A grade of steel wool is called an “aught” so when you go to a hardware store to find it you will need to ask for 4 aught steel wool. This stuff is a must tool in your stained glass supply collection. Here are a few reasons to always have some on hand.
- It can take off oxidation (white scum) off of the lead or solder without scratching the glass.
- It’s perfect for repair work or clean-up jobs. Scrub the solder joints and damaged area (even the glass) with it to get “time” off of an old window. It’s good for cleaning off smoke damage on the stained glass panel.
- If you don’t like your patina choice or you have old patina you need to take off you can scrub it off with steel wool and it still won’t hurt the glass.
- It can take off old paint, marker or sticker residue. Simply rub it over the marked area and it will be cleaned. Be careful if you have a repair or a cleaning job has painted faces etc. If it’s painted and fired you will not be able to scrub it off (because it’s actually a thin layer of glass fused to the pieces) but if it is some other paint it can be taken off with steel wool. Make sure that you actually want to take it off. I suggest testing a corner of the painted area that needs to be fixed or cleaned. Or avoid it by putting masking tape over the painted area that you want to protect.
After using the steel wool to scrub away all that you need to do, make sure to clean it all off (simple soap and water) before you patina or you will have instant rust that will create a brown tint to your patina (unless you like that look).