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Stained glass lead soldering is FAR easier than soldering copper foil . The main reason for this is that you are only soldering a small area each time rather than along a whole seam.
Think cake decorating; it’s the difference between piping a whole border and piping a Swiss dot.

The ‘Leaded Stained Glass Artistry’ course is full of extra tips and advice to develop your leaded glass skills – Click to See if the course is right for you here.

Stained Glass Lead Soldering In Easy Steps

a good leaded stained glass joint
A good leaded stained glass joint

1. Tools and Materials Needed

Soldering Iron. 50/50 Stained Glass Solder. Lead Came. Soldering Iron Holder. Natural sponge to clean iron tip. Wire Brush. Old Toothbrush. Flux.
Notes on tools:

  1. Soldering Iron. I use either a Hakko FX-601 set at 360C or a Weller 100 with a standard 7 tip (700F).
    To check the Weller tip temperature: Unscrew the soldering iron tip and check the number on the end. 7 = 700F,  8 = 800F. 8 is too hot for stained glass lead soldering. It is for copper foil soldering.
  2. Solder. 50/50 solder is most often used for soldering lead came. You can use 60/40 but you have to work quicker or turn the heat of the iron down.
  3. Flux. Tallow, liquid or paste will all work.

2. Stained Glass Lead Soldering – What To Aim For

good joint size for stained glass lead soldering
Good joint size for stained glass lead soldering

A stained glass lead solder joint should:

  • be a strong union between the lead came and the solder. To get this make sure that both metals heat up during the stained glass lead soldering process.
  • contain enough solder to join both pieces of lead together successfully. be flatter or slightly raised. This is a question of what you prefer.
  • create a T-shape and be a tiny bit wider than the width of the lead came

The ‘Leaded Stained Glass Artistry’ course is full of extra tips and advice to develop your leaded glass skills – Click to See if the course is right for you here..

3. Getting Started With Stained Glass Lead Soldering

Friendly safety reminder: Always ventilate the room when you are stained glass lead soldering. Wear gloves when handling lead came.

  • Firstly, clean all the lead joints thoroughly with the wire brush
  • Check that all the lead is still in place and hasn’t moved during the cleaning process
  • Immediately flux each joint to prevent oxidation
  • Turn the iron on and test it is hot enough
  • Hold both the solder and the iron tip over the joint
  • For beginners I recommend melting a blob on the joint first with the side of the tip
  • Then turn the tip so that it’s flat on the solder and hold for a few seconds until the solder is melted and shiny.
  • Finally, Do NOT ‘iron’ with the soldering iron, keep it still! You don’t want to spread the solder too far and make an unsightly mess
steps for soldering lead came
Steps for soldering lead came

4. Finishing Up

  • First of all check you’ve soldered all the joints on side 1 (I bet you miss one!)
  • Clean the flux off each joint with a toothbrush or similar
  • Carefully turn the panel over
  • Repeat the steps in 3. above

5. 3 Ways To Rescue Mistakes

Watch this short video to see how to rescue 3 common ‘YIKES’ moments that often happen when stained glass lead soldering.
It finishes off by showing you how to create a perfect solder join with lead came. Good luck with your soldering!

P.S. The ‘Leaded Stained Glass Artistry’ course is full of extra tips and advice to develop your leaded glass skills – Click to See if the course is right for you here.

There are lots more leaded stained glass tutorials on this page that take you through each step in order

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