New soldering technique

Been a busy time for me lately. 2011 has begun with a butt-whipping, lots of health problems, for my mom and myslef. It’s no good. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to be working on glass. Working on the breaching whale. It has been very nice to work on a piece that wasn’t a bunch of little tiny pieces. I purposely made the pieces fairly large, except for maybe 4 of them.

quickie photo from my phone

Tried a new solder technique. I have to thank the ladies at Makin Glass, Kim and Mary, for the tip. In the past, I have bumped all the pieces together and just began soldering. I remember someone telling me long ago, maybe in the first class I took, to spot solder your joints together to hold them into place. I stopped doing that because of how I assemble the thing, it all hold into place, it doesn’t need to be tack soldered, I felt. But I have never been super happy with my soldering. It isn’t smooth, there are lines and ridges, I get melt through… there are several things I am not happy with.

I asked the ladies if they had a soldering class. They asked me specificallyw hat I wanted, I told them the problems that I was having. So Mary at Makin Glass tells me to use 50/50 solder to flat solder the entire piece. That fills it all in with the less expensive solder that melts at a higher temp. Makes sense. Then you go back and add the 60/40 solder to create your rounded top. Sounds simple right? Well shoot… it is. And it works great.

A friend bought me a DVD of professional soldering tips, by Vicki Payne, who is a big name in the industry. I love that they bought me the dvd as a thank you, but wow is it not very useful. Watched the whole thing, learned a couple things. Like that there is a water-based flux! that is so cool! Less corrosive, and you can just rinse it with water, not all the chemical neutralizing stuff. Even after you clean off regular solder, there is still a film or etched area, against the solder. It is small and you really have to look to see it, but it is there. I learned how to fill in large areas of solder, like if you are using glass beads and you have large gaps… anyway, it wasn’t that useful. No close-ups to see her technique, she didn’t explain about the temps at which the assorted solders melted. She did talk about using the iron and temp control, about raising and lowering the temp, and that gave me a couple tips, which i used to goood effect.

Still, instructional dvd’s for this industry really do suck ass. I am going to keep that in mind as I move forward with this. Maybe I can get to a point where I could shoot a video and market it.

(An aside here: it is snowing. This is a rare thing where I live, for it to snow in town. It snows outside of town, and in the very nearby mountains, but for it to snow in town, for any length of time, and for it to stick… awesome. it has been going for about 30 minutes now, and is starting to stick. Big flakes, lots of them… so beautiful. I keep pausing in my typing and just gazing out of the window.)

I have completed one whole side, and just need to finished the other. I will only be using patina on the whale tself, so that part will go fast, then it is just polishing the solder to a high gloss. and she will be done.

I have a client who wants a frog pice for her daughter, for her birthday. I need to figure out if I am actually going to do it. Another previous customer wants a small lampshade. I want to do lampshades for my bedroom, for the reading lights on each side of my bed. The first attempt didn’t go so well, but I had a dream recently, and have an interesting idea for a shade, and I kinda want to work on it… And then there is the jellyfish piece. That one is a monster, and it will take a couple months to do. So maybe I will do the frog and lampshades first.

ok, enough lollygagging around. need to get int he shower and go run errands, do stuff for work… the chores never ever cease.

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~ by kellig on February 17, 2011.

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