Sunday, March 23, 2008

First Soldering Charm Success :)

Yay! I finally have a charm that turned out like it should. I have experienced soldering success :)

I learned a number of lessons from my last experience soldering:

1. It is important to burnish down the copper tape or it will just peel back and crispify and such

2. The blow torch is too strong. It turns the tape into a burnt, discoloured crisp and makes the glass smoky.

3. It is important to not only wrap the two pieces with copper tape individually, but to also wrap them together with another layer. Otherwise they are too difficult to hold with pliers, they move when you don't want them to and the image inside gets burnt to a crisp.

4. 'Soldering irons' that cost 2.50 are not sufficient. A glue gun gets hotter than that piece of crap :p

So, I kept all these lessons in mind. I went out and bought a soldering iron that works today. I burnished down the copper tape, used the new soldering iron, wrapped the two pieces together and checked it out.

As you can see by the pictures along the side, this turned out FAR better than the burnt mess i tossed out from my previous experience. I really like the picture i have inside here. I clipped the pic from a book at an ATC meeting. The bg is a piece of map that i also grabbed from the meeting. They have the most wonderful stuff to look through at the meetings! I feel so blessed to have a great group like this here in my hometown. I am also fairly pleased with the texture to the solder. It is not perfectly smooth, but it is fairly smooth, and definitely a pleasure to touch :)

So, I have remedied the problems from the previous time, but still have some more lessons i learned through this time:

1. I suck at cutting glass straight. The pieces were not even. This did not RUIN the piece, but it would have been better with even sides. I think i need a better glass cutting tool (better than my 7$ one...) but don't want to spend a bunch of money on it.

2. When wrapping the individual pieces with copper tape, make sure you know which side is the inside, and which is the outside. Make sure the inside is not longer than the outside, unless you want a bunch of copper tape showing inside. Best to make the inside far thinner than the outside. A little is ok, but i think this one had too much copper tape showing.

3. Do not leave soldering iron in one place for too long. The glass will crack. (see photo with red circle marking crack. I was so sad when this happened. I glued the hook on top of part of it, but the rest of it is still visible. I don't think it highly affects the integrity of the piece, as it seems to be holding together fine. However, i don't like the look of the crack along the back there.

4. Gel medium does not glue copper to glass. Crazy glue works far better. Luckily, no damaging results or lowered quality from this one, just had to redo the gluing.

So, all in all, i would call this a success! The end result shows my newb status, but still is something i can be proud of. I will only get better from here (I hope...).


justjen said...

Hi Dale. Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your kind words. I've enjoyed reading about your experiments in crafting. I too, find the learning curve frustrating at times. My first soldering efforts were for a swap where I needed to make 21 charms.Well, I made about fifty before I could get the 21 I needed to send off! Keep trying and reading everything you can get your hands on. Practice makes perfect.Do you have the book, Simple Soldered Jewelry?

Anonymous said...

Yaay you did it! It looks incredible and it is clear you learned alot of valuable hints (alot of the things you mentioned I don't remember seeing in any book). It is great that you have plunged in and done such a wonderful job - I have had my soldering iron for a year and still not tried anything!

Thank you so much for the comments on my blog - it is always great to know we are not alone in this creative world of our :). Oh and the neutral toned felt object - will be a bag whenever I get round to attaching the handle and fastening - I always have too many projects on the go!