Always Stained Glass

Home News On Sale Classes Class Schedule Tips & Tricks Pattern Wish List Search Contact Us

Tips & Tricks  


Product Tips 

Cleaning is important to a quality stained glass project.  Clean glass edges with alcohol or acetate to improve foil adhesion.  Clean foiled pieces with Bronzo or 0000 steel wool shortly before soldering.  Once soldered, use flux remover to stop flux related oxidation.  Clean solder lines with Simichrome polish and buff to a bright silver.  Apply patina, remove excess patina from the glass without disturbing the patina on the solder, let patina dry for 24 hours, then buff lightly. Use finishing compound.  Clean finished work with a clean soft cloth sprayed lightly with a non-ammonia glass cleaner.

Great looking solder lines on your copper foil projects depend on a number of things.  First, cut, grind and fit to minimize the gaps between pieces, particularly curved edges.  Use fresh foil and center it carefully.    Burnish the foil edge first, then each side with a smooth tool to avoid tearing or crushing the foil.   The foil should be tight to the glass and smooth to the touch.  Trim the overlapped ends so they blend in.  The solder goes exactly where the metal foil is.  Torn, folded, crushed, uneven or missing foil will make the solder line look bad.  FIX YOUR FOIL BEFORE STARTING TO SOLDER. 

When replacing old soldering iron sponges, be sure to use cellulose or other natural sponges which will not melt and make a gooey mess on your iron.  We have these cut to size in the store.

Your soldering iron stand should hold the iron at an angle less than 45 degrees.  You donít need a protractor, just visualize the heat rising straight up AWAY from the iron handle rather than directly on it.  Bend the stand gently (when its cold) if needed.   Your iron will stay cooler and last longer.

TEST  all   contact  papers  before  using  them  for  mosaics,  etching  or  sandblasting.  Several students and customers have reported that the newer products do not stick as well and leave adhesive residue when the paper is removed.  We have recently learned that some, perhaps all, brands of clear adhesive backed shelf liners have been changed to make the  adhesive water soluble, which may explain the recent problems.  We use and sell a 4 mil resist in both clear and white that is made specifically for use with your mosaic, etching, or sandblasting projects.

Safety Tips

Watch those GLASS SLIVERS when breaking or grozing your glass.  Always wear SAFETY GLASSES.  Use a soft bench brush to clean up so slivers donít fly around and NEVER slide your hands on your cutting surface.  Using a MORTON BOARD is a great way to control slivers and avoid scratching your glass.  Keep slivers and other junk glass in a leak proof container.  When itís full, tape it up and label it before it goes to the garbage.

PROTECT YOUR LUNGS from those tiny particles of glass from your grinder.  Theyíre not toxic, but they are so small they can be inhaled and get caught in your lungs and cause breathing problems.  Always keep water in your grinder so they donít get into the air.  Clean out your grinder while the particles are wet and put them into a container with a closed top. 

CONTROL THE FUMES from soldering, chemicals like patina and even some cleaners.  One way is to use an exhaust fan over your work area.  Another way is to use a Fume Trap for Stained Glass which has a fan and a special filter.  At the very least,  crack a window and set up a regular fan so that it blows air to push the fumes away from your face.       

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 01/11/05