Tools for soldering stained glass
Soldering iron (at least 80W) and stand, a flux (tallow or other soldering flux such as Glastar Glasflux), 60/40 solder, wire brush, tip cleaner (either a commercial tinning block or a damp flannel), cheap brush.
1. Preparing the panel for soldering- Turn your soldering iron on. They take a while to heat up.
Lead joint before cleaning with wire brush (left) and after (right)
2. Using the stained glass solderIf you're a beginner, it's a good idea to cut off some pieces of scrap lead and practice some soldering along them. This way you can get the feel for the way the solder melts, and how hot your iron needs to be.
Soldering fumes are dangerous. Try to do the soldering process by an open window, or buy a portable fume extractor if you’re going to do large amounts.
- Brush flux on to a lead joint.
- If you're right handed, place the end of the stick of solder right over the join with your left hand. Don't hold it too close to the end. The solder heats up along the stick and you could get burnt.
- Bring the hot tip of the soldering iron to the solder over the join. A drop will melt off onto the joint.
Melting drop of solder on to lead came joint
- It’s better to put a small amount on first and add more. Solder sticks to the lead and is difficult to take off if you've put too much on.
- Hold the soldering iron still over the solder for a few seconds, letting it find its natural level. It should be a little rounded and covering the whole of the lead join.
- Be careful not to take too long because the solder will melt too much and disappear through the gap.
Holding iron on solder drop to melt it
Finished solder join
3. Turning the panel over- Be very careful turning your stained glass panel over. It is very fragile at this point.
Filling gap with tiny bit of lead came
4. Cleaning the panel
- Clean all the flux off the soldered joints and lead came with the wire brush
Soldered joints clean after brushing
Hooks soldered on top of panel
- Make or buy a couple of wire hooks
- Rest your panel upright between two bricks
- Solder the hooks carefully on to the border lead with the soldering iron
Soldered panel ready for cementing and polishing
- If you're not sure which soldering iron is best for you, there's a page here that might answer your questions
- I've found a video that will give you an idea of the process, although I'm not too sure how good the joints are in the background!
Video showing how to solder stained glass
Once you're happy with your soldering and your panel is all clear of flux, you're ready to go to the next step:
Go to Cementing A Lead Came Panel if your piece needs to be waterproof
Go to Cleaning and Polishing if you are going to hang it in a window
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