Working with Stained Glass on a Schedule

Business Tips

My time is limited and I can only work in 2-4 hour intervals. Are there any preventative steps that I should take to assure that my work will be in good shape when I return?

Many hobbyists find themselves in the same position, and this is a very good question. We cant cover every possible scenario, but hopefully we can help. Obviously, there are areas where it wont make any difference if you get interrupted. For instance, pattern prep, glass cutting, fitting, and grinding. However, if you do find that you need to stop in the middle of applying copper foil, youll need to think about how long it will be until you can resume the job. If it will only be a few days, there isnt anything special that youll need to do. But if it will be longer than that (or you live in a particularly humid area), your foil may show signs of oxidation when you return. (Oxidation happens to metal when its exposed to the air. It can prevent a nice solder job, so its important to avoid it, or at least know how to clean it up.)

To keep oxidation to a minimum, store the foiled pieces in a plastic zipper bag, or cover them as well as you can with plastic wrap. This will limit the amount of air that can come in contact with the foiled pieces, thus keeping oxidation to a minimum. (Even your roll of copper foil can become oxidized. Simply store your foil in a zipper bag when you arent using it.) Interruption can cause you the most problems when it comes to soldering.

It is best to start soldering only if you know that you can complete the job.
However, thats not always possible, so heres what you can do if you do need to stop in the middle.

First, be sure to clean all of the flux off of your project. You most likely wont be able to take the project to the sink to clean it at this stage, so use a sponge with cleaner on it, or a spray bottle of diluted cleaner.

Use whatever method allows you to remove as much flux as you possibly can.
Allow the project to dry and cover it with plastic wrap. Here again, it will limit the exposure to the air and help slow down the oxidation process. When you are ready to resume soldering, remove the plastic, apply flux and continue.

If you find that the solder just wont flow in certain areas (and you are sure you applied flux), its a good sign that there is some oxidation. Dont panic, theres a simple cure. Use a piece of 0000 steel wool and gently scrub the area that is giving you difficulty. Be careful not to scrub so hard that you pull the foil away from the glass. This should remove any traces of oxidation that have occurred and allow your solder to flow nicely after you have reapplied the flux.

If you stop working on your project after soldering but before cleaning, you may need to use the same steel wool technique mentioned above to remove the oxidation that will most likely prevent your patina from working. Then clean the project as usual, apply patina if you like and apply the finishing wax. Reprinted with permission from Stained Glass News. All rights reserved.

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peter r.  •  April 22, 2014
Painting on Glass???? If yes, it's a really good idea to make a cabinet for your pallets. That way dust won't collect on them. Pallets for glass painting are usually about 8" x 8", or a little larger. A cabinet for them should have shelves stacked about 1/2" apart. I've never seen such a cabinet for sale. You'll probably have to make your own. Perhaps, Delphi could have some made up and offered for sale. (hint, hint)
Vicki Gillespie

Vicki Gillespie

Vicki has over 24 years of experience in the stained glass industry, first teaching and managing a retail stained glass store, then as project coordinator for SGN Publishing, working with designers to prepare their books for print. Finally, after working with Stained Glass News since its inception, Vicki is now the publisher and editor-in-chief and continues to inspire and entertain stained glass, hot glass and mosaic artists with five full-color issues each year. "Here at SGN, we love to hear from our readers, so why not share your latest project or hint with us? It's easy‚Ķ just email us at [email protected] and you might see your project or hint in print."