Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Copper Foiling Done
I cut all the glass for my transom and then it was time to put on the copper foil. This is what the solder sticks to. Solder will not stick to plain glass. It has to have some metal.
Copper foil comes in different sizes. I chose 1/4 inch. It has a sticky side and you have to peel the paper backing off and adhere the copper strip to the glass. It is important to place the glass right in the middle copper foil. If it is too much on one side you will be able to see it through the clear glass. And you want an even amount of solder on each side to hold everything together.
After I wrap the whole piece of glass, then I overlap it a bit and tear off the copper pulling it across my fingernail. I smooth it around the outside with my fingers. Press the edges down and when you get to the corners you have to mitre them. Kind of like hospital corners on a bed, or wrapping a Christmas present. Use your fingernail to push one edge all the way to the top and then fold down the other edge over it.
When you have smoothed everything down with your finger, you need to use a fid to press it tight. You don't want any loose spots. Burnish the edges and both sides with the fid. It is a made out of smooth plastic or wood and looks like a letter opener .
I tried to buy some flux at the local hardware, but they didn't have the kind I need. Plus, I really like way the copper looks with the blue glass. After I solder it, it will turn a dull silver. There is a chemical I can paint on after soldering that will give it back some of the copper patina. I ordered it from the same place I got the bevel cluster and the glass, Timeless Tiffany.
The plan is to have everything ready to go when the order gets here. I did learn a lesson about soldering glass in the cold. Years ago I was making a piece for my parents. I had it outside in our garage. It was winter, but not freezing or anything. When I started to solder, one of the glass pieces cracked. Oops. Re-cut, re-foil, remove solder from adjoining pieces so they can be moved and it can be put back, take in the house, re solder. No problem. Easy fix!!!
So this time I will warm up the room before I start to solder!