For this step, I assembled the panel directly on the pattern on a slab of drywall. That’s so I can pin down framing jig strips along the edges. They help to keep everything straight and parallel.
Once the first side is tack soldered together (avoiding all outer edges that will go into frame later), I take off the framing jig and flip over the panel and solder the backside (avoiding all outer edges). The backside is soldered better than just rough tacking. The beads are built up and kept smooth since I will see the backside all the time when I’m working at the bench).
Backside soldering done, I flip the panel back to front and solder to a smooth finish.
I soldered the entire panel first and then framed it after. (Sometimes I frame first and then solder… but not this time).
My soldering iron is a good one and keeps good heat at the tip during long runs. I like that it has a coil iron holder for when I need my hands elsewhere and that it has a temperature control dial so I can set it where I need it.
I tried to be careful and fussy and can feel my development progressing and am very pleased with the results. However, that super clean smooth solder bead with not one single ripple is still a work in progress for this student.
Total time soldering: 4 hrs.
Next: Step 8 Framing