Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Soldering Jewellery

Last week was all about the drilling, this week I've been tackling soldering as it will be essential for my new designs. It took a bit of getting used to, especially the insulated tweezers which felt back to front compared to jewellery pliers squeezing to open not close, and I could really do with an extra arm at times! I've got the hang of it now but thought I'd share a small disaster when I eased my grip on the tweezers forgetting that this would squeeze the piece tighter rather than release it!

I'd been trying to hold the jump ring as closed as possible so the join would be extra secure but it really didn't work!

The last couple of weeks I've had such a buzz over learning so many new things! Terminology and skills which were completely alien are starting to sink in and it feels good.

Being able to solder will let me realise design ideas I've been ruminating over for months and, whilst it seems like no big deal, I am really pleased to be developing this skill!

I looked at starter kits and eventually settled on buying the essentials separately as I already have a torch from working with art clay. So for the jewellers out there who would like to have a go the basics you will need are:
  • solder (soft, medium and hard if you need to solder more than one join on a piece, probably just hard if you are only going to buy one type)
  • metal sheers or wire snips to cut the solder
  • heat proof soldering block
  • flux (borax cone and dish is probably the cheapest option)
  • cross-locking insulated tweezers
  • torch (I've got a handy butane one)
  • pickle and ceramic or glass pot (I went for safety pickle and still turned my tights powdery yellow when it splashed!)
  • copper tongs
  • water in glass dish / jar
There are lots of good videos about equipment and techniques online to help you out, the Art Jewellery Magazine ones were particularly helpful.

Good luck!

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