In making a stunning stained glass art object, numerous stained-glass instruments and accessories are used. Few tools in your kit, though, will see as much use or have as much impact on the production of your finished work as your soldering iron.
The difference between a good soldering iron and a poor one can be significant, and a good iron can make your job go faster and be more fun. But how do you know the soldering iron is best for you and which is the most cost-effective?
Many stained-glass artists keep three separate irons on hand, varying in strength from medium to heavy. We’ll show you a short rundown of our top choices for the best-stained glass soldering irons currently available. We’ll go over each soldering iron on our list of top picks in detail, then summarize what we’ve learned.
The Hakko FX601-02, our top pick in this series, is the industry standard for entry-level soldering irons for stained glass for a good reason. This unit’s ceramic center heats up efficiently and bounces back quickly after being cleaned with a wet sponge. It’s light and comfortable to use.
Beginner and intermediate stained-glass artists will benefit tremendously from the iron, which will last a long time. It can do almost anything short of professional use, but it isn’t the most durable iron on the list, so use it with caution. For certain people, this is the only iron they’ll ever use.
The Hakko FX601 is a soldering iron with a ceramic part that is ideal for two tasks. Thanks to the lack of a prominent metal feature, it’s skinny, and it heats up very quickly. This is the perfect choice for Hakko-stained glass soldering irons because it has enough strength to quickly reheat the tip if it cools too much but not so hot that it melts the lead.
Although this soldering iron only has a wattage of 67, it works similarly to a 100-watt soldering iron with a wire element rather than a ceramic element. While most adjustable temperature soldering irons do not sustain a constant temperature, the FX601 does so within a +-10-degree range, which isn’t a concern. The heat recovery is also extremely fast, which is ideal if you frequently clean the tip.
This is the one to use if you need a soldering iron that heats up quickly and is lightweight. If you can’t decide between the Weller 100 watt and the Hakko, it comes down to personal choice. Each has a similar trade-off, with one heating quicker and the other retaining heat for a more extended period. If you’re uncertain about your precise criteria, we highly encourage you to start here!
- Entry-level soldering irons
- Light and comfortable
- Easily re-heat the tip
- Big metal feature
- Relatively delicateÂ
The American Beauty, which manufactures professional-quality soldering irons and has two entries on our list of the best soldering irons for stained glass, is our next best pick. Though we suggest the Hakko 65 Watt for almost any hobbyist level use, serious artists may need something a little more robust at some stage. The American Beauty 200-Watt iron is here to help.
These irons are heavy-duty machines. They’re tough and strong, and they’ll take on just about anything you throw at them. It makes up for its lack of bells and whistles in raw wattage and quality construction as compared to the Hakko with its adjustable temperature. Overall, once you’re able to upgrade from your entry-level soldering irons, we think this one is well worth your consideration!
- Tough and strong
- Quality construction
- Adjustable temperature
- Few bells and whistles
The American Beauty 3178-300, like our choice for best Midrange soldering iron, is a total beast in efficiency and longevity. As previously said, this iron is overkill outside of a formal environment with heavy usage and anticipated wear and tear.
High-duty irons from American Beauty are suitable for heavy soldering work and production-line conditions. Both components show unsurpassed heat capability and excellent longevity after compression winding a special Nichrome heating alloy onto a steel spool. For maximum strength and performance, protective casings cut from a single block of steel are reinforced with multiple heat treatments and precision brazed.
Hardwood handles are more durable and have better thermal and electrical insulating properties. Users also confirmed that they use this product for a variety of tasks, including but not limited to: checking fire alarms in no-flame environments (gas stations).
It’s not the cheapest device on the market, but with a raw power rating of 300 watts, it’s a compelling choice for high-end consumers in challenging environments. If you’re willing to invest in a high-end machine, the American Beauty 300 Watt should be your first option. Make this the last stained glass soldering iron you’ll ever need to get.
- Efficiency and longevity
- High-duty irons
- Protective casings cut
- Unsurpassed heat capability
- Low durabilityÂ
Our next pick didn’t quite cut in any of our divisions, but we thought it deserved mention due to its widespread appeal. With a fantastic 100 Watts and a wire-wound element, the Weller W100PG is another entry to mid-range alternative.
In contrast to the Hakko, this iron is more robust, and it can last a long time for beginner and advanced stained-glass enthusiasts until they need to upgrade. For a good cause, Weller soldering irons are well-known in the stained-glass world.
They’re popular because they’re dependable, last for years, and can handle a wide range of applications, making them the ideal soldering iron for stained glass work. The nichrome wound part has enough heat power for most projects and can maintain enough heat to keep solder running over long runs.
As compared to ceramic, wire wound elements take longer to heat up, but the Weller 100w soldering iron seems to have enough wattage to heat up quickly. Another excellent feature is that the W100PG is temperature-controlled, ensuring that the solder is melted, so no lead is used in stained glass.
The tips are interchangeable and simple to alter, ideal for anyone who switches between tips often. After prolonged use, Weller’s W10PG is well balanced in hand and does not feel bulky or excessively strong. You really cannot match the Weller W100PG unless you are a beginner or an expert in the stain glass craft.
It’s not often that you come across items that are both robust and affordable, such as this stained-glass soldering iron. You will not be disappointed if you pair it with a good soldering iron station.
- Wide range of applications
- Interchangeable tips
- It does not feel bulky
- No temperature controlsÂ
You are not alone if you are unfamiliar with Teshome and its soldering irons. This manufacturer is more well-known among factory workers and professional tradesmen, but it is also famous among larger stained-glass stores, where I first learned of them. The brand has been around for decades, and I know people who claim to have soldering irons made by TasiHome are just as vintage.
They still have outstanding customer support and react quickly to repairs. Of necessity, much of this comes at a price, and their collection of irons will set you back significantly further. This specific soldering iron with a hatchet handle, on the other side, is very ergonomic and is ideal whether you need to solder at unusual angles or just like to wear it this way.
Users also praise the Paragon iron-clad lead-free soldering tip for its durability and consistency. Parts can be quickly switched out due to the modular architecture. The American Beauty 100 watt ergo lamp is very durable and will last a long time. If you need anything for more extensive work, it’s even usable in higher wattage setups.
If you’ve attempted Weller and Hakko and aren’t done, the American Beauty soldering irons are worth considering. They still have a large selection of units with hundreds of watts of capacity, which is beneficial for artists who choose to stick with the same brand to predict output through versions.
- Reupdated brand
- High watts capacity
- Lead-free soldering tip
- Very durable
- No temperature controlsÂ
Hexacon is a decent and dependable soldering iron maker that you might not be familiar with. They’ve been around for a long time. Their popularity is mainly known among industrial firms, but the stained-glass group, especially those working on large projects with thicker metals, has discovered how great these soldering irons are.
Hexacon soldering irons, like American Beauty, are a heavy-duty workhorse with a heavy-duty plug-tip and are optimized for continuous service with quick heat recovery. The case is made of nickel-plated alloy steel and can contain a significant amount of heat. When the hot iron is dropped, the defensive front nut can withstand the impact and shock, which would otherwise destroy the product.
If you deal with brass or other heavier metals in your stained-glass service, you can indeed suggest a device like this, which has a wattage of 250 watts and is accessible with even more wattage. While the price of a heavy-duty Hexagon soldering iron is a consideration to remember, the pace and productivity you’ll gain on a big job will make it worthwhile.
- Heavy-duty workhorse
- Nickel-plated alloy steel
- High durability
- Heavy-duty plug-tip and
- A bit expensive
Can you use any soldering iron for stained glass?
For stained glass, you don’t want to use that trusty soldering iron. The stained glass needs a high level of accuracy. Soldering iron with a reliable ceramic heating device would serve for most small-scale stained-glass designs. Ceramic soldering irons heat up rapidly and retain their temperature for lengthy periods. Only industrial-scale schemes include the use of electric wire soldering irons.
Choose a soldering iron with a temperature range that can be modified. You can safely move between the copper foil and lead-based stained-glass ventures thanks to a precise onboard temperature dial. Furthermore, make sure your iron has an ergonomic handle that enables you to use it easily from either perspective.
What kind of solder is used for stained glass?
Some soldiers are more adapted for stained glass than others. 60-40 solder, which contains 60% tin and 40% lead, is the most common and simplest to deal with solder for stained glass seams. For copper foil and lead came seams, this solder is ideal. You may also use 50-50 solder, which is 50 percent tin and 50 percent lead.
On Inox treatments and lamp seams, 50-50 solder is often used. Remember, the 50-50 solder results in a less bulbous bead than the 60-40 solder. For beginners, 50-50 solder is not the right choice since it does not flow as quickly as 60-40 solder.
As it comes to stained glass seams, solid-core solder is the way to go. Also, the solder can have a diameter of approximately 0.062 and 0.125 inches. Spools weighing one pound are suitable for stained glass work since they can be comfortably managed by one side.
How do you fix soldered stained glass?
The glass will shatter at any moment. When it is, you’ll need to pave the path for the new parts by removing the original solder line and shattered glass fragments. First, cut and grind your replacement glass to ensure that it fits perfectly in the broken portion of your stained-glass frame. Remember that the replacement glass can be significantly bigger than the hole it is supposed to cover.
By laying a slice of new glass over the spot that has to be replaced, you will do this. Develop a stencil of the damaged glass fragment on the new glass with a felt-tipped pen.
And, using a regular glass cutter, score the glass along the lines. You should split the substitute component out from the glass base until the glass has been scored. Allow further cuts if possible. After that, double-check the repair part and make sure it suits. If you do have your original glass stencil, you should use it.
What is the best temperature to solder stained glass?
While soldering stained glass, the iron should be adjusted to about 700 degrees Fahrenheit. At 700 degrees Fahrenheit, solder becomes liquid. For all times, the iron must sustain a constant temperature.
You could get cold spots if you don’t. It’s important to note that 60-40 solder melts at a lower temperature than 50-50 solder. It’s essential to keep a careful eye on your soldering iron’s temperature, as high temperatures will break the glass.
How do you remove oxidation from stained glass?
Copper foil and lead lines in stained glass will oxidize over time. An essential combination of white vinegar and salt should be used to cure unsightly oxidation. A powder silver cleaner may also be used. Apply the polish to the oxidized lines using a clean cotton cloth or nylon brush.
Scrub the metal seams softly with your rag. This can be done on all sides of the panel. Dip the brush or rag into the water until you’re finished. This dilutes the cleaner, exposing any places that need further focus. Stained glass creations may be renewed in a short amount of time. What you’ll need are a few basic supplies and some elbow grease.
We’ve gone through a lot of helpful information on what makes a decent stained glass soldering iron. Among a range of stained-glass soldering irons, we’ve provided our top recommendations for different price points. However, only you can determine which iron is better for your needs.
Hakko FX601-02 is our top choice whether you’re a novice or an advanced stained glass maker or don’t have many usage criteria. It’s a perfect choice because of its customizable temperature controls, ceramic heating feature, and lightweight nature. Many novice consumers would be able to use this iron for the rest of their lives without updating.
You are now absolutely set to go out and buy the soldering iron of your choosing! You are aware of the best options on the market and the most critical things to remember when buying a soldering iron.