solder on the back side of green stained glass panel
Solder bleeds through to other side

Question:

I was soldering a piece of glass (copper foil). The solder bled through which I have had happen before except this time it “pooled” in large clumps and actually raised the pieces I was soldering…any thoughts on this?..I tried a gel flux which was new to me. I had not done a piece in a long time and thought may I lost my touch soldering. So I am I not sure if it was a solder issue, a flux issue or an iron issue or artist related.

Milly’s reply:

mmm… I’ve been thinking about this problem… it could be a variety of things:

1. As you haven’t done stained glass for a while your cutting could be less accurate, with wider gaps for the solder to flow down.

2. Your iron might be too hot, causing the solder to melt too much. Turn the rheostat down to somewhere between 700 – 750F or check you’ve got the correct temperature tip in if it’s a thermostatically controlled one. If all this is ok, get the iron checked out by an expert.

Getting a smooth soldered seam on green stained glass
Getting a smooth soldered seam

3. You might simply be slower at soldering than you were, causing the solder to melt too much.

4. I’d be surprised if it was the flux as liquid flux is more likely than gel flux to cause the problems you mention but you could try some of your other flux to check the difference.

5. Have you started using 60/40 rather than 50/50 solder? Only the 60/40 flows more easily than the 50/50 and might be the cause of your problem.

soldering iron soldering stained glass
Using the correct solder helps

If none of this works, one temporary solution is to put a damp towel or flannel under the piece while you’re soldering. It will instantly cool the solder when it touches it and stop it pooling.

I hope that helps! If you need more you can find more soldering information here.

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