Patina Discolouring On Panels

by Sue
(Ireland)

When I wash my finished piece of stained glass, dry it, and apply the black patina and wash again, a month later, there appears a whitish stain, like the solder is leaking, when I rub this away or re-polish it, most of the stain goes away. How can I prevent this from happening?

Milly's reply: Hi Sue, thanks for your question. I've had the very same problem as you. I'm making the assumption that you're using copper foil? If you're using lead, you need to polish it as detailed on my site here:
Polishing
.
Back to the copper foil. You're right to wash after soldering, it neutralises the flux, but scrub it with household ammonia (for general purpose use) with one of those green pan scrubbers until it froths up. Dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
Then get a wax cleaner - the type you can buy at car centres - and buff it until no more black comes off. At this point it should look entirely beautiful, and could be left here if you just want the silver. The waxing will get rid of the oxidation - that's what's causing the white stain to appear on your panels.
If you want copper or black patina, now's the time to apply it. Make sure you dry it off with a paper towel. If you're using black patina, rinse with warm water at this stage, and dry thoroughly, letting it set for a day.
Then repeat the waxing process, only this time leave the wax to dry before buffing up.
That should be it! I hope this does the trick.

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White Mold On Copper Foil

by Sue
(Hawaii)

Do you have any solutions/prevention measures for the accumulation of a white "mold" on the solder that forms rather quickly in a tropical climate? It doesn't matter whether I wash the piece in ammonia, baking soda, detergent, or several times with Quik Kleen, or whether I end up with a paste wax or Nevr Dull. It's so discouraging. The pieces I have sent to the mainland Midwest do not develop this "mold." It's only here in Hawaii. Any ideas?

Milly's reply:

Do you use the wax after soldering your stained glass copper foil panel, or only after you've put the patina on? I've heard Mother's California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax recommended in the US, although it's a product I can't get here in the UK.
So, scrub the stained glass solder with ammonia - with one of those green scrubbers - until it froths, and then dry thoroughly. This should get rid of the oxidation, which is the cause of your 'white mold'.
Then apply the stained glass patina - if it's black, rinse with warm water, dry properly and let it set for a day.
Then repeat the waxing process, this time leaving the wax to dry before buffing it up.
I've no idea about tropical climates - it's freezing here! - but I hope it works...

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