Free hand soldering

Hi all - lately I have read the term “free hand soldering” several
times. It was listed as one of the techniques used in a workshop I
read about. Can anyone explain the what this is? and is it different
from regular soldering?


I consider free hand soldering to be -with out- the use of a third
hand holder or other device that holds pieces to be joined.You need
steady hands or a place to prop your elbow so you can place the item
at the right time in the right place and you have the option of
“do-overs” as long as you don’t get too hot. Patty Rios,
Springfield, MO.Who hasn’t posted for quite a while.

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
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All, I use free hand (or off-hand if you prefer) soldering quite a
bit and also teach it to my students. The technique is simple in
description but requires a steady hand, eye/hand coordination and
very good torch control. It also requires some good long tweezers of
various weights, many of which I modify for various operations.

This type of soldering uses no pins, needles, binding wire, third
hands or other holding devices except perhaps to hold the largest
item to which something smaller will be soldered. Usually the large
part can be tucked far down into a pair off heavy tweezers where
tension holds it steady. Or use a pair of forceps.

The freehand part comes in when attaching the part being soldered.
For example, if soldering a jump ring to a bezel mount, I lock the
bezel/backplate in place by pushing it down into a pair of tweezers
and stand it upright. The jump ring I hold in a pair of light
tweezers (with or without heat resist) and solder the ring in
place…immediately removing the torch followed by the tweezers.
Forceps or self-closing tweezers can also be used to hold the smaller
item. The whole idea is not to lay everything out and pin or bind it

Free hand soldering is useful for soldering smaller items to larger
ones especially when soldering silver. It allows you to heat the
larger piece to the proper temperature before bringing the smaller
part into the sphere of the flame where it could otherwise receive
too much heat and melt. Earring posts, jump rings, pin parts, etc
can all be done this way quickly and easily. There are other little
nuiances such as pre-soldering the small part, etc., but experiment a
little and you will quickly learn the rudiments.

Happy soldering from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where
simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1

    I consider free hand soldering to be -with out- the use of a
third hand holder or other device that holds pieces to be joined. 

Thanks Boni: Why didn’t I think of this! it’s simply the way I
always solder. Very seldom do I use a third hand or wire anything.
It’s the way I was taught to solder, in particular pic soldering, and
also feeding the wire solder into the seam when the temp is right. I
just never before had heard it labeled “free hand soldering”. Live
and learn. Kay

Hello Don and all, You learn something everyday. I didn’t know I
was doing “free hand soldering!” My high school jewelry teacher
advocated using the off hand to hold the torch and manipulating the
pieces to be soldered with the dominant hand. (I’ve tried changing
the torch to my right hand, and am not very adept that way.) Just
goes to show that what we learn initially stays with us and is a
very good reason for educators to be careful what they teach
beginners. Judy in Kansas where the fall weather has been gentle and
the colors are vibrant.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936