Friday, November 7, 2008

Super Solder

Saturday morning, I headed out to Chinook to the Inspiration Glass store to pick up more background glass. It's a stunning hour drive, even in a mild rain. While I was there, they were teaching a beginner class. Well, these women were doing beautiful soldering. No lumps, bumps, pills, spikes,,none of the things that plague my solder. So I was very careful to observe just how they were holding the soldering iron and the solder in relation to the glass and each other. Sup rise!! I was doing it all wrong. It's a tiny shop but they teach a variety of classes there, including decorative soldering and a class they call Super Solder..that's the one I want.

In the winter it gets to be a little scary. The arctic storms roar through the Columbia River mouth, sometimes at 90 mph. Trees crash across the road and rain pounds so hard you just can't see to drive. So classes will have to wait until spring. I managed to get out of the store without too much credit card debt and drove back home.

Sunday I finished cutting glass, and foiled Monday night in front of the TV.

I finally had some time yesterday morning to solder. It definitely went more smoothly (no pun intended) using the new method. I still get too much solder going, and I'm not really happy with the way the iron fluctuates temperature, but as I've read, "It's a poor craftsman that blames his tools." I'll just have to make more projects so I can practice more. Oh darn!

I had never used lead came to wrap a project before so I was a little nervous about doing that correctly. I was worried about securing it properly to the glass, and about attaching the chain in a way that was secure. So I very carefully measured the diameter..21" just like I planned, and multiplied by pi. OK so I cheated and used a calculator, but hey, I wanted it to be accurate. Then just to be sure I added a 1/4 of an inch, thinking if it were too long, I could always trim it shorter, but if it was too short, I was in hot water. I'll e darned if it wasn't 1/4" too short anyway! I apparently didn't figure in the occasional irregularity in my "round" project. I wrapped the lead from bottom to top, thinking that the weight would be cradled instead of pushing on the seam, made a patch, and soldered the thing in there as best as I could.

Then began what I refer to as....The Chain Fiasco. I wanted to keep the handy hanger attachments for the chain away from any seams, on the glass and on the exterior lead came, so I put them at about 2:30 and 9:30. That seemed really secure, only to discover we would not have been able to hang the darned thing without the chain cutting across the glass..even if hung by two hooks (which I plan to do). So back off it came, and I re-did the chain. Learn something every day. I'll get it boxed and shipped off this week, with hanging instructions for the maintenance folks at the apartment building.

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