Finish your projects with Hobby Came
Hobby came is a popular edging material used to give stained glass projects a polished, professional finish. This u-channel metal strip, commonly made of bendable lead, comes in several sizes to accommodate different glass thicknesses. Properly preparing and fitting hobby came takes practice, but the final result is well worth the effort.
Benefits of Using Hobby Came
Applying came around the perimeter of a stained glass piece offers several advantages:
- Provides strength and structure to the edges
- Hides imperfections in glass cutting
- Allows you to create rounded or curved edges
- Gives projects a finished look for selling
- Easier to solder edges cleanly
Lead came offers more flexibility than other materials like zinc or copper when turning tight corners or wrapping around curves. The u-channel design conceals the glass edges while providing an attachment point for soldering.
Hobby Came Sizes and Profiles
Choosing the right size came ensures a proper fit with your glass. Common sizes are readily available in 6 foot lengths or in rolls. Reference this link to see profiles with exact measurements at Cascade Metals (as shown above).
Some lead came have a flat profile on the edges and bottom. Others feature rounded edges for a different aesthetic. Match the channel width to your glass thickness, allowing a bit extra for the foil underneath.
Preparing the hobby Came
To prepare hobby came for installation:
- Unroll from the spool and gently straighten
- Cut lead to the desired length using lead snips
- Stretch the hobby came to remove kinks using pliers
- Ensure the channel is open along the length using a fid or knife
- Bend lead into shape by hand for curved edges
Stretching prevents the lead from contracting and deforming later when soldering. For straight sections, use a lead vice or came stretcher for best results.
Fitting Hobby Came to your Project
Use high quality tools for clean cuts and precise angles without deforming the lead came. These lead nippers (Amazon link) offer lifetime quality and precision.
When fitting hobby came, start at a corner and work around the edge:
- Tack the starting end onto foil using just enough solder
- Gently bend lead around curves using pliers and fingers
- Open channel more if needed to fit thick glass
- Use horseshoe nails to hold lead in place temporarily
- Overlap ends and trim excess for clean joint
- Check fit and adjust as needed before soldering
Take care bending the lead came to match the shape of the glass pieces below. Work slowly and carefully to prevent kinking the channel.
Read more about how to solder stained glass at this post
Soldering Lead Came
With lead came tacked in position, solder all joints neatly:
- Flux intersections where solder meets the lead came
- Solder seams where lead meets solder lines first
- Hold iron at an angle to control flow and prevent melting lead
- Go slowly and avoid overheating one spot
- Solder front side first, then flip and do back side too
- Smooth any fluted spots with knife after soldering
Remember that lead came has a low melting point. Maintain a high iron angle and keep the tip moving as you solder to prevent melting through the lead. Check all joints for gaps and reflow solder if needed.
Hobby Came Tips and Tricks
Follow these lead came tips for best results:
- Foil outer glass edges where lead will attach
- Reinforce weak joint areas with wire
- Open channel a little wider if lead is hard to fit
- Start long and trim excess lead gradually
- Work in sections and tack lead as you go
- Make sure glass is supported while working
Avoid overworking any one area while bending and soldering lead came. Go slowly and be prepared to reheat and adjust as needed. The finished solder line will conceal the lead came for a seamless edged look.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Hobby Came
What are the benefits of using hobby came?
Hobby came provides strength, hides imperfections, allows for curves, gives a polished look, and makes soldering edges easier. Bordering with hobby came will give your projects a professional finish.
What’s the difference between lead came and hobby came?
Hobby came is a subset of lead came. It has a tiny profile that makes it perfect for bordering or framing delicate projects. It’s easy to fit around even the most intricate shapes. It’s great for creating neat edges on sun catchers, lamps, boxes, and 3D glass designs. Plus, you can use lead came either as a substitute for or alongside copper foil.
What sizes of hobby came should I use?
Choose lead came based on glass thickness. 5/64″ Round U hobby came is the perfect size to apply as a finished border to small glass projects such as suncatchers.
How do I cut hobby came to size?
Use lead snips to cut lead came. Leave an extra 1-2 inches, then trim down gradually for a precise fit.
Why do I need to stretch lead came?
Stretching removes kinks and prevents the lead from deforming when soldering. Use pliers and pull gently but firmly.
What’s the best way to bend lead came around curves?
Bend hobby came into shape by hand or use pliers. Work slowly to match the curves of the glass and avoid kinking the channel.
How do I get hobby came to fit tightly?
Open the channel more with a fid or knife if needed. Use horseshoe nails to temporarily hold lead in place while tacking.
What temperature should I set my soldering iron to?
Use a medium temperature around 360°C/680°F to avoid melting the came. Higher increases risks.
Why does my soldering iron keep melting through the came?
Holding the iron in one spot too long or using overly high heat can melt the lead. Keep the tip moving.
Should I solder the front or back first?
Solder the front, flip over, then solder the back side. This prevents the lead from popping off.
What if there are gaps between the hobby came and glass?
Reflux and reheat to reflow the solder and fill any gaps. Add more solder if needed for clean lines.
How do I keep everything still while soldering?
Use clamps, weights, tape, or other holders to support the piece. Work in sections.
Can I use hobby came on rounded shapes?
Yes, lead bends well for rounded edges. Go slowly and tack frequently.
What if the hobby came ends don’t meet perfectly?
Overlapping the ends slightly and soldering the joint hides small gaps.
How do I get clean straight hobby came lines?
Stretch the lead well before use. Bend and fit carefully. Steady hands help!
What causes the rough texture on hobby came?
Overworking one area when bending can create a fluted texture. Flatten with knife.
Why does my solder bead look messy on the hobby came?
Low iron angle, insufficient flux, or heating too long can cause messy beads.
Read my post with tips for successful soldering here: Soldering tips
Achieve Stunning Finished Results
While it takes practice to master, lead came gives stained glass projects a professional complete appearance. Finish your project with hobby came to enhance the beauty of your work. Investing in quality lead came and following these tips will have your projects looking like works of art.