Antique Style Lamp Patterns, Lamp Forms, Stained glass cutting and Lamp construction information
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Soldering Iron

    In copper foil crafting, a light handy soldering iron equipped with a tip that does not pit is desirable. You can use any iron, large or small, a soldering gun, or even dime store irons, but they are not very handy and it is difficult to obtain the temperature adjustment needed. A soldering iron temperature control is very handy to keep the soldering tip from getting too hot! If you do more than just simple projects, purchase a good, small soldering iron, such as a 60, 80 or 100 watt Esico; they have interchangeable tips that are plated with iron, then a special alloy is overplated so they won’t pit.  A good lightweight iron is a pleasure to work with a 1/4” to 3/8” diameter pyramid type tip is handier for copper foil work, a chisel point type tip can also be used. Be sure the tip is tinned. The tip should be wiped occasionally on a wet sponge or cloth to remove oxides. Rub the tip on a solid sal ammoniac block to retin.


Soldering Flux
    For flux, use a mild water soluble flux. Flux cleans the copper foil allowing the solder to stick.  Apply with a small brush to prepare the foil so the solder will adhere.

Solder
    Solder should be 1/8” solid core in a 60% tin and 40% lead alloy. This alloy becomes liquid at approximately 370 degrees and is solid at about 360 degrees. It is recommended for all lamp shades and other stained glass work. A 50% tin and 50% lead alloy can also be used, it has a higher melting point, around 425 degrees.

Tack Solder Foiled Pieces Together

    Do not attempt to build or bead up seams on the form. Check to see that each foiled piece of glass is properly pinned in place.
    Apply the flux sparingly with a small brush by touching the foil only at the spot where the solder tack is to be placed. A solder tack is a small round glob of molten solder. Attach each piece to every other piece with small mounds of molten solder. Remove most of the pins.
     The solder tacks can be removed to adjust the glass parts if desired. As work progresses wipe the surface with a wet cloth or sponge to cool and clean.

Apply flux sparingly with a small brush


Tack solder parts together

Tin Outside Seams and make Flat Seam

    Remove  most of the pins, apply flux sparingly.   With a hot soldering iron flatten out the solder tacks and tin all the exposed copper foil with a flat seam.
    DO NOT attempt to fill and build  [bead up] seams  on the form. The lamp does not have to be level to tin  and make flat seams.  Burnish with a damp cloth to cool and clean.

Tinning: Apply a thin coat of solder over the foil

    Tinning of the exposed copper foil on the outside will stiffen the FullForm™ lamp or a section of a SectionalForm™ lamp enabling you to lift them off the form. Tinning also makes it easier to build up well rounded seams later on. It is also prevents the copper foil from oxidizing before you have completed all the sections of SectionalForms™. Be sure and burnish with wet cloth to clean the outside.
    Tip: If you are making a FullForm™ shade that turns in at the bottom you must remove the shade in two parts. We suggest separating C16 and CF18 shades as illustrated. Mark and carefully remove the upper and lower parts of a C16 lamp shade from the form. Then attach the rigid glass ring to the bottom of the shade.


Sectional Form construction only
    Carefully remove, and clean each glass section. Be sure you do not solder on the inside. Each panel can be placed back on the sectional form and pressed back into shape if necessary.  Store the first tinned glass section. After cleaning each tinned glass section, store them by cradling them in styrofoam peanuts or a similar material until all are completed. Resist the temptation to handle them.

Attach Glass Sections Together
    Sectional Construction Only - Do not miss this step - it is great time saver. Install temporary adjustable assembly loops. 

Assembly loops allow the positioning of the glass sections before they are permanently soldered together. Cut pieces of wire solder about 2" long (the same solder used for seams) and bend to form loops. Solder the ends of each loop to an outside horizontal seam so the solder loop will span between glass sections and temporarily hold them together. 


Loops span the seam between glass sections

Place the loops at the bottom, at the top and about three or four inches apart in the middle. Before soldering the glass sections together, gently bend the wire solder loops using your fingers or pliers to MOVE THE GLASS SECTIONS UP AND DOWN, IN AND OUT, AND TOGETHER FOR A  PERFECT FIT. Check for OVERALL ROUNDNESS of the lamp to be sure there has been no flattening of the glass sections. It is important to keep the bottom level. Any unevenness of the bottom is very noticeable.


Adjusting loops holding a six repeat glass section lamp prior to soldering together
The FIRST AREA soldered permanently together should be at seam intersections. Continue to solder by placing two or three small mounds of molten solder at seam intersections near the top, bottom, and center. Don't try to make rounded seams at this time. Snip or melt off the wire solder loops.
    Assembly loops also work well in the assembly of free form projects other than lamps.

Fill in Bridging Parts
    Sectional Construction Only - Follow this step only if your lamp shade has bridging glass pieces. Before cutting out the bridging pieces, test for fit. Some pattern adjustment may be necessary. Do one piece at a time to insure that they fit snugly. Foil wrap, solder and make a flat seam. Clean by rubbing with a wet cloth or sponge.


    Lamp shades made on FullForms™ and SectionalForms™ are now at the same point of construction. You have reached the fun part of lamp making and can actually see how the finished shade is going to look.