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I am thinking of getting back into stained glass. One of the projects I want to work on is to fix a stained glass window that has a section with a crack in it. I was given a couple soldering irons that have spent years in the basement and are rusty.

Can I use these irons? Is it safe? Are there quality concerns I should be aware of?

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as long as they are not damp you will be ok. The life of these might be shortened because of heat element damage.. iuf any occured. You can always get a DIY on for a few bucks –  ppumkin Nov 28 '11 at 13:26
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

My guess would be that as long as the cords look OK, I'd clean them up a bit and give them a try. Burnish and tin the tips well. Just be ready to pull the plug if they start to overheat or something.

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And use a sensitive plug in RCD. –  Walker Nov 28 '11 at 12:44
    
Thanks. Can you provide me with advice for how to "burnish" and "tin" the tips and tell me what a "sensitive plug in RCD" is? –  Roseaboveit Nov 29 '11 at 20:50
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Burnishing is simply cleaning the tip with a very fine abrasive such as 440 or finer emery cloth. the idea is to remove all corrosion and smooth out any pits in the metal. Tinning is applying a heat transfering coat of solder to the tip. To do this, heat the clean tip, melt a bunch of solder on it and swipe it across a damp sponge. The tip should now appear bright silver and very smooth. If black spots still appear, burnish them off and re-tin. –  shirlock homes Nov 30 '11 at 11:05
    
What is a RCD? I also have no idea what that term means. –  shirlock homes Nov 30 '11 at 11:07
    
RCD is known as a GFCI in Canada/US –  Steven Nov 30 '11 at 17:35
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