In this article, Susan Thomas shares her experience with getting started in soldering and provides tips for those who are new to the craft. She emphasizes the importance of having the essential items for successful soldering, including a fireproof surface, a torch, a soldering pick, and solder with flux. She also demonstrates how to make simple rings using sterling silver wire and paste solder.
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- Understanding the basics of soldering is essential for success.
- The right tools and materials, including a fireproof surface, a torch, a soldering pick, and solder with flux, are crucial for successful soldering.
- Making simple rings using sterling silver wire and paste solder is an easy way to get started in soldering.
Understanding Soldering Basics
Soldering is an essential technique for jewelry makers who want to take their skills to the next level. However, it can be overwhelming for beginners. In this section, we will discuss some of the basics of soldering that every jewelry maker should know.
Importance of Flux
One of the most critical components of soldering is flux. Flux is a substance that helps the solder flow and bond to the metal. Without flux, the solder will not flow correctly, and the joint will not be strong. There are many types of flux available, but it is essential to choose the right one for your project. In the video, the presenter recommends using paste solder, which already includes flux in the solder. This type of solder is easy to use and makes the soldering process simpler.
Choosing the Right Torch
Another essential component of soldering is the torch. The torch provides the heat necessary to melt the solder and bond the metal. There are many types of torches available, but it is crucial to choose the right one for your project. In the video, the presenter recommends using a small torch, which is easy to handle and provides enough heat for most projects. It is also essential to understand how to use the torch safely, including how to adjust the flame and use the safety features.
Using Cross Lock Tweezer and Soldering Pick
When soldering, it is essential to have the right tools to hold the metal in place and apply the solder. The cross lock tweezer is a tool that holds the metal securely in place while soldering, protecting the user from burns. The soldering pick is a tool used to apply the solder to the joint. It is essential to use the right amount of solder and apply it precisely where it is needed. In the video, the presenter demonstrates how to use both tools correctly, emphasizing the importance of keeping the pick cool and using the hottest part of the flame to melt the solder.
In conclusion, understanding the basics of soldering is crucial for jewelry makers who want to advance their skills. By using the right flux, torch, and tools, and following the correct techniques, anyone can learn to solder successfully.
Making Simple Rings
Forming the Ring
To make a simple ring, start by forming a ring out of sterling silver wire. Use a tool like the wrap and tap plier to shape the wire into a ring.
Cutting and Joining
After forming the ring, use a flush cutter to cut the wire so that both sides are flat and smooth. Make sure that the joint is tight and there is no space between the two ends of the wire.
Soldering the Ring
To solder the ring, you will need a fireproof surface, a torch, a cross lock tweezer, a soldering pick, and solder. Use a torch to heat up the ring and add a little bit of flux to keep the metal clean. Then, take a tiny bit of solder and let it flow onto the joint. After soldering, put the ring in a bowl of pickle to clean the metal.
Remember to use a copper Tong to pull out your rings from the pickle, as using steel can contaminate your pickle and discolor your rings. With these essential items and steps, making simple rings can be easy and fun.
Handling the Torch
When it comes to soldering, handling the torch is one of the most important aspects of the process. In order to successfully solder your metal pieces together, you need to know how to use your torch effectively and safely.
Firstly, it’s important to know the different parts of your torch and how to use them. The torch used in the video is a small torch with a safety switch, a button to light the torch, a continuous flame button, and a high-low button to adjust the flame intensity. The hottest part of the flame is the tip of the blue flame, and this is where you should concentrate your heat when soldering.
It’s also crucial to use the right amount of solder and to apply it in the correct spot. The paste solder used in the video already includes flux, which makes the solder flow smoothly. It’s important to apply the solder to the joint and concentrate the heat on that area until the solder flows and creates a strong bond.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of safety precautions when handling the torch. Always pull down the safety switch before lighting the torch, and be sure to use a fireproof surface to direct the flame away from your workbench. You should also use a cross lock tweezer to hold your metal pieces and prevent burns.
Finally, after soldering, it’s important to clean your metal pieces by placing them in a bowl of pickle. However, it’s crucial to use a copper tong to remove the pieces from the pickle to avoid contaminating it with steel, which can cause discoloration on your metal pieces.
Overall, handling the torch is a crucial aspect of soldering, and it’s important to be knowledgeable and confident when using it. By following the proper safety precautions and applying the solder correctly, you can create strong and beautiful metal pieces.
Using the Pickle
After soldering, it is important to clean the metal to remove any fire scale that may have formed during the soldering process. This can be achieved by using a solution called “pickle”. The pickle is a mixture of water and an acid, usually sulfuric acid or citric acid.
To use the pickle, simply place the soldered metal piece into the solution for a few minutes. The acid in the solution will remove the fire scale and leave the metal clean and shiny. It is important to use a copper tong to handle the metal when placing it into the pickle, as using any other metal can contaminate the solution.
Avoiding Pickle Contamination
Contaminating the pickle can cause discoloration of the metal and render the solution ineffective. To avoid contamination, always use a copper tong when handling the metal in the pickle. Additionally, do not place any other metals or materials into the solution, as this can also cause contamination.
If the pickle becomes contaminated, it must be discarded and a new solution made. To dispose of the pickle, it should be neutralized with baking soda before being poured down the drain. It is important to handle the pickle with care, as it is a corrosive substance and can cause burns if it comes into contact with the skin.
By following these post-soldering steps, you can ensure that your metal pieces are clean and ready for further use or finishing.
Final Product and Uses
After following the steps outlined in the video, you should now have a beautiful and sturdy sterling silver ring. This ring can be used as a jump ring to secure necklaces or as a stack ring to add some flair to your outfit.
The ring is made using a combination of sterling silver wire and paste solder, which already contains flux, making it easier for beginners to get started with soldering. Additionally, the use of a fireproof surface, torch, cross lock tweezers, and solder pick helps to ensure a successful soldering experience.
It is important to note that when soldering, it is crucial to have a tight joint with no gaps, as solder will not fill a gap. It is also important to use a pickle solution to clean the metal after soldering and to use copper tongs to avoid contaminating the pickle.
Overall, soldering can be a fun and rewarding skill to learn, and with the right tools and techniques, you can create beautiful jewelry pieces that will last a lifetime.
Essential Soldering Items
To get started with soldering, there are a few essential items that every beginner needs. These items include a fireproof surface, a torch, a solder pick, cross lock tweezers, and solder.
Firstly, a fireproof surface or soldering board is necessary to direct the flame of the torch at the soldering joint and not at the workbench. Secondly, a torch is required to heat the metal and solder. A small torch is recommended for beginners. The torch should have a safety feature, a continuous flame button, and a high-low button.
Thirdly, a solder pick is used to hold the solder and apply it to the joint. It is important to cool off the solder pick every time it is used to prevent the solder from melting off the end of the pick. Fourthly, cross lock tweezers are used to hold the metal in place while soldering. This prevents the metal from burning the fingers.
Lastly, solder is necessary to join the metal pieces together. It is recommended to use paste solder that already includes flux in it. Flux is what makes the solder flow and is necessary for successful soldering.
Using these essential items, beginners can easily get started with soldering and create beautiful jewelry pieces. It is important to have all the necessary items before starting the soldering process to ensure success.