Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward!

So after a highly successful trip to Anything in Stained Glass, I came home and continued working on soldering my Mario piece.  Everything was going along swimmingly until I committed a fatal error.  I'm not sure exactly what I did, but I suspect I used the hot soldering iron to pick up some solder on a piece of glass, which caused the glass to crack.

It's kind of hard to see, but I've circled the crack in the glass.

After muttering a few words that I shouldn't repeat here, I decided that this piece was too nice to allow a cracked bit to remain.  I did some research on the internet and found a website explaining how to remove the old piece:  http://www.freepatternsforstainedglass.com/repairing-copper-foil.html

First I took my glass cutter and scored the broken piece, then I tapped the underside.  This created more breaks in the piece until I could finally pull some of it out with needle nose pliers.

 After pulling out the first piece, I began carefully pulling out all the other pieces and using my soldering iron to weaken the join between the foil on this piece and the pieces surrounding it.  Once I did that, I pulled out the old foil and removed all the extra solder possible, leaving me with a perfect hole where the broken piece used to be.

Sorry - I took this picture from the back side, but you get the idea.
Then, I cut a new piece and ground it until I could get it to comfortable fit in the hole.  I foiled it and then prepared to put it in.  This step has one tricky bit - the solder on the other side means that you can just lay the piece in - it will fall through and be at the wrong height.  The instructions on the website above suggests laying some quarters down underneath your new piece and using them to get the correct height.  The problem with this solution is if your beads of solder on the backside aren't perfectly quarter height, you are out of luck.  When Jack from Anything in Stained Glass assisted me with refoiling and inserting the pieces of glass that I had pulled out of the edge, he showed me a really great trick.  You take part of a business card, and you fold it in half twice lengthwise.  The cardstock then creates a slight spring to it.  If you slide that under the piece you are working on inserting, the piece will lift.  You can then press it lightly down to the corrected height and tack it into place.

Once I did that, I could then rough solder the piece and then complete the finish soldering.  As you can see, it's nearly impossible to tell that the piece of glass was replaced.

And now, you can see what the soldering looks like now that it's mostly complete!

All that's left is to patina the solder, wax it, and frame the piece. 

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