One of the challenges of stained glass crafting for beginners is achieving smooth solder lines. Unless you have a clean soldering iron tip, your solder simply will not co-operate to flow smoothly. One of the BIG mistakes I first made was to try and sand down my soldering iron tip with steel wool in order to clean it. Never do this! Instead, take a look at this video for tips on how to correctly care for your soldering iron:
- Lead or lead-free? Keep them separate!
- Use a cellulose (not plastic) damp sponge when soldering.
- Only have the iron on when you are actually using it!
- Tin the tip frequently, and especially before turning off the iron.
- Remove the tip occasionally (the size is on the end of the tip if you need to replace it).
- You can also purchase a “tinning block” (sal-ammoniac) to clean your tip. This is available at most stained glass suppliers.
- Make sure that you have a sturdy stand to hold your soldering iron in place.
- For more extensive info, see the Inland Soldering Iron Tip Care and Maintenance webpage.