5.01.2007

My second attempt (25 years later).

Soldering. My mother taught me when I was four. I first made an owl out of three glass discs, one for the body, two for the eyes. She used to make these incredible stained glass panels all the time. We had a "stained glass workshop" in the basement and everything. She made my kindergarten classroom a panel of a panda bear on roller skates. My teacher hung it up and I was SOOO proud that my mom made it. Recently I went back to that old workshop, which is dusty and rusty now (my mother was somehow side-tracked by five kids, basket weaving, painting, quilting and writing a book). I pulled out some old soldering irons, and chose the least rusty.


This is my first attempt at soldering, again. So I suppose its my second. Or third, as I know how to MIG, TIG and arc weld steel and bronze. How different can this be?

I taught myself this time, I had some copper foil tape and the iron. I went to the hardware shop and found some flux and lead-free solder (pronounced sodder) from the plumbing department.

There were a lot of choices, I ended up going for the one that had the least amount of words on the package and NO LEAD.
I want a way to display my butterfly wings under glass. The blue ones get ruined with my resin, so I needed a better plan. This was my hope.

The first one came out GREAT! I smushed the wing a little, didnt add enough solder, and my foil wasn't wide enough. But it came out perfect (if you dont mind the glass eventually falling out)! The solder lines are smooth and clean. I realize now that I need a new iron. The heat stopped coming out of the tip, and I had to start using the upper part of the shaft. As you can see in the top photo, the iron is a mess.


But I'm learning. It always takes a few tries. Heres my next attempt:

This one has a bit too much solder on it, a little messy,as I was really excited from my blue ones success. I got flux all over it, and the wing got wet, as you can see. Looks good to me!

Overall, soldering and stained glass is a real artform. Its not hard, but its not easy. The craft and skill comes over time with practice. I think having the right tools might help. Something tells me the professionals dont use a rusty iron.

14 comments:

Terri said...

Those pendants are beautiful. I bought a soldering iron and it's still in the package ;D Oh well, some day!

canary said...

Very interesting blog.
Kisses

Ivy said...

Good for you! I tried a few times but never got the hang of it. Maybe you've inspired me to try again!

jessprkle said...

awesome work, crystal! soldering is so fun!
*jes*

Sewlutions' World said...

Gasp..Those as beautiful, you are very talented.

Rachelle said...

This brings back memories! I remember learning to solder so that I could mod my Playstation, lol!

Sandra Eileen - Artisan Jewelry For Your Good Life said...

I want to solder, your pendants are very pretty.

Chantelle said...

These are so beautiful! I wish I could solder like you :)

Chantelle (Angelstuff: http://angelstuff.etsy.com)

Amy said...

order a new small tip to go on that soldering iron..don't buy a new one.... i have two tips..small for pendants and a large one for my larger glass pieces... be careful when replacing the old tip because you don't want to break the ceramic piece. use two wrenches and twist at the top opposite directions. are you using the gel flux?? if not go and get that so that the old flux does not run everywhere...

they look fantastic... i need to post my buttefly pendant to show you mine...(i just could not resist making it since i found the poor little thing laying in my front yard!) GREAT JOB! :)

shopPOPKO said...

amy, do i win oldest iron award if i tell you the tip is metal? i will try to get a new one if it allows, thanks for the advice. im using the gel flux, but dont know the best way to apply it. Q-tip was messy. I cant wait to see your butterfly piece!

Amy said...

i use a brush!!!! i just got a new iron because my old one had a hole burnt through one side...haha...it was getting way too messy!

i will try and remember to take some pictures of my pendant :)

kapcity said...

wow really beautiful! I can't wait to see your next attempts

urban bloom said...

nice job.

i'm so excited you posted on the etsy forums about your blog - i keep scrolling back for more posts. : )

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