Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Butterfly Sun Catcher Repair

This little butterfly was a keepsake that needed repair.  Here's how I went about doing it .. (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look).

The butterfly wing separated as shown ..

The first step is to clean off all the old adhesive.  Below I'm using Goo Gone and a cotton ball to dissolve and clean it all off.
After the surface is clean and dry, I apply 13/64" adhesive copper foil to the top of the side of the glass and wrap it evenly on the sides of the glass as shown.  I chose this size because it appears to be the same width as was used by the artist who created it.  The goal with all repairs is to make them look like the original construction.

 Below I'm using a pink "fid" or smooth plastic wand to press the copper foil into place.

The wing which broke off still had the original copper foil and solder attached.  Here I'm using a hot soldering iron to carefully melt it off.   After its off, I cleaned and dried that side, using household spray cleaner.
 Next comes fresh copper foil ..

Then I brush on flux which enables the copper to accept the solder.  I wanted to reinforce the top and bottom of this seam, so I was careful to flux and solder only the center area.

 Note below that I've made a "V" shaped piece out of very thin gauge wire.  I've laid it on a piece of tape to hold it in place while I flux and solder it.  The idea is to solder the two pieces together, the body and the wing, and have that piece of wire serve as added reinforcement.

I've done the same to the top part of the body.  Here the "V" wire is in place, soldered from the back.  I went back and fluxed and soldered this side so that it blends in with the original solder and becomes invisible.

Here's the butterfly, almost finished, with the pieces re-joined and reinforced.

Here are the products used in the repair.  After I applied flux and solder, I cleaned the butterfly with "Kwik Clean Flux and Patina Remover" spray.  This piece had never been patina-ed but I wanted to recreate that old, tarnished look.  To do so, I mixed Novacan Black Patina, as shown below, with an equal part of water.  When I brushed it on, the black was pale enough to mimic the age of the solder.  As a final step, I applied Livia Stained Glass Finishing Compound which is a light wax.  The wax gives the butterfly a nice shine and protects the solder. 

 I straightened up the antennae a bit and here it is, ready to be enjoyed again for many years to come!

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

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