Finishing and Cleaning
Your panel looks a bit disgusting until it is cleaned and polished.
- First you must remove ALL of the flux and it’s residue from the glass and the solder. There are neutralizing products that will stop the flux from being caustic.
- One more thorough rinse is recommended once you think the panel is clean.
- Patina is the effect on the surface of the metal caused by a chemical reaction. There are premixed solutions available to change the solder from it’s silver color to copper, bronze and black. You can also mix a solution of copper sulphate (available inexpensively as crystals) Experiment with the strength of the solution to achieve the color you prefer. This is wiped along the solder joints to leave the desired effect, which will vary with the amount of copper in solution, the temperature at which it is applied and with the length of time you leave it before rinsing again.
- Before you apply a wax or polish finish to your panel, make sure it is completely dry. Pay close attention to the solder joints – rubbing the wax onto all of the surfaces as you apply it.
- Once a cloudy film is seen, you can begin buffing. Start at one corner and work your way across the panel, rubbing each piece of glass and it’s borders individually. Use a soft rag (not paper towel). Pieces of old sweatshirt work well. Use a clean piece as soon as the cloth becomes blackened. You must get all of the excess wax off on both sides of each piece of glass or a haze will appear. White crud will form at corners and along the edge of seams if you have not cleaned the panel completely before waxing.
If you decide to use hardware to hang the panel, solder it to a seam and take into account that the panel will probably need to be able to hang level. If you are adding hardware to secure a panel in a frame, space the hardware as evenly as possible and make sure that the panel is clean on both sides before securing it in the frame. Desoldering and recleaning is an annoying job.
© 2009 Jackie Barnaby
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