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Clean Up: After your piece is soldered to your satisfaction, it is ready to clean. Carefully clean the front and back of the piece with hot soapy water or flux remover. An abrasive cleaner and fine grain steel wool is effective for shining the solder lines. Remember, if all flux residue is not removed from the piece, the solder seams may oxidize over time. Oxidation is the crusty white buildup that sometimes appears on metal. Dirty solder seams may also inhibit the coating of patinas.
If you would like your solder seams to be a color other than silver, apply a patina to it. Patina is a chemical that reacts with the solder and changes the color. Popular colors of patina are black and copper.
Thoroughly dry the panel and apply stained glass finishing compound, a liquid wax, to further clean, protect and shine the solder seams.
Wood Framing: Wood frames are available three ways: finished oak frame, 6 ft framing stock, and precut framing stock.
You can buy oak frames with a groove in the back for mounting your finished piece into. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and you simply silicone or clip your clean panel into them.
Oak framing stock in 6 foot strips comes sanded and ready to stain. Measure your panel and use a mitre saw and mitre box to cut your stock at a 45 degree angle. Remember to add for the mitre allowance to get the proper outside size to cut the frame. Drill corner holes and insert screws. Hint: to prevent sideways "drift" or "stepping" when assembling the frame, just place a C-clamp covering both mitred edges. Keep it snug but not too tight and insert screw.
To use pre-cut framing stock, which is available in even measurements from 10" to 28", simply slide the wood strips around your panel and insert the screws into pre drilled holes. The framing comes 2 per pack and ready to stain.
Came Framing: Beginning with the smallest hanging panels, simple edge came of lead or zinc is generally used to give a project a smooth, consistent, and attractive edge. Both the lead and zinc come in various sizes to suit the requirements of different projects. Lead can be used on irregular shaped pieces since it is easily formed. Zinc came is stiff and works best on straight edges or gentle curves. To use either, cut the came to length, fit around the project and solder at the corners (or where the ends meet) and at the points where the foil or lead intersect the outside perimeter. When possible, attach the hanging rings at the corners so the vertical lines support the weight. The rings can also be soldered at a point where a foil or lead line meets the outside perimeter.
For a larger window or panel a wider zinc came should be used to finish the edge. An adjustable zinc came allows for thicker panels at the point where a solder bead meets the edge. The adjustable came is easily opened and closed with a lead opener. To a lesser degree the adjustable came will compensate for slightly irregular edges by opening the seam in the center of the channel in order to seat the panel properly. Again, if hanging rings are used, solder them to the corner so the weight is supported by the vertical lines.
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