How to Solder Jewelry And Other Things – Learn the Basics
Learning how to solder will give you the freedom to incorporate sophisticated components and connections into your jewelry designs. As a jewelry artist it will give you the freedom to create more sophisticated and intricate works of art.
Here are some basic concepts that can help you get started. Before you begin your journey, you will need to gather some basic soldering tools and equipment:
Torch: This is one of the most important staples to have in a well equipped jewelry studio. However, soldering brings many different elements that are too important not to discuss on this article.
I strongly recommend that you begin by taking a basic jewelry fabrication class, which allows you to learn the intricacies of the technique.
First and foremost is SAFETY. When you first start making jewelry, you have a natural fear of the fire, yet as you continue your work the fear will disappear and carelessness may take its place. To prevent accidents, become knowledgeable on the maintenance and care of the soldering equipment you own.
- Spend time learning the soldering techniques that come with the equipment you purchase – Talk to the people that set your tank and ask for specifics on how to transport and care for the tank and components.
- Learn everything you can about your equipment – most manufacturers today include detailed safety instructions. Read them carefully and don’t wait until things fail.
- Check with your insurance agent about proper coverage. You home insurance may not cover you home business.
Another important element is the ENVIRONMENT in which you work with fire. Proper ventilation is essential. Because the expense involved in setting exhaust systems people neglect including the right ventilation needed when using a torch. When money is an object consider the following alternatives:
- Install an exhaust hood that is powerful enough to create a positive flow of air away from you and direct it to the outside vent.
- Another alternative is an open window with a fan on the opposite side of the room. This will give you some ventilation while you solder. The drawback is that the air flow may blow your flame.
- Another appropriate alternative and safeguard is the use of a respirator – yet it may be uncomfortable to wear.
Now let’s talk about flame proofing the station where you are planning work. The entire area needs to be covered with non-flammable materials. High fired ceramic tiles are a good choice to protect the work area.
Do not solder on top of them, use a charcoal block or non-asbestos pad on top of the tile. Jewelry supply companies sell a soldering pad in several sizes.
It is important to understand of the materials used with this type of equipment. The gases we use for soldering are, by their very nature flammable and thus considered dangerous. These include:
- Natural gas
Now for the equipment:
- Become very familiar with all your soldering equipment, and maintain it on a regular basis.
All torching equipment sold today is factory and safety coded:
- Red hose for fuel
- Green hose for oxygen
The connections are also coded:
- Fuel fittings have a left hand thread and are marked with a groove on the screw nut.
- Oxygen fittings are right hand threads and don’t have a groove.
Maintaining the torch equipment:
- The number one rule is USE NO OIL – when mixed with gases it becomes explosive.
- Have the equipment checked by an expert at the place where you buy the gas. Make sure there are not leaks.
Torch Safety Basics
- Install safety ventilation.
- Practice regular maintenance on all the equipment: Tanks, hoses, heads, regulators, tips, and valves.
- Know your equipment and materials.
- Protect yourself and the environment.
- Keep your soldering area neat and clean.
- Secure large tanks on a cart to a wall.
- Open valves slowly
Following these basic soldering instructions will ensure that you purchase a torch that will last a long time.
Now, let’s look at the other elements needed when soldering metals.
- Fluxes: serves as an agent that allows the medium to move freely on the metal.
Different types of flux can be used with different types of materials and temperatures.
- Borax: the most commonly used. It comes in a cone and sits in a ceramic dish..
- Auflux:: Is a general – purpose flux that comes in a liquid form.
- Tenacity 5:: This flux comes in powder form and is mixed with water to form a paste. It can withstand higher temperatures.
The other component needed to solder metal is the actual solder.
- Solder: This is the elements that actually joins the metal parts together, it is available in easy, medium, and hard and each one has a different melting point. You can also purchase it in sheets, snippets and wire. You can also purchase solder in both silver and gold.
These are just some of the basics to explore before you decide to explore soldering metals in depth. The most important thing to take into consideration when learning how to solder is a clean and safe environment.
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