Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tools for Soldering

Though primarily used for stained glass work, glass soldering can also be used to create unique glass jewelry and decorative items. Much of the method mirrors that used for metal solder work, but here is a basic explanation of the technique and tools needed to solder glass pendants.

To begin, you'll need a few tools used by stained glass artists. Most glass suppliers carry what you'll need, and luckily, most of the basic tools aren't very expensive. The Crafty Scrapper, Hobby Lobby, and The little Blue house are great resources for supplies.

Tools, Equipment, and Supplies for Glass Soldering:

Soldering iron and stand: Soldering irons are similar to the type of torch you might use for metal soldering, but instead of a flame, the end of the iron is heated through electricity. While it may not get as hot as a flame torch, it still gets pretty hot though, so it's a good idea to also purchase a stand to hold it. Most stands include a small sponge, which is kept damp and used to clean the end of the iron.

Copper foil: You can buy this by the roll. Foil comes in a number of widths and designs (such as scalloped) and has an adhesive back, so you can just peel off the back and stick it to the edges of your glass pieces.

Non-lead solder: Normally, you'll purchase your solder on a roll. There are a lot of different types of solder, but what is important to remember is that for jewelry, you don't want to use lead solder since it will probably be touching someone's skin. If you were actually making stained glass or maybe creating other types of glass pieces that were not to be worn as jewelry, then regular lead solder would probably be fine to use. It really depends. Some stained glass artists prefer to use non-lead solder no matter what.

Flux: Just as with metal jewelry soldering, you cover the areas you plan to solder with flux.

Brush: A small, inexpensive paint brush is perfect for adding your flux.

Burnisher: You need something to burnish your copper foil against the glass. I just use a wooden dowel or even a pencil or pen to do this. I use a popsicle/craft stick stick

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