if your soldering iron is too cool if the solder is difficult to melt and/or if the solder gets sharp points instead of flowing smoothly.

9. You can tell if your iron is too hot if the adhesive from the foil backing starts oozing out along the edges of the foil.

10. If there is an area you aren't happy with, leave it and go back to touch it up when the solder has cooled. Going over and over an area without allowing the solder to cool first will get the glass too hot and frequently cause it to crack. Always add more flux before going back over and area. Also, always add a tiny bit more solder. Adding more solder makes the existing solder flow better.

One final note. Do Not Touch those little balls of solder that fall off the iron onto the glass or on your work bench. They are HOT and burn like you wouldn't believe. They are something you will only touch once! The natural instinct is to brush them away. Don't Do It. Warn anyone, about this, that happens to be watching you solder.

Soldering Lead Came

1. Flux the joint. I use Nokorode paste flux, but there are other paste fluxes available for lead came. Paste flux is best because it stays where you put it. If you apply it exactly where you want the solder to flow, you will have a nice solder joint.

2. Heat your iron and get a wet sponge or paper towel ready for keeping the tip clean.

3. If the iron is too cool, you will get sharp points on the soldered joints.

4. If the iron is too hot, the lead will melt. It's best to slide a small piece of lead between two pieces of scrap glass and test your iron's temperature on that rather than touching the first solder joint only to have the lead melt.

5. Use about 1/8" of solder per joint. It easy enough to add more if necessary, but you can't remove too much.

6. If you have to go over a joint a second time, add more flux and a tiny bit of solder. By tiny, I mean a dot, dab, smidgen, hardly able to see it...I hope you are getting the concept! You don't want to make the joint any larger, but more solder makes the existing solder flow better.

7. Make sure you wipe the tip often. Keep it clean.

8. Solder methodically, not at random. You will be less likely to miss a joint if you go across or up and down rather than here and there. When you're done soldering, have someone else look over the project to try to find missed joints.

9. Here's the tutorial for Soldering Lead Came Click on the pictures to make them larger.

10. When you are finished soldering, wipe the project with a soft cloth. This will get rid of the excess flux and it also helps you to find sharp points and other imperfections that need attention.

Ebook News

The Repair ebook is getting close to being finished. I am hoping it will be done in time for the next ezine.

You can find full details about all of my otherEbooks Here

Ebooks available are:
Make a Box With a Hinged Lid
Make a Kaleidoscope
Learn the Copper Foil Technique
Learn the Lead Came Technique
Frequently Asked Questions About Patina
Frequently Asked Questions About Copper Foil
Build a Light Box

For those of you that have inquired about my ebooks being available as actual books, Make a Stained Glass Kaleidoscope is now available as a paperback book at and as a Kindle Book

Make a Box With a Hinged Lid is available as a paperback at and is also available as a Kindle Book

Miscellaneous Stuff!

I'm so happy that our son Michael has started working with stained glass again, after a 4 year hiatus, and has opened up his own business in Canberra, Australia. He has worked with glass since he was 8 years old. We plan on working together as much as possible from such a long distance. I'm looking forward to whatever the future brings us. He has just started a facebook page for his business Spire Glass

Glass Patterns Quarterly is putting on a 2 hour Web-Workshop Fusing with Peter Kaiser on April 26. That means you fusers can sit at home and learn mold making and working with red reactive glass. Read more about it and register Here

Free Project Guides from Delphi Glass.

You can download the new Bullseye Glass catalog Here Their glass can be used for cold or warm glass work. When you look at the samples you will see two colors for each sample. The top color is what the glass looks like in cold glass work. the bottom color is what it looks like after being fused. Many people are unaware that some glass changes color after being fused, or even made into beads, and they are quite disappointed when they see the unexpected results of their hard work.

Go to How-To DVDs to find hundreds of "How To" DVD's for rent. If you want to learn how to do it from drawing a picture to repairing a car, it's available on one of their DVDs. They have some very interesting stained glass tutorials that can be found at Glass

Have a look at Robert Oddy's web site for some unique patterns, plus a free pattern to show you what the patterns and instructions guides are like.

Although Robert's patterns aren't for beginners, I know there are a lot of you that are very capable of working with them. These patterns will make your skill level grow by leaps and bounds and you'll learn new techniques that you won't be taught in any classroom. Have a look at what he has to offer and download that free's beautiful and something I know most of you would love to make.

Best deals in art glass suppliesDelphi Stained Glass Supplies is a place where I have bought supplies online and over the phone for many years. Some very helpful people work there, and I recommend Delphi as a reliable place to order your supplies.

I want to encourage you to have fun and experiment with your glass. Try new things and different techniques. It's amazing what you can do when you "think outside the box."


"I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don't give a darn whether the client understands that it's worth anything, or that the client thinks it's worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It's worth it to me. It's the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares." ~ Saul Bass

Stained Glass Patterns and Tutorials

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