Friday, August 03, 2012

"Stained Glass" First Piece Done

Alright, for my first attempt, and using only painted glass rather than the real thing, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

The part that I thought would be the easiest for me, was actually the part that gave me the most trouble: the soldering.

First off, I didn't have the right solder, and of course no one in Cornwall sells lead-bearing solder anymore, so I had to use old lead solder that I had on hand, but with rosin core (which I will NEVER use again for this). With the combination of heat and flux, I ended up getting a whole bunch of sputters of little bits of rosin, which left ugly brown spots everywhere. Some can be flaked off, but most are stuck in place pretty well. I tried a few solvents on them, but they don't really come off easily.

The other problem I had, was that I didn't have the right kind of tip on my iron, and the heat setting kept fluctuating on me randomly. This left me with ugly joints. I ended up cheating and using a mini-torch to make the joints flow nicely.

HOWEVER, using the torch is risky, and I ended up shattering one of my glass pieces. I had to re-cut, re-paint, and re-bake a new one. I also scorched the paint in one small spot.

In this close-up you can see the brown dots and a bit of residual rosin near the joints that I couldn't completely remove (after heavy cleaning):

Despite all the issues, the finished piece shows well.

In other related news, I was able to flatten-out the old stained glass panel, and take a tracing of it.

In the meantime, I've been working on the "shop hutch" some more.


  1. We found soldering to be one the hardest parts too. Luckily, we had the correct kind of solder on hand from earlier stained glass attempts. Impressive result for a first attempt.

    1. I have a whole bunch of soldering experience from clock repair, but I really blame the iron on this one. It's a really old Craftsman "gun style" and it went from super hot to barely working. I tried putting a new tip on it, but the tip I bought was for a Weller, and it didn't seem to heat up in this gun. I can't understand why not. The crummy part is that I don't really want to spend 100$ on a nice iron right now. I've already spent a whole bunch of money this week, and now I have to watch my spending.

      I'd be curious to see some of your pieces (I didn't know you did any stained glass).

    2. Well, we've actually most recently did leaded glass with plain and beveled glass. We finished them in April, I think. You can click through to my Laurelhurst blog and click on the "Stained Glass" tag on the right side. (I'd provide the link, but then blogger would treat this comment as spam.)

  2. Great job for a first try!! Can't wait to see your "found tresure" restored.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I don't plan to jump in too quickly on the antique piece. I want to hone my skills a little more before I tackle it. It was free, and I probably won't be spending much to restore it (lead and glass is pretty cheap) but I want to do a nice job on it.