perfect solder lines

perfect solder lines

Post by Curringto » Tue, 03 Mar 1998 04:00:00

What is the secret to perfect solder lines? Alot of the time my solder
collects together in large globs,why does it do this?\
                  Scott Currington


perfect solder lines

Post by Lee Althous » Wed, 04 Mar 1998 04:00:00


> What is the secret to perfect solder lines? Alot of the time my solder

> collects together in large globs,why does it do this?\
>                   Scott Currington

I don't know if it's a secret or not, but I use Superior 30 flux, "flat"
solder both sides, then apply my bead. When I apply the bead I turn the
iron on it's side (90 degrees) with the tip of the "v" on the foil line.
I then flow solder down the side of the "chisel " part of the tip and
concentrate on an area of the bead about a half inch to an inch "behind"
the iron. If I see the bead getting to high, I restrain my solder. If
it's too low I add solder. When I get to any intersection, I go about a
quarter inch each way and then continue on the line I'm on. This gives
me a good starting point for that line. I also try to solder from the
center area outwards and follow the "natural" flow of the lines.I also
try to time my soldering so when I'm finished I can rinse it off (no
soap or anything), and while it's still dripping, apply the patina and
rinse again.
I get a nice smooth solder line and a nice even patina finish. After it
dries I use Kem-o-Pro polish and it's done.

The above is for copper foil.

For lead, I solder each joint about the thickness of the lead in each
direction. I use the chisel portion of the tip to get a nice "flat"
bead, but still apply enough solder to cover the joint and not leave the
"lead lines" show. With Lead I usaually apply the iron on top of the
solder, which I hold at the joint. If I need more, I tilt the iron a bit
and let the solder run under the tip. I use Oleic Acid by Canfield. For
cleanup, I wipe the flux off, use my own cement mixture which contains
polyureathene, enamel, oil-based putty, mineral spirits, and plaster of
paris. (no I will not devulge the percentage of the mix..I have to keep
some trade secrets!). The clean up of the cement also cleans off any
flux residue and we usually rub the lead afterwards with 00 steel wool
to "shine" it up. (if you want an "old" appearance.. squirt it really
good with Windex. For some reason the ingridents will "dull" the lead at
the same time it cleans it.)

For Brass and Copper, follow the lead procedure and use Superior 30
instead of Oleic.

For zinc, I use Canfield's Soldermate 11. (it also works as a good tip
cleaner when you go from one flux to another)

Hope This Helps
Lee Althouse
Althouse Stained Glass

PS It's pretty late, so please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.


perfect solder lines

Post by Bert Weis » Wed, 04 Mar 1998 04:00:00

I was taught a slightly different technique for soldering lead came.  The
difference comes from the shape of the tip.  I use an Esico 200 watt iron
with a 5/8" tip.  The tip shape I had to create myself.  They actually make
this profile in smaller sizes.  What I did was cut the tip off with a
hacksaw at an angle a little off square.  This gives me a large surface
area in contact with my joint.  I push down with some pressure on the joint
as I am soldering.  This keeps everything tight while the metal is
flowing.  I should mention that I am soldering tucked flat leads. If you
have the controller set to the right place so you have consistent tip temp,
and you move from joint to joint soldering, it is a graceful dance when
done right. There can be no gaps and each joint must be solidly
constructed, in order to achieve this.  For solder I prefer 50/50.  50/50
solder is less stiff than 60/40, so it is less likely to create a problem
at the end of the solder bead.  I've seen a lot of windows that break at
the end of a big blob of solder.  I've also seen windows that stay together
for a long time with a small amount of solder.  My vote on this issue is
less solder but it has to be done right (clean, with good metal to metal
contact, and fluxed).  I also use oleic acid as the flux, but I use only
linseed oil and whiting as putty.  I do think that Lee's homebrew putty
recipe is probably a good idea. I don't approve of puttying with butyl, or

I don't do much of this work these days as I concentrate on kiln fired
glass.  However, I really appreciate the instruction I was given by Helmut
Schardt at Haystack School back in the late 70's. As I have observed over
the years the techniques I was taught (tucked flat leads etc.) were highly
professional, fast, efficient and strong.

Bert Weiss

Bert Weiss Glass Studio
Painted Art Glass
Custom Productions
Architectural and Sculptural Cast Glass
Collaborative Art Glass
Lighting design