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How to Clean Up Solder Splatters

How-To

After I finish soldering, there are little splatters of solder stuck all over my panel. How do I clean these up?

Doesnt it look just terrible! You wonder if it will ever get clean. But dont worry, it really isnt as bad as it looks.

Any of the splatters that are not connected to a solder seam can usually be removed with your fingernail (after the solder has cooled!) or a soft stick, like a craft stick (top left). Be careful not to use anything sharp that could scratch the glass. This includes most steel wool (except 0000). Most scrubbing pads for dishes will work, but you should try them on a piece of scrap glass. You dont want to scratch your project now!

Any splatters that are connected to a solder seam will need to be refluxed and melted off. Trying to lift it off with your soldering iron will generally leave a peak, so youll have to melt it into the solder seam at that area. If the splatter is too large to melt into the seam, youll have to melt the seam and remove the excess by quickly pulling it off to the side with your soldering ion.

You may notice that you get more splattering when soldering the second side of your project. Thats because the flux gets trapped between pieces of glass. (On the first side that you solder, the excess flux just slips through to the other side.) When the trapped flux gets hot enough to boil, it bubbles up through the solder, sometimes leaving little tiny splatters all over your project.

Reprinted with permission from Stained Glass News. All rights reserved.

2 comments
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julie h.  •  February 28, 2011
When too much fulx is applied to the copper foil bubbling occurs which will leave little pit marks in the solder bead. Through practice you will find the right amount you need to create a perfect solder line. If the copper tape has been sitting a long time before soldering it will become oxidized. This must be removed with steel wool before the solder will adhere. You will see this oxidation as the copper foil no longer being shiny.
Georgia H.  •  February 25, 2011
I have a problem with my soldering. I get these little volcanic explosions that leave pits in my solder bead. - why?? is this because of too much flux, or something else. And sometimes the solder won't adhere to the copper even "with" flux
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Stained Glass News

Stained Glass News

Stained Glass News is a full-color newspaper which has been dedicated to informing, entertaining and inspiring stained glass hobbyists for over 22 years. Each issue features: • information on new books, tools and glass • quick tips & hints and Q&A's • columns on stained glass, mosaics, and hot glass by industry experts • photos of our readers' projects in the Readers' Gallery • glassworking hints from our readers on The Readers' Page • a photo and information about a glass workshop belonging to one of our readers on The Readers' Page • other information that makes working with glass easier, more fun and more rewarding SGN is published five times a year (on the first of January, March, May, September and November). The current issue is SGN #90 (May, 2010).