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The Art of Soldering for Jewellery Makers


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PRELIMS ( 5 p p )
An introduction to the history of soldering, from traditional methods, such as mouth blowing torches, to modern day micro welders.
A gallery of inspirational work by leading jewelers, showing the use of solder in a range of constructions. In each example, the solder joins are "called out" using a graphic device to truly reveal how pieces are constructed.
Basic Soldering Equipment and Tools: The Essentials
* Soldering torches: mouth, gas, gas and air, acetylene, and micro welder
* Revolving soldering turntable
* Fire bricks/heat proof blocks and boards: charcoal block, soldering block, pumice block, honeycomb ceramic
board, and firebrick board
* Soldering jigs and wigs: wire nest, ring ceramic holder, third hand base, and soldering pins and clips
* Tweezers: reverse action, straight and curved, stainless steel, brass, and plastic
* Soldering probe: for the directing and moving of solder
* Small brush: the advantages of using a slightly finer, more expensive brush
* Snipes for cutting solder pallions
* Selection of small and fine files
* Varying degrees of solder hardness: stripe, wire, pallions, and pre-mixed solder paste
* Types of solder: silver, gold, platinum, and palladium solders
* Flux: traditional borax cone and dish, premixed syringe flux, flux powder, and borax powder
* Pickle
* Cleaning equipment: metal or plastic wire brush, emery paper, emery sticks, and water of air stone
* Heat proof equipment and materials, and how to use them
* Essential fire safety equipment: extinguisher and blanket
* Storing your torch safely when not in use
* Safety position of gas canister and lighters
* Suitable clothing to prevent fire risk
* Using tweezers and prolongs: safely moving solder and transferring hot parts to and from the soldering area
* Hair safety
* Protective eye wear
* First aid equipment and burns medicine
* Lighting: how to set up the optimum lighting conditions for soldering
This section covers the fundamental aspects of soldering and key issues that need to be considered before you start, from setting up the best working environment to understanding how solder works.
Before soldering
Think about the construction of your final piece: if you know the number of parts and solder joins you will need, then you already have the basic guide to the soldering stages of your project. You can then number solder joins, and
ultimately understand which solder to apply when, and why.
Though direct overhead lighting is best while preparing parts for soldering, a slightly darker environment for the actual soldering itself is recommended: a low, dim light provides the optimum conditions for looking at metal color
and torch flame.
Preparing parts and joins
Mind the gap: solder flows along joins and will not connect gaps. Always make sure that the pieces to be joined sit snugly together-joins should be touching securely to allow the solder to flow in perfect channels, making for strong
and successful soldering.
When soldering tubing or metal parts that are prone to relaxation or changes in size when heated, you can avoid excess metal movement during the soldering process by annealing first.
Handling of parts
To get the perfect finish, joins have to be emeried, cleaned, and placed in pickle and water before soldering. Avoid touching the parts with your hands, as any oil residue from your skin will prevent the solder flowing efficiently.
Positioning the pieces
Air needs to circulate freely around the parts being soldered, so place them on stilts or other props. This will also make the pieces more accessible, both visually and physically-raising up your piece on fire bricks or a revolving
turntable, for example, will help you position yourself comfortably at your work. Good posture and steady hands are vital when soldering, so maximize your hand control by using your work surface for support.
Understanding solder
With solder, understanding how conditions and technique can cause the solder to react will improve the results you can get from it. Always remember that solder flows toward the heat, so directing the flame evenly around the join
area will keep the solder flowing consistently.
There are various types of flux, and choosing the right one for the particular soldering task will give you the most favorable soldering surface and conditions to work in.
Blow torch
Understand which type of heat and flame to apply, and when to withdraw it.
When using different torches other techniques and rules have to be applied. For example, a micro welder's flame should be aimed precisely at the join for successful soldering.
The processes you carry out after soldering depend on the finish you want and the type of solder join, but typical post-soldering steps include quenching in water and pickle, to anneal the piece and remove excess solder and flux marks. Knowing which technique to use is key: quenching can damage certain parts, particularly flat forms, so understanding the effects of different quenching temperatures can make or break a project.
Cleaning: fixing mistakes
Making mistakes is all part of the learning process, and soldering is no exception. Learn how to clean and disengage incorrectly soldered parts, and you will be able to start afresh but still use the pieces you have prepared.
Cleaning: after successful soldering
When everything has been done correctly, cleaning the soldered parts should be fairly simple and only require emery paper and sticks.
* Sweat soldering
* Butt soldering
* Soldering jump rings: preparing the join
* Soldering tubing: creating a tight fitting join before you solder
* Multi-solder joins with varying solders
* Using stitches to hold parts in position for soldering
* Soldering surfaces and positioning tools/jigs for different pieces
* How to hold small and difficult parts for soldering: using binding wire and making secure clips
* Soldering different metals: silver, gold, platinum, and palladium
* Solder inhibitors: keeping solder from running into unwanted areas
* Stick feed soldering for bigger parts
* Soldering onto a textured or patterned surface (stone setting on textured background)
* Granulation, reticulation, and fusing
* Stone work: how to solder near stones (and other non-metal materials), and how to protect them during repairs
* Soldering of more complex metals such as platinum and palladium
* Use of PUK or laser soldering
* Quenching, cooling, and pickling, and which metals require quenching
* Cleaning your work after soldering
* Removing fire-stains
* Plating or colouring metal after soldering
Soldering and preparation: applying parts before shaping and forming
Soldering a rub-over setting
* Flat-to-flat soldering: applying slightly formed parts to a flat surface,
* Forming sections on the domed area before soldering (using pre-mixed solder)
Page 5 Copyright c 2012 Quarto Publishing plc
* Soldering various metals: gold to silver
* How to solder earring fittings
* Multi-solder joins, using solders of varying hardness
* Filigree: How to create and solder
Lengthy solder joins: bangle project with round and square wire twisted together, and soldered before forming
Soldering a closed vacuum area; how to create hidden air holes
* Soldering and fitting a bezel
* Using stitches to hold the bezel in position for soldering
* Soldering parts to cast items or pieces made from precious metal clay
* How to burnish cast items to seal the porosity so that solder does not bleed onto them
Soldering of hinges; involves tube soldering and solder inhibitors
* Soldering a chain
* Probe soldering
* Soldering a bezel
* Soldering an item which requires movement
* Soldering a brooch finding
Soldering inlaid patterns
* Soldering larger pieces
* Sweat soldering: how to secure pieces with binding wire and other equipment
Soldering platinum and palladium
* Melting temperatures: solder types
* Melting temperatures: metal types
* Metal annealing temperatures: which metals are safe and should be quenched after soldering

About the Author

Wing Mun Devenney is a jewellery designer, teacher, product developer and business expert. Her career to date has included working with some of the largest and most successful global jewellery and fashion brands; developing and designing winning jewellery and accessory collections. Her wealth of jewellery knowledge is shared here.


Oct 13

A beautifully presented how to book with step by step photographs of techniques and projects. Clear instructions and great photography with beautifully designed projects. Learn how to master soldering and employ this useful technique to create beautiful jewellery. There are 15 projects and you will be raring to try your new techniques on your own creative ideas and designs. This is a very attractive book.

* Karen Platt *

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