Ever wonder why there are so many Copper Foil choices? Why do we need so many? The obvious is thicker glass needs wider foil. This is true. Stained glass can vary in thickness with the different manufacturers and sometimes you need to use a wider foil to cover the edges more. The most common sizes really are 3/16″ and 7/32″ and occasionally 1/4″ for the wide stuff. We start our beginner students with 7/32″ because it is easier to get the foil centered on the glass. After some experience, we recommend going down to 3/16″.
We have found that once your cutting skills are better and your pieces fit closer, a smaller foil will give you a smaller solder seam. The smaller the solder seam, the easier it is to get a great solder line. Of course it more challenging to center on the glass. We have found that using a foiler with help center the foil and partially crimp it along the way. Our favorite foilers are the Table Foiler and the Glastar Foiler. The Table Foiler is easy to use and makes centering your foil a breeze. It works with different foil sizes; 7/32″, 3/16″ and 1/4″ and has a weighted base that makes it easy to use anywhere. The Glastar Foiler also will accommodate the 3 common size foils and partially crimps the edges as well. You do need to attach the Glastar Foiler to your work table to make it easier to use.
Another question we often get is “Why do you have Black Back Foil and Silver Back Foil?” Ever finish a project and hold it up and you can see an orange glow around your bevels or clear glass? It is the inside edge of the Copper Foil that is showing through the glass. The top is soldered and silver but the inside is still copper. Yikes-now what? At this point there is nothing you can do except remember this feeling next time you plan a project. Think ahead and decide how you want to finish your project. If you’re going to leave it silver, you might want to use Silver Backed Foil. This foil has a silver colored adhesive so when you look through your bevels or clear glass you see silver and everything matches in the end. If you want to use Black Patina on your project, you should use Black Back Foil. Also, if you want to use Copper Patina, use your regular Copper Back Foil. You will be happy in the end that you thought ahead and used the appropriate foil.