Are soldering iron tips interchangeable?
Each soldering iron has its own tips. These tips do not fit any other iron. There is one exception. The replacement tips for the Weller 100 will fit the Studio Pro 100 iron.
Should I use a rheostat with my Weller 100 soldering iron?
No! Using a rheostat with a Weller 100 could ruin your iron. The Weller 100 has a built in thermostat, so if you want to change the temperature, you have to change the tip. 700 degrees is the standard for 60/40 solder, but 600 and 800 degree tips are available.
My soldering iron tip keeps turning black. Am I doing something wrong?
Probably not. It is possible that your iron is running a little hot, so you could trying turning your rheostat down a little. Most tips will eventually turn black, just use a tinning block to help clean them.
Decorative Edges Using Ball Chain
I enjoy doing fan lamps as gifts and have heard that some designs look good with ball chain added around the perimeter of the finished piece. I'm not sure how to attach the chain after soldering the edge. Can you offer some suggestions?
The ball chain is tack soldered to the edge of the fan lamp before finishing the edges. After it is tacked in place, do your final soldering over it. By soldering it completely to the edges, a more rigid and stable edge is formed. If you were to do your final soldering first and then tack it into place only, it's still possible to move the untacked portions and accidentally rip off the copper foil.
Foil Has Turned Green On Partially Soldered Project
About a year ago I attempted to build a 8 paneled hanging lamp with 100 pieces. It took me a long time, and I got as far as finishing the final seams on the outside of the lamp and putting patina on it. Toward the end of the project I became frustrated and put it aside. Unfortunately during this time the copper foil has become corroded and green. Much to my dismay when I try to put solder on the foil, it doesn't stick. Is there any way to un-corrode the foil without taking the entire thing apart and refoiling it? Please help!
Boy, sounds like quite a predicament! Does your foil still have good adhesion to the glass? If not, you will have to take the entire lamp apart and start foiling from scratch because even if you would clean it up, chances are that your pieces will fall out and you won't be happy with the appearance of your lamp. If the foil still does have good adhesion, then try using very fine steel wool and gently rub it over the foil so that it doesn't pull off or tear. Once all the corrosion is cleaned off, try soldering it again. If you are still having difficulty with the soldering, you may have no choice other than to tear your lamp apart and refoil. Lamps generally take several hours to solder. Next time, I would suggest that you wait to begin soldering when you are well rested and have enough time to devote to soldering your piece at one sitting. In a pinch if you can't complete all of the soldering, completely wash your piece and store it in a plastic bag and seal the bag. Don't wait too long to begin soldering again (a day or two at the most) and complete the soldering. Storing your piece in a bag will slow down the corrosion, but won't stop it completely.
Solder: Which Gives You the Best Beads
The choice of what type of solder to use is a personal one based on which you enjoy working with more. For the best and smoothest beads, this just takes practice, practice, practice! When looking at a finished piece, the eye is naturally drawn to the solder joints or intersections, so when soldering, don't stop and pull your iron out at these points; instead stop in the centers of long seams and also blend in these areas.
I've been working with stained glass for over 15 years. But last year I tried doing some angel patterns that had filigree wings that were supposed to be covered with solder and left bright and shiny. Try as I might, they only got dull and lumpy. I was using 60/40 solid wire. Is there special solder or some special technique?
Hold the filigree with pliers and coat it liberally with flux. Holding the filigree at approximately a 45 degree angle, tin (lightly coat) it with solder. Let the solder drip off of the filigree and make sure that all holes are free of solder. After tinning the front side, turn it over, reapply flux and solder; again making sure that all holes are free of solder. If the solder starts to gum up, wipe off the tip of your iron and also reapply flux since it evaporates quickly as heat is applied to the filigree. Before attaching the wings to the angel, wash the filigree thoroughly with CJs Flux and Patina Remover and pat dry.