Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soldering jewelry

Once you learn how to solder a whole new world opens up to you! You will know when you finally conquer it...you will feel it. There is alot to soldering that comes with experience that I can't explain in one lesson...like knowing when to turn the heat down and what that accomplishes. How to flow into a large area and fill it, etc...Below is a hatpin I soldered together from about 10 different pieces...all the leaves were single, the flowers, the angels, etc. Some metals are harder than others to solder. The easiest is copper, then brass, then sterling, then regular metal (steel?) and the hardest is pot metal and gold. I do all but the gold. I have never tried gold because it takes special equipment and I have never had anyone to show me.




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soldering takes alot of practice! And you don't want to practice on something you care about! It is possible to melt the piece of jewelry if it is not done right. The iron I use is a station that has several settings.





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I find myself always using the high setting though.



The way I am about to show you is very unconventional! The way you are suppose to do it properly, is take out all the stones, heat the metal so hot that when you touch the solder to it it will melt! I rarely get jewelry that I need to do all that to. Plus it is a risk of melting the old metals, like pot metal. If you have pot metal, don't try to solder, give it to an expert because you can easily melt the metal.
But for most pieces the instructions I am about to give you work well. You need not worry about the stones being damaged. The trick is to heat quick and get out!

Below is the bracelet I did so many repairs on with the stones in it...


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as you can see the stones stayed safe...



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I am going to use a single earring that has all the stones in it. I am going to make a brooch out of it.




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First cut the clip off the back...


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Use the solder that is the thinnest gauge. That means the skinny looking wire. Usually the common type they use for electronics.



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Then get a flux that is paste. Make sure you have a wet sponge on hand! This is very important!!!! You need to plug in the gun, let it get hot then Wipe it off on the sponge



This will clean the tip. The tip must be clean for it to work.



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If your tip is still not getting hot enough...try tightening it or turning it off and pulling the tip out then take some fine sand paper and rough up the end that connects to the gun and resubmit the tip into the gun.
Ok...after you clean the tip. The pieces you want to solder must be primed.




That means take a nail file and sand off the parts that will touch after you solder them together. If it is a brooch back then sand the part where the brooch broke off and sand the pin back that you will be attaching to it.






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This is important for it to work right. Now take a gob of flux and apply to the parts of both pieces that you just sanded.






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Then get your gun and melt a small piece of solder onto it.




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Touch the gob of solder with the tip of the gun until you see the solder melt onto the piece. Do this to both pieces.


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Then put flux on top of the melted solder on both pieces. Put the pieces together and have the held in place with hemostates, a vise, a handy helper with alligator clips








or with pliers. The point here is for them not to move when you touch the gun to them. They need to stay still. Now get more solder on your gun and touch it to the place you want to attach(same place you sanded,primed and fluxed again) as soon as you see it melt onto the metal, stop. Let it cool down and then check to make sure it is straight , even and so forth.
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Please try this on things you don't care about first!!!!!

There are so many details that I can't explain that just come with practice...like if you want the solder to flow in a large area, etc... The instructions above are for a quick fix with a one point connection. Earring backs, pin backs, etc...

Once you learn you can do lots of things...I made this brooch from scratch! My very first one!



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13 comments:

HAGJewels said...

I loved the earring you chose for this tutorial! Here is your name in lights! You are in the Library of Links now:

http://www.hagjewels.com/resources.html

Also, feel free to link to or use this, since you are doing renewals on jewelry:

http://www.hagjewels.com/whyused.html

Stop by my Blog and say Hi :)

http://www.auctiva.com/stores/viewstore2.aspx?id=810889&page=blog

~ Helen aka HAG :)

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant idea to post how to solder. I am sure that anyone who collects VCJ has at least one piece which needs this treatment.

But I am confused what'flux' is - I thought that was what the silver metal you melt was called.

I must have missed something, because I dont know what that sticky glue like stuff is or what it does.

Going back to have another look.

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Vinod said...

Hi there. Nice blog. You have shared useful information. Keep up the good work! This blog is really interesting and gives good details. liquid soldering flux, Water soluble flux.

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