>I've been making stained glass projects for myself and friends for about
>4 years now. My biggest dissatisfaction with my work is my soldering.
>It's lumpy or wrinkled or rough-textured. I've never been able to develop
>the right technique and I'm thinking there might be some
>magical formula/technique that I am not aware of that will make my soldering
>smooth and uniform.
>Also, when I use the copper patina on my projects I don't get a shiny
>copper look. I get more of a dark almost blackish gray look, even after
>using steel wool to rub off the dull coat on the solder. If I put the
>patina on immediately after soldering then I get the shiny copper look.
>But I can't always get around to immediately putting the patina on after
>I've soldered, especially on a big project.
>Any advice would be appreciated,
Ok to lets start with soldering. Are you using any flux? how hot is you
iron, also how many watts is it? I use a 50w unger which heats to about
1200 degrees. What kind of solder are you using? Generally you start
with a base coat of 50-50 solid core, to fill gaps etc. then follow up
with 60-40 (becuase it's cheaper than quickset or ultimate). When
creating a nice bead you do the folling: Start by refluxing, (a quick
tip, never dip your brush directly in the bottle or you will contaminate
the entire bottle. Instead pour some into a smaller container and use it
from there.) When you begin you soldering, there are many ways to
solder, one way is to keep your iron floating above the surface about
1/16" or so. Feed the 60-40 into the iron and trace the seem. Try to do
it only once (or you make get bleed through, cracked glass, messy bead,
etc). With some practice you can get some pretty nice beads..
As for patina: What brand are you using? are you using liquid or paste
flux, if your using paste flux stop using it's difficult to clean off
(however here's another tip: i personally hav'nt tried this, but, if you
have to leave your project for a while, and can't patina right away apply
the paste flux to the solder and it acts like a seal.) Ok here's what i
do: after i solder and it's cool to touch, i wash it in plain water
first, to knock off solder balls etc. Then with a nail brush use Joy and
Baking Soda mix to wah the piece. The baking soda is suposed to
nuetralize the flux. Wash the piece very well so it's nice and clean.
Dry the piece well. I use Novacan patina (i found it works best), apply
it with a brush or a cloth you do want anymore (i use an old tooth brush
for this). (Another tip: Try not to use cloth if you can, i found when
using copper patina, after a few days, the cloth just atarts to
disintagrate, which also means DONT GET ANY ON YOUR CLOTHES. Clean the
project again like staed above and dry. Polish the piece: i use
semi-chrome first, then use a coat of chemi-pro finishing compound. and
As for Jax patina: you may have heard about this stuff, it is expensive
stuff, but i think well worth it. the main problem with it is the piece
has to be very very clean to work right, (i tried using that cj's cleaner
stuff it never works for me, so i dont even bother using it). but from
what i can tell it has'nt tarnished on any of my pieces yet, unlike other
patina's which turn brown to black over a time.
hope this helps...