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[Beginner's Corner] Soldering Exercises


#1

Hope, I think part of your problem is the base on which you are
soldering. An iron plate seems to me like a terrible heat sink (that
is, it will suck away a lot of heat and/or cause the piece you’re
soldering to be unevenly heated. You should be able to buy (by
mail), not too expensively, one of those soldering boards and/or one
of those fluffy firebricks (see your catalogs). Or, go to a builder’s
supply place and ask for a few fire bricks (I last paid 75 cents
apiece for some). They are not fluffy and can be heat sinks, too, but
I think once they’re heated up, they also disperse heat more evenly.

Eeek – from a didactic point of view, your class sounds awful,
although I agree that one must go with what one has. I used nothing
but a propane hardware store torch for years. Now I use
acetylene-air (easier to handle than the propane tank, also hotter,
but I don’t use my oxy-acetylene unless casting).

someone did say NOT to use base metals as practice ad I wondered
why. 

There are people who simply do not like base metals as jewelry
metals. I love them and so do my customers. But we all have our
"attitudes"-- I do not care for aluminum or pewter,and refuse to use
plated metals of any kind. C’est la vie!

As for stick solder versus paillons of solder, it depends on what
you’re making. Learn to use both.

Have fun!
Judy Bjorkman


#2

Soldering is a challenge to me as well. Thank you for the info on
how to discern when Ag+ has reached the perfect solder point.

A few of my issues:

First, I don’t like the charcoal logs or the Magnesium blocks to
solder upon. Drives me crazy! Its messy, pits, etc. I’ve seen
charcoal granuals in a dish for soldering. anyone ever use?

Second, the solder. From what I’m reading, solder should not be
fluxed? I’ve been trying to make and solder jump rings. I place the
solder below the ring, flux and heat. Is this the correct process?
Probably not.

The other issue is manipulating pieces of solder. Are solder pins or
the forceps the only tools?

I understand they sell Ag+ solder wire at Rio Grange. Is this a
better process? Paste is not an option for me. Thanks Mj

MJ Lopez


#3
Hope, I think part of your problem is the base on which you are
soldering. 

Thanks Judy. I just wrote a post about how much better things went
today. I also really love the look of copper and brass especially. i
do like Al but we won’t talk about that ;-). I am SO happy that my
soldering today worked the same way it does in class for my
teacher/me. The heat sink was the problem, I now also reckon.
Likewise, the excellent descriptions you all shared of how to tell
visually when the silver is ready to take up solder really helped.

The good news about my class is it will be a different teacher next
term, though I have to say she has grown on me the last 2 weeks. I
will give it one more term- it’s nice to have a place to go and talk
with other students in person each week.


#4
Second, the solder. From what I'm reading, solder should not be
fluxed? I've been trying to make and solder jump rings. I place
the solder below the ring, flux and heat. Is this the correct
process? Probably not. 

The main component of silver solder is silver. You need to clean it
and flux it like you would the object being soldered. Otherwise you
will have problems getting the solder to flow.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
rockymountainwonders.com


#5
First, I don't like the charcoal logs or the Magnesium blocks to
solder upon. Drives me crazy! Its messy, pits, etc. 

I think the block you are referring to is a magnesia (fire brick),
there are 2 kinds of these. the hard type used to line furnaces & the
’silversmiths fire brick’. These are usually soft enough to push
pins etc into. When the sides get grungy & pitted, they can be
restored to like new condition by rubbing them in a figure 8 pattern
on the side walk.

Hope you never use magnesium blocks! Magnesium is extremely
flamabal. It’s one the major ingredients in incendiary bombs.

If you solder a lot of chain links, the fastest, easiest & best
solder to use is paste solder. It’s available in sterling & most kts
of gold in extra easy, easy, medium & hard. Using the needles on the
syringe the solder is sold in, it’s easy to place the solder exactly
where it’s needed & in the amount needed.

Dave