I wrapped up the stained glass for the Thorsen cabinet today, leaving just the rub out and final assembly for tomorrow.
The glass took longer than I expected. The process, once all the pieces are cut and fit, is to clean them, add the copper foil tape and solder them together. Sounds simple, and it is. It takes some time to do the steps, but what really soaked up the time (and heat) was the copper frame I made.
Rewinding: I made a copper surround for the stained glass, because I wanted a solder bead around the periphery of glass. Copper is a great conductor, and it really pulled the heat out of my soldering iron. I’ll have to get a bigger iron before I do this again. The one I have has plenty of power to solder glass, but not really enough to solder a copper frame like this.
It took a long for the copper to heat up enough so I could flow in the solder, and I had to move really slowly. This made my solder seams along the copper a little sloppy, although they don’t really show in the finished cabinet. It sort of reminded me of my first welding project when I was a kid. I had a ’73 Pontiac Firebird and I wanted to put a roll cage in it. I bought an oxyacetylene welder and used that to weld the tubing in. If you’re not in the know about welding, that’s not the typical way to do the job. I had to use a giant tip on the torch. It felt like I was welding with a forest fire, and it took forever for the metal to get hot enough to form a puddle.
The roll cage came out looking good, and I think this will be ok too.
After soldering I scrubbed the assembly to get rid of the flux. Then I applied a black patina, and polished the seams. This shot is with the cabinet door sitting on top of the glass panels. They aren’t installed yet because I still need to rub the finish out.