Learning from past projects undone

While unpacking my many boxes of supplies, sundries and miscellany this afternoon, I came upon several small projects I completed years ago as window catchers / Christmas ornaments / gifts that were in a little box, returned to me for repairs.  While it saddens me to that the workmanship of my early work needs improvement, I also find a lot of lessons learned in every project that comes apart in some way – additionally, these projects help me to celebrate every subsequent project that stays together as it should!

Today’s repair-ee is a small hummingbird window-catcher.  The design was probably pilfered from the internet or something I saw at a craft fair along the way, but it makes for a fun use of bright colours, and a lovely gift (when the wings don’t fall off…)

The issue with this particular piece is the horizontal solder line between the wing and the body.  A straight solder joint between two pieces of glass (copper-foil method) is the weakest joint in a stained glass piece – the two edges of glass have no directionally opposed counter to prevent folding, as has happened here.

The result: the solder is stronger than the adhesive of the copper foil to the glass.  The glass bends from whatever force has been exerted on it at the joint, and pulls out of its foil edging, as in the image below.

The remedy?  Heating up the existing solder in the joint and removing the wing.  The wing then needs to be re-foiled around the edges, and re-soldered back into place.  The REAL remedy is in placing some bracing into the solder joint at first go, to prevent upward or downward force from pushing the wing out of its foil casing.  A small piece of wire laid along the line on the side of the body, then bent into an L shape to carry out along the edges of the wing would serve this purpose, adding strength to the corners of the joint and resisting breakage of the copper foil.

Sadly, as the owner of this piece hoped, crazy glue can’t put this baby back together!




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