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Favorite Solder Nibber


#1

More on hand tools… Who has a favorite solder nibber? One which
makes consistent size paillons/snippets? I’m looking for one which
will allow adjustment to very tiny sizes and make that size
repeatedly. The one I am currently using does a fine job on the
larger size snippets; not good for the tiny stuff.

Sure, cutting the solder sheet into “fingers” and then cross cutting
will produce tiny sizes, but along with those tiny ones come some
that are a tad too big and will be wasted if stored too long.

Maybe it isn’t the violin?? wink!

Thanks in advance.
J Collier
Small Scale Metalsmith
Http://jlcollier.com


#2
cutting the solder sheet into "fingers" and then cross cutting will
produce tiny sizes, but along with those tiny ones come some that
are a tad too big and will be wasted if stored too long. 

What do you mean “Solder may be wasted if it is stored too long”? I
never heard of such.


#3

I will always order the chipped solder and cut those in to two
pieces if needed. I never buy sheet solder it takes time to cut, and
time is money.

Thanks Johneric


#4

Hi, J collier.

Sure, cutting the solder sheet into "fingers" and then cross
cutting will produce tiny sizes, but along with those tiny ones
come some that are a tad too big and will be wasted if stored too
long. 

I guess everyone has their own methods and needs, and in my case, I
make use of the fact that I get small and large pallions from cutting
a strip. I roll the solder down a bit in the mill. then I do strips
and cross cuts with my trusty small pruning shears. It is so quick
that I have never wanted a special tool for the job which is unusual
for me, a confirmed tool-a-holic with arthritic hands. As long as my
shears are sharp I am fine.

Different jobs use different amounts of solder. Each pallion is
balled up, picked up on my solder pik and placed in position and if I
need a bigger bit I just use two or more tiny bits in one ball.

I have never found that storied solder is wasted. If it becomes
tarnished, I just use a small container in the pickle it to clean it,
rinse it then it’s fine.

Cheers, Ruth UK.


#5

Try rolling it in a mill as thin as you can get it. Anneal it if you
have to. Then when you do the strips and clipping, you can get some
pretty small pieces.

Dave


#6

I have 2 suggestions for you. The first is a pliers which is used in
dressmaking. It clips out a notch in a paper pattern, but can be
used to make small paillions of solder by holding a solder strip,
round or or flat, against the far end of the notch and closing the
pliers. By adjusting the gauge of the rd. wire or the thickness of
the flat strip you can get different amounts of solder.

The other device I use is to remove the screw of a small solder
cutting shears, and replace this with a longer screw of the same
thread size to hold together the two parts of the shears.Then
construct a circle of brass (or other non-precious metal) drill a
hole in the center of this disc and solder a nut of the same thread
as the screwover the hole. This disc can now be screwed on the longer
screw which protrudes thru the other side of the shears and by moving
the disc as close to the shears for small pieces of solder or further
out for larger pieces.

hth
Joe Dule


#7

I still cut em as I need em, with shears. I have a very sloppy
bench, precuts just get spilled in my world. Sure its a pain to cut
each time but I can fine tune the size to THAT job. Once, I put all
my solders on a chain, like a key chain, so I could easily find my
solder. Except the one time I lost the whole thing. Never did it
again.

I like chaos. From chaos comes order. And a few cuss words.


#8

I just cut them by hand as you described. I find that I will use
every size that I cut sooner or later. They all come in useful at
one point or another. I’ve never had solder “go bad” me either as
long as I keep the snippets covered and clean. I do dunk the solder
sheets and wires into the pickle before I start cutting them though.
It’s probably doing that that prevents any problems with "old"
snippets too.


#9

I, too, roll my solder wire flat in a mill, and then cut as many
little snippets as I need. To store them, I use contact lens
containers, with the covers labeled H, M, or E. Easy to store, easy
to move, and hard to get them mixed up.

Dee


#10
I like chaos. From chaos comes order. And a few cuss words.

Neil, can I steal your quote? Honestly, it makes me feel good that
someone else lives and thrives in chaos! Sometimes I’m embarrassed
when people visit my studio 'cause it’s soo crazy.

Hmm… maybe I’ll paint that on a plaque and put it on my door. I’ll
quote you as “Neilthejeweler”

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge
www.amerycarriere.com


#11

Concerning solder,

I’ve had students through the years that have learned soldering by
using wire solder, but the labeling of it is problematic, I think. I
also don’t much care for the way small bits of it, like little
cylinders, roll around on the soldering board or on work to be
soldered.

I like to use sheet solder that has the color, karat, and type
(hard, med. or easy) stamped on it’s surface, from the manufacturer.
I then scratch in the same info. on it’s extreme upper corner, so
when I get down to the last little bit, I know exactly what it is. If
I’m not absolutely sure what a piece of solder is, I won’t use it.
Mixing up solder on a critical soldering job is not a nice
experience.

I use a very sharp pair of straight metalsmithing shears to cut very
narrow “fringe” on the bottom of the sheet solder I want to use, then
hold the solder sheet between the tips of my first two fingers, with
the tips of the cut “fringe” against my thumb. I then cut the ends
off the fringe close to my thumb. I can cut the absolute tiniest
pieces of solder off the fringe ends, without them bending up or
flying across the room. My cut pieces fall directly beneath my thumb,
onto my soldering board, where I can pick them up with my soldering
pick. I try not to cut any more solder than I think I will use in one
soldering, as renegade pieces on my soldering board are seldom used,
and go in my lap tray for refining. I try keep my soldering pick free
of flux, and a sharp point by the use of a belt sander. Happy
soldering!

Jay Whaley


#12

Amery, you and Neil are the dead opposite of me! I need order! Solder
pallions in the marked boxes, wire solder snippets in medicine
bottles placed next to the appropriate solder pallion boxes, tools
neatly arranged, a place for everything and everything in it’s place,
lol! Is it because I’m part German, or is it because I’m a Virgo? All
I know is that chaos and having to move a half-dozen things around to
find or accomplish a project will drive me stark raving mad!!!

Kenton :slight_smile:


#13

Jay,

I love to solder and I have dedicated a large case with small round
boxes to contain all my different solders from various companies in
silver and gold.

Temperature variations in the melting temperature of solders vary by
as much as 300 degrees F between different vendors. This can work in
your favor by expanding your temperature palette, as Easy, Medium and
Hard solder can involve a range of temperatures. I use three
different companies and mark on the outside of my containers the
melting temperatures. This gives me a wide range when fabricating
pieces that take more than 15 delicate soldering joints.

The best shears I have found for snipping small bits are the Joyce
Chen poultry shears. They will cut up metal, 20 ga and finer with
ease, great for bezels.

  1. hold the sheet and cut 1/4 length strips in one direction. The
    strips will begin to distort caused by the shearing action.

  2. flatten the strips between two small steel bench blocks by laying
    the strips on one block and whack firmly the second block on top.

  3. then cut across the vertical strips which creates tiny pieces of
    sheet solder. Work over a plastic tray, 1 foot by 1 foot. That will
    confine stray pieces from flying all over the place. Scoop them up,
    put them in a small container, mark the vendor you purchased it from,
    the date, melting temperature and type.

Why all this fuss? From time to time, you can end up with a bad
batch of solder. This happened to me, and I was convinced that it was
something I was doing wrong. By having a piece of the original solder
from that vendor, they were able to determine they created a bad
batch. If you don’t want to put in small containers, then take a
small strip and tape it down into your journal with the vendor’s
specs. Putting the label there will help too. It might seem overkill,
but then what is your time worth?

Karen Christians
Cleverwerx (website coming soon!)
Waltham, MA


#14
I've had students through the years that have learned soldering by
using wire solder, but the labeling of it is problematic, I think.
I also don't much care for the way small bits of it, like little
cylinders, roll around on the soldering board or on work to be
soldered. 

I use colored cable zip ties for marking wire solder. White for hard
solder, red for medium solder, yellow for easy solder, and blue for
extra easy. It’s a little color/heat association thing I have going.
White for “white hot” the hottest temp solder, “red hot” for the
next hottest temp solder, “yellow hot” for the next hotest temp
solder, and blue for the coolest temp solder. You can get a container
with about a billion (just kidding, but a life time supply if you’re
an old fart like me) plastic zip ties at Harbor Freight for just a
few dollars.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#15

Great idea, Amery. Of course your sign should go up next to the one
that reads, “Don’t start vast projects based on half-vast ideas!”

Happy spring to you all,

Dr. Mac