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[Favorite tips] Soldering

When soldering gold and platinum together make certain to anneal
both parts thoroughly before soldering. These metals expand at
different rates when heated. If not thoroughly annealed stress
tears may develop as the metal cools. In addition, allow the metal
to cool slowly after soldering. Do Not quench the hot metals, rapid
cooling increases the stress in the metals. Brad Simon CMBJ

Cut a perpendicular notch across the tip of a pair of self-locking
soldering tweezers. This will then easily grasp and hold wire, jump
rings, earring post, etc. when soldering. Brad Simon CMBJ

Dear Mr. Brad Simon, Do you have any tips about using borax and water
paste(or wetter) as a flux and Alum and water solution as a pickle.
I’ve read that these are decent substitutes for some of the more
commercial ones I currently use, i.e. RIO pickle (sodium
bisulfite>>>sulfuric acid), and Batterns self-pickling flux (the
stuff that looks like lemonade).

Thanks a lot,
Dave Hall, Gainesville, FL

Dave- I am a jewelery student (albeit a very old one in comparison
to the “kids” that I attend school with) here in Singapore - although
I am an american ex-pat. Here, you must have a special licence to use
any kind of chemical, so in my studio at home I use alum in a crock
pot for my pickle and borax sprinkledin water (not as thick as a
paste form) for flux. It is very standard practice here. You can’t
even get sparex that I know of, and I have searched! The warmed alum
works great. And I have no complaints about the borax either. The
only thing I would change is the fact that I use a bellows and jet
fuel with my torch. (again, that’s how they do it here. It’s pretty
much industry standard) Good luck- Carree

Carree: Being an old student who has never been to Singapore I must
ask if they have swiming pools & Spa’s there? If so they must have
stores that supply the chemicals to control the QUALITY of the
water, the product that increases the acidity of the pool is
sodiumbisulfate [also packaged and sold as pickle solution by a
varity of companies] known as dry acid for pools, it is a noncaustic
substitute for Sulfuric Acid to Jewelers. Go to the poolstore and
check It’s a great deal cheaper as a pool water conditioner. Art

There are three forces that pulls solder when it is in a liquid
state. The greatest of these is heat. When solder melts it will
flow most readily to the hottest area. The next is capillary
action. Solder when melted to a liquid state will readily flow
through a tight fitting seam. The third, which has the least effect,
is gravity. Solder will flow down through a seam easier than up
through a seam. When soldering, always have a tight fitting seam,
and when possible place the solder on the top of the seam and pull
the solder down through the joint by applying heat to the underneath
side of the joint. Then you will have all three forces working for
you. Brad Simon CMBJ