OK, I admit it, I'm afraid to solder anything. I learned
soldering on sterling with a very hot water torch, never used any
other kind of torch because I don't HAVE anything else. snip...
Yup, water torches tend to be hot. I’m curious about your "easy"
solder, it doesn’t sound very easy.
The short explanation: The problem you’re experiencing is due to heat
building up too quickly because of a lack of heat control. Move your
torch into and away from the work pieces quickly so they heat up
evenly, and without overheating. Control where the HOT spot is, this
will control where the solder flows. The trick is to heat up the area
where you want to solder to flow faster than the heat is spreading.
This is done with the inner hotter part of the flame, and requires
quick in and out movements when using a small hot flame.
The long explanation: Okay, with a hot, small and sharp flame, you
need to get in and out very quickly, and solder with the inner cone
of the flame, not the big brushy part. By quick, I mean the soldering
will be as fast as it takes for the area to heat, maybe less than 1
or two seconds, depending on the flame.
Heat control is the trick of soldering, whatever torch is being
used. Over time you’ll develop an instinct for it, but for now,
you’ll need to practice on practice parts. Make up a bunch of
lightweight jump rings out of GF wire or something inexpensive like
that. Clamp them in tweezers when soldering them, this will keep them
from over heating very quickly, but the tweezers may get a bit hot.
You may find it easiest to hold the solder snippet on your soldering
pick with a bit of flux. You can melt the solder into a ball and pick
it up with a soldering pick that has some flux on it, while it is
hot, by heating the solder and the pick together. It’s pretty easy.
Then, you can lightly touch the solder ball to the fluxed seam and
apply the flame. If you can lightly press the solder onto the jump
ring seam with the pick, that will help to heatsink everything at
Now when you solder, move the flame in and out quickly, and if the
solder didn’t flow, do it again until you get a feeling for when the
heat has reached soldering temperature. Just don’t leave the flame on
the piece. Practice getting in and out of the soldering job very
quickly. With a flame that hot, the soldering may place almost
instantaneously once the metal heats up to soldering temperature.
Soldering with a very hot torch is a very tricky business and
requires intense concentration and quick movements because everything
happens very quickly.
If you are soldering something thin and light to something that is
substantially heavier, the heavier piece will soak up a lot of heat
while the thin piece will overheat quickly (melt, or oxidize and
create a barrier to solder flowing), so the technique is to direct
the flame more onto the heavy piece and less onto the light piece
(jump ring). Familiarity with how the heat is spreading or building
up in the work piece can only occur with practice, so you might
consider working on practice pieces first! If you’re using the pick
method, be aware the pick may take more time to come up to soldering
temperature than the work piece, so you may want to direct your flame
more onto the pick at first.
You may need to hold the bale in such a way that extra heat in it
flows off into your tweezers, that’s called ‘heat sinking’. This will
also help avoid the situation in which the solder tends to flow onto
and up the bale instead of where you want it to go. The rule is
soldering is this, SOLDER FLOWS TOWARD HEAT, meaning, the hotter
areas cause the solder to become more fluid and flow easier and
It occurs to me there is a lot I didn’t say here and some others
will fill in the gaps.