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Electronic Soldering Dilemma


#1

Hi everyone,

I have a dilemma and need some advice.

I haven’t been able to take any soldering classes yet due to my own
hectic college schedule, and the fact that as a home business I’m
not prepared insurance-wise to have proper soldering equipment in my
home.

I’ve started making some jewlery combining wood and wire, and have
found that I really need to solder my jump rings. I made a unique
necklace yesterday, and the dangles and the silver chain I used were
all slipping through the jump rings.

I looked at my Rio Grand catalog, and pondered using the electronic
solders. The “Hot Spot” is way too expensive for me to buy at this
point. I don’t want to damage these beautiful wood pieces that I
have with heat.

What can I do to solder my jump rings and yet not damage my designs?

Thank you,
Miachelle


#2

Hi Miachelle

the dangles and the silver chain I used were all slipping through
the jump rings. What can I do to solder my jump rings and yet not
damage my designs? 

A couple of thoughts for you - try making the jump rings smaller and
of thicker wire so the pieces can’t slip through, thicker wire will
give you stronger rings so the joints are less likely to pull apart,

  • you might like to try winding and cutting the rings so they look
    like springs, eg each ring would be wound around a couple of times, a
    bit like a split ring, and finally, when you do start soldering, do
    all soldering 1st before assembly with wood, etc.

have fun, Christine


#3

ms M

consider a micro torch. Otto Frei, here in the bay area, distributes
them…stock #114,210. under the name of “syntax butane torch”. this
tool is very small, and affordable. as they are a very available
under different brands, you could probably find one in your area…
with one of these gems, u could silver solder in complete safety…
with a little bit of practice., you’ll get great results, without
compromising you home safety, in all of it’s ramifications.

aloha


#4
I've started making some jewlery combining wood and wire, and have
found that I really need to solder my jump rings. I made a unique
necklace yesterday, and the dangles and the silver chain I used
were all slipping through the jump rings. 

If you cannot use a torch, the alternatives for soldering are going
to be a lot more costly, if you need to avoid heat damage to the wood.
But if your necklaces are coming apart, the first thing I wonder is
whether you’re proprely closing your jump rings. Done right, the seam
is tight, without a space for things to slip through unless you’ve
pulled the necklace hard enough to open the rings again. And if you
chose the wire size and temper correctly for the size ring you’re
using, this should not be easy to do. When closing a ring, bend it
side to side, past the “closed” position and back again, while
forcing the seam closed. This allows the metal to bend so the seam
closes completely, without springing open again. And if the rings are
not to be soldered, consider making them from a half hard or hard
tempered wire. If they still open, use smaller diameter rings made
from larger guage wire.

If this still doesn’t work, look into using split rings. These are
made like mini key rings. Much slower to assemble, and you have to
buy premade rings rather than making your own, but they don’t allow
things to just pull open and come undone.

And while it’s not going to be as strong as solder, if you wanted at
least a slight improvement over an unsoldered ring, AND if the rings
are nice and clean before you assemble them (clean off any wax or oil
residue from when they were made), you could always apply a tiny drop
of super glue to the seam. It still needs the seam to be closed
tightly, so it’s not filling a significant gap, and doing this offers
some aesthetic problems sometimes, but it might provide just the extra
little help you need.

And you can also solve this problem by using constructions that are
not simple jump rings. If the wire forms a wrapped joint of some
sort, then it’s a mechanically strong joint, rather than an open gap
that can pull open. Rethink your design so you don’t then need to
close an open jump ring. The wire can be bent into the shape of the
number 8, with both the loose ends wrapping the middle, for example.

Peter


#5

Hi Miachelle,

What can I do to solder my jump rings and yet not damage my
designs? 

An ideal torch for soldering chain & other small items is the
Proxxon MicroFlam torch. It’s a butane fueled torch with a built-in
igniter. The torch is about 1 1/2" in diameter & 6" tall. The fuel is
held in the handle. The fuel is sold in canisters about 2" in
diameter & 8" tall & is available at craft stores, Wal Marts, smoke
shops (it’s also used for lighters) & jeweler’s suppliers. One
filling lasts about 1 1/2 hours. Do to it’s size it doesn’t present
any insurance problems.

You’ll still need to get a fireproof surface to solder on ( fire
brick(s) works well) & a pickle pot (an old crock pot from the
Goodwill or Salvation Army store works well).

For soldering small items like chain links, paste solder is much
more convenient to use. It’s available from jewelers suppliers &
myuniquesolutions.com in hard, medium, easy & extra easy in sterling
& most kts. of gold.

Usual disclaimers, just a satisfied customer.

Dave


#6

Miachelle

Have you tried using silver split rings. They work the same as the
larger versions on key rings. I used to use them to put charms on a
charm bracelet before I made jewellery. The next thing is the electric
soldering machine which works great for small things like jump rings.
Gesswein carries it # 830-2030 and Rio Grande carries it #503-135. It
only costs just around $230. The one from Rio even has a video to
teach you how to use it. It has even allowed me to repair the flimsy
Mexican rings.

Karen Bahr
Karen’s Artworx
@Karen_Bahr
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#7
I've started making some jewlery combining wood and wire, and have
found that I really need to solder my jump rings. I made a unique
necklace yesterday, and the dangles and the silver chain I used
were all slipping through the jump rings. 

Without a better idea of what your design looks like, perhaps some
type of cold connection might work. Renaissance mailers would overlap
the ring on the open ends a tiny bit, forging them flat, drilling a
hole through the overlapped parts and putting in a rivet. Another
cold connection might work better for you.

You might consider redesigning your connections. You might want to
try a library loan of Oppi Untrect’s book on jewelry making. It
might have some ideas you can incorporate for your designs.


#8

Hello all,

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I’ve been reading and
re-reading everyone’s responses, considering options, etc.

I probably could have done a better of job of describing my project
in the initial question, so everyone could understand my dilemma
better. The wood piece is in the outline shape of a leaf, and there
is a center strip of wood running through the middle which looks like
the main stem. The wood piece hangs from sterling silver chain,
laying horizontally. There are dangles of headpins with light green
pearls hanging from the uppermost piece of wood, and from the middle
strip. This is the abstract representation of leaf color. The dangles
also get to move back and forth, giving fluidity and movement to the
piece.

Due to the circumference of the wood, I had to make my own jump
rings. I believe part of my problem isn’t the way I open the jump
rings, but that I used the wrong tool to cut my jump rings, which
didn’t leave a nice, even, clean slanted cut. The tool left a slight
indentation at the cut, so when the jump ring is closed, it can’t be
closed tightly and evenly.

My conclusions thus far:

Because of the design of the piece, soldering can’t be done before
assembly. Split rings aren’t an option because as tight as split
rings are, the wood would get marred during assembly.

I may be mistaken due to lack of practical experience, but from some
research I’ve done regarding the soldering process, I still run into
the issue of having to clean up the jump rings once they’ve been
soldered, even if electric soldered (and I accept that I may be
completely erroneous here). Again, because this has to be done
post-assembly, the wood causes a problem-not sure that this nice
piece would do well in pickle! :slight_smile:

At this point, in order to save time and money in getting the
necklace completed so it can remain in my inventory, as a few people
have suggested, I’m probably going to have to go out and look for
pre-made jump rings that are thicker but still large enough to handle
the circumference of the wood. Or, as I had another jeweler suggest
to me, which I’m not 100% enthused about from a design standpoint,
buy extremely long headpins and use those instead of jump rings.

I think I have to chalk this one up to serious lack of experience in
mixed media and processes causing my issues.

Thank you for your help.

Also, for anyone living in the Phoenix area, if you happen to hear
of any soldering classes aside from the Mesa Arts Center, could you
please contact me offline? I have nothing against the MAC, but their
scheduled classes really don’t work well with my schedule, and I need
to find some other alternative teaching mechanism.

Regards,
Miachelle


#9

Miachelle,

Try looking at W.W. Granger (granger.com or wwgranger.com) or
McMaster Carr (mcmastercarr.com) and go to the section that has
soldering tools. There is a Weller pencil style that is cordless and
puts the heat only where it is needed. Both of these companies cater
more toward the heavy manufacturing industries, but could sell to
individuals. The Weller unit mentioned is used by electricians that
need to solder heat sensitive wires and components. The heat-up and
cool-down times are very short; press a button to heat it up, solder
the joint, release the button and the tip is cool almost before you
can put it back in the charging base.

Good luck in the work.
James Good