1. You all know the 5 rules of solder:
1)the pieces to be soldered must fit tightly together; 2) the piece and the solder must be clean, so pickle or sand each one; 3) you must apply flux to help prevent oxides from forming and help the solder flow; 4) you must place your solder where you want it to flow, and 5) solder flows in the direction of the heat (flame of the torch). But in addition there are a couple of other rules.
2. Silver’s favorite thing to do is to cool off.
This means the flame must play over the entire surface of the piece, otherwise if you just heat the joint, it will take a long time for the heat to go all the way to the other end of the piece, and then back again, so help the solder by heating the entire piece, and when your paste flux turns clear, then concentrate on either side of the joint… and every now and then let the flame run to the end of the piece and quickly back again.
3. Solder’s favorite thing to do is to hide.
Most people, especially beginners, think that more solder means a better joint, and that’s not so. I use wire solder, which is much easier to cut than the sheets of solder. Hammer it flat or run it through the rolling mill, and it won’t roll off during heating. Cutting one large piece of solder will to save you time.
4. Please don’t cut up your pieces of solder ahead of time or purchase packages of pre-cut tiny pieces.
Cut what you need at the time. The reason is because the small pieces will oxidize, and that may hinder the solder melting and flowing properly. It’s hard to clean those tiny palllions by sanding them, and you will never get them out of your pickle pot! Just keep your wire solder rolled in an airtight container or zip lock bag, (throw in one of those silica packages to help keep it from oxidizing) and it will stay clean and ready for your use. Be sure and keep it well marked, because nothing is as disappointing as cutting and making a lot of 20 gauge jump rings, only to find you have just cut and filed all your wire solder!
5. People always talk about the melting point of solder, but never about the flow point.
Sure, it is hard to tell what the exact temperature of the solder and metal is, but use your paste flux as a temperature indicator. It will turn clear at around 1100 degrees, which is also the proper annealing temperature. So watch closely after the flux turns clear, and if you see your solder ball up, it has reached its melting temperature. But you don’t want it just to melt, you want it to flow….so keep the flame on the area and it will soon flow right along the joint, and join the two metals together. The flow point is 50-90 degrees hotter than the melting temperature.
Happy soldering, and may your bezels never melt.
- Fireproof and safe!
- Effortless cleanup-easily wipes clean
- A rotating turntable with Lexi’s favorite soldering surface-a firebrick
- Keeps you organized
- Portability–it goes with you
- Stability–the carefully designed lip on the front holds the station securely in place
- Solid construction that lasts a lifetime