FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


Lynne Salcetti: When attaching filigree to the wings of the dragonfly lamp, I tack each filigree in two places on the glass wing and then put masking tape over the entire filigree, leaving the edges uncovered for soldering. This prevents any errant drops of solder from splashing on or under the filigree.
Nikki O’Neill: I found it worked well to pre-tin the filigree inside and out, making sure none of the little holes got plugged up with solder. Using lots of flux (or Action Tin) will help. I also tried to leave a little solder beaded up on the filigree to give it a better look. Once that was done, I scrubbed the filigree with CJ’s and soldered the filigree edges to the foiled glass. I was careful when doing the final soldering to not get any solder onto the filigree, except where the edges met the glass. (Masking tape helped here.) Where the filigree meets the glass, I made a bead around the edges to give it a finished look.
Joni Tornwall: When I made the poppy lamp, I put the leaf filigree on the underside of the glass because I felt that this “suggested” leaf veins - as opposed to “screaming” leaf veins! I think the way to decide on which side to use would be to hold the glass in front of a light source and place the filigree on one side of the leaf glass and then on the other side. As far as patina goes...the next time I use filigree I will apply the patina onto the back side before I solder the filigree to the lamp. Not doing this with the poppy lamp, I ended up seeing a shiny silver reflection coming from the back side of the filigree. I tried to flood the lamp with patina so that it would flow under the back side of the filigree, but then I ended up having to put the lamp into my whirlpool tub in order to get all the patina and flux out from behind the filigree!”
Kevin Hendon: When I made the 14” dragonfly, I treated the filigree as a separate entity to the shade. The first thing I did was to “Action Tin” the wings and set them aside. “Action Tin” is a liquid solder that you apply with a small torch. Any residual tin that covered the holes was just flicked off with my finger. When it came time to attach the filigree, I made sure the shade was tinned and beaded except for the area of attachment. I took each filigree, placed it over its glass piece and fluxed only the area of attachment with a tiny bit of flux and raised the bead slightly at the point of attachment. This gave a nice effect! Cleaning and patina was applied using the same procedures. Use a toothbrush to give each filigree a gentle scrub.
Barb Grollo: Before I applied the filigree to my dragonfly lamp, I tinned the filigree, 43 cleaned off the flux and patinated the back of the filigree while trying not to get too much patina on the front. Then I soldered the filigree to the wings, cleaned the lamp and applied patina to the whole lamp. After rinsing, I polished it. To clean in and around the filigree, I used old, soft bristle toothbrushes and then used medium bristle brushes around all the solder lines to clean away residue that was left from polishing.
Marci Hilt: I discovered that I could use canned pressurized air to get out bits of “stuff”
and then “superclean” between the filigree and glass.
Peter Grotepass:
• Clean filigree with nail polish remover and a piece of cloth - there might be some etching resist on either side that may interfere with perfect soldering.
• Use scissors to separate the “wings” and remove all the small “footbridges” from the edges. Do not remove the small circles at the ends of two of the wings.
• Put all the wings on your work surface and tin both sides, but don’t be concerned if the filigree starts moving in heated areas and the small holes get filled with solder.
• To remove the superfluous solder, hold one end of the filigree with pliers (or a wooden clothespin) and heat up the other end with your iron until the solder becomes fluid. Now, close your eyes and rap the pliers (holding the filigree) sharply on your work surface. Repeat this until your filigree is completely smooth and the holes have reappeared.
• Clean your filigree and the glass of the wings.
• Place the filigree on the wings. (The position of the small circles should be in the middle of the dragonfly’s body.)
• Before permanently soldering the filigree onto your dragonfly wings, attach each filigree to its underlying wing at only one small area to help determine and hold the correct position of all 4 filigrees. (You will probably have to make some compromises with the fit of the filigree to the glass. This is normal.)
• Finally, solder all filigree completely around their edges, but take care not to “fill up” the small holes of the filigree which cover the glass of your dragonfly wings.

Tina Alexander: Big gaps, such as occur around the dragonfly wings should be plugged with wads of copper foil or fine bronze wool before soldering.
Alex Glassman: Since you need the solder to flow into and fill up the whole gap, turn the shade at different angles. Try covering the gap with foil first and then solder it. Also, try to balance the gap by having the fulcrum point at the center of the wing. This gives you smaller gaps at either end instead of a big gap at one end.
Derek Windram: Cut blanks from 1/2” lead came, fashion and shape them to fit under the wings, then solder it all.
Tracey Christianson: To save time and solder, bridge the gaps between wings and background pieces with wider copper strips. Use a sheet of copper foil (purchase it from Odyssey) and make strips that are the width of the protruding part of the wings. Run the strips along the edge of the wings. Since the wings protrude at an angle, you will have to taper the wider strips. Use wax to hold these strips in place. Do a quick tack solder to keep the strips in place. Use your burnishing tool and run it along the strips to make sure they are flush up against the pieces surrounding the wings. Once each strip is secured with solder, you can proceed to solder the rest of the piece in place.
Barb Grollo: To avoid the large gaps on my Dragonfly, I used a mold and slumped the wings!
Vic Seested: Recently, I was told that it was not necessary to tin the filigree if I 44
planned to have a shade copper plated. This would certainly would be easier and would save some time.
Larry Cartales: It is correct that it is not necessary to tin filigree before plating, but you will find that the plated piece will have a much smoother look than the rest of the shade. I prefer tinning first so that the pieces, whether filigree or cap, will end up with the same textured appearance as the solder lines of the shade.
Lynne Salcetti: I have been helping new member, Cecil Gilcrease, with the 22" monster Dragonfly. I explained how I make a bridge with the solder on the wings, placing long pieces of the unmelted solder, tacking it on one end and cutting it off at the other end with the iron, like a picket fence. After the wing is filled in, I carefully smooth out the whole thing with more solder. It works, but you have to be careful so it won’t melt through. Cecil went home, and when I talked to him later, he had a new and improved way of filling in the wings. He simply used the braided flex wire in the same configuration. No more drip through or big holes to fill in. So simple, and it had been right in front of my nose. Another thing I learned from Cecil, was to ask my dentist for any broken or bent dental picks (stainless steel, so nothing sticks to them). They are great for pulling up foil that has gotten squished into the seams and for placing the braided wire into tight spaces. Actually, a hundred different uses. Thanks for the great tips, Cecil. You can teach an old dog new tricks!