Monday, July 30, 2012

Kitchen cabinet replacements - Soldered and patina applied

Well, these three kitchen cabinet panels are well into the home stretch now!  As of the last posting, each one has been soldered and framed, and copper patina has been applied.

The photo below shows me applying liquid flux from the jar cap onto the liquid flux which is always applied prior to soldering. When using flux, its best to pour a small quantity into the cap and use that, rather than dip the brush into the jar.  The same holds true for the patina. At this time in the process, I tack-solder each panel.  I use 60/40 tin/lead solder which melts at 370 degrees.  Safety first, I always wear a protective breathing mask when soldering.  Look for a mask which is specifically suited to abate lead and flux fumes.  (One of mine can be seen in one of the photos below).
Below can be seen the small areas which have been tack-soldered to assure that the glass pieces stay exactly in place when the jig is removed.

Here are 2 of the 3 panels after they've been tack soldered.  Notice that I've removed the jigs on each and carefully pulled out the pattern from below.  The Homasote work surface is better suited than the paper to absorbing the chemicals that are applied at this stage of the process.
After each of the three panels was soldered, front and back, my husband Eric takes over by measuring and installing a thin channel, or metal frame, to each panel.  Since these panels will be securely set inside kitchen cabinet doors, there may be no need to add that reinforcement, but we prefer to do so.  It will add to the life of the panels and make them more stable overall.  Well worth the time!

Here's Eric cutting and installing the framing ..


And here's what each panel looks like when he's done.  Each frame is pressed against the panel with push pins to keep them in place.  Then I go in and solder the corners as well as the lead lines, in order to securely attach the frame, front and back, to each panel. 

Here's a soldering point connecting a lead line to the metal channel frame:
And here are all three panels, soldered front and back, and framed.  (Notice my breathing mask in the upper right).
Next, I bring each panel to the sink for a thorough cleaning.  Its important to remove all of the liquid flux, which is very caustic, hence the rubber gloves.  The cleaning also serves to remove any Sharpie markings which may still be on the glass, as well as small beads of solder.  Using powered cleanser and an old dish brush, each panel gets gently washed under fresh running water.
After each panel is completely dry, I applied copper patina as shown.  This also gets rinsed off in the sink, but without cleanser or brushing.
The only remaining steps are to wax each one, front and back, and then install them in the cabinets!  Stay tuned for the "big reveal" of the completed cabinet panels.

To see more of my work, please visit my website .. or find me on FaceBook .. Thanks!

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