Soldering 101

Soldering 101

By on May 6, 2009
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Soldering is the most common technique for joining two or more metals together.  In the soldering process, two elements are used: heat and solder. A solder is a metal alloy that has a lower melting point than the metals do that are to be joined together.  When the heat from a soldering torch comes into contact with the solder and metals, the solder will melt before the metals do, causing the melted solder to flow and connect the separate pieces together.

Solders are categorized into hard, medium, and easy (soft).  The categories indicate their melting points.  For example, soft solders have lower melting points than medium and hard solders.  It is the hard solders that are typically used in jewelry making or for precious metals.  If a piece needs to be soldered more than once, start with a hard solder, and then move to a medium (or a medium and move to a soft).  This way the first solder will not remelt.

Recommended Materials
Solder
Flux
Flux brush
Tweezers
Torch
Soldering Block
Safety glasses/eye protection

Steps in Soldering

1.    Fitting
2.    Cleaning
3.    Fluxing
4.    Solder Placement
5.    Heating

Note:   It is important to take safety precautions when soldering.  Wear protective clothing, eye protection, make sure the area is well ventilated, and don’t touch the tip or element of a soldering iron.  The three major hazards of soldering are heat, fumes, and the lead content of the solder.  When possible, substitute lead free solder for leaded solder.

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    Deborah Chapman

    May 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for this information. I have been reading about soldering jewelry o rings and things of that sort but had “no clue” how to go about it; about the types of solder wire for the job. Thanks

  2. avatar

    Linda

    May 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

    PMC can also be used to solder. I’ve created a necklace that way. Treat all of the items in pickle, and then squirt a tiny amount of pmc on the spot where the jump ring is wanted. Press the ring in place. Leave overnight to dry. Use a small file to sand away any excess. Heat up the kiln..I use the smallest JEC kiln. Place the piece onto a clay disk made for your kiln. Put the disk onto the red hot kiln surface. Lower the heat to about 1200. Leave as long as possible…8 hours at least. Let the kiln cool down. Take a jewelry file and sand the results, if needed.

  3. avatar

    Virginia Spiegel

    December 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I recently took soldering class (butane torch) They used silver solder only. I want to know what solder I can use with base metal, i.e, eg., ‘commonly sold silver-looking wire. So, for example, if I want to close a wire jump right not made of silver what solder do I use? Don’t know anything about the characteristics of the wire. Is it dangerous to experiment? for example, can I use silver solder to solder the wire? What solder would I use? Can anyone help? Or, direct me to someone who can answer these questions? The teacher in the class wasn’t very interested in these questions.

    Thank you for any advice.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      December 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

      Hi Virginia,
      I sympathize with you not having a patient or understanding teacher. Unfortunately although a lot of folks can be awesome artists, not everyone can or should teach. If you do an Internet search for ‘how to solder jewelry jump rings’ you will find a host of sites with lots of great information from experts in this field and even a few step-by-step videos.
      All my best,
      Dale/Cgr

  4. avatar

    winning games

    July 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people on this topic, however, you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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