Is there a holding medium to hold multiple 4mm tubes for soldering

I’m trying to figure out if there’s a holding medium to keep several round 4mm length tubes snuggled together in place while I solder them. This multiple soldering of small wiggly things together is a growth challenge… being outside the “routine” soldering solution of titanium clips, handyflux, binding wire, etc., that I use.
What came to mind was clay, but it’ll burn up when I put heat to it and I’m not ready for the alarm to go off and fire department to show up.
It seems there must be something people use for one-off pieces. I’ve thought of Jetset but ???
circle pendant construction

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Soldering clay is basically a variation of investment. It will not burn up. Set your pieces in a small container (waxed paper cup?), pour in the soldering clay enough so when it solidifies the pieces stay put, remove the container, solder.

Soldering clay can be heavy relative to small pieces, so pour gently to keep parts from moving out of position.

You could also try pressing the pieces into Delft clay (will burn a bit but not bad). There is a similar casting sand (Petrobond) sourced in the U.S.

Neil A

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Neils suggestions are real good. Petrobond is a lot less expensive than Delft Clay and you don’t need the finer surface texture that Delt Clay produces. You might also consider putting the entire assembly in a layer of modeling clay that is thick enough to hold everything in place but still leave some of the top surface of the tubes exposed. Then pour casting investment over the exposed side. Once the investment is cured, remove the clay, clean up the piece and solder. Then remove the investment. I have never done this, but there was a recent discussion about various soldering clays and this suggestion came up. There are a number of youtube videos that demonstrate the process too. Before I did all that, I might presolder all the tubes, arrange them, flux the entire assembly and then heat the piece until the presolder flows. I might try to use a bushier flame so that it doesn’t push the pieces around and it all comes up to temperature at the same time. Good luck and let us know how it goes…Rob

In the olden days this is the sort of thing we would set up with powdered asbestos. Turns out that wasn’t a particularly good idea, but it was a material we used daily.
There are a few positioning compounds that take the place of asbestos. Two are: Wolf Clay, from Kate Wolf, which is available from Rio; and Thermo-Fix, a German import, which Otto Frei carries. I looked at the data sheets a couple of years ago and I think they are essentially the same product. So maybe get whichever is more economical.
There are youtube how-tos for both products.


Definitely a good use for wolf clay!



i am thinking…

  1. use a soft magnesium soldering block…press the tubes down into it…possibly use steel sewing pins or the larger t- pins to apply tension where needed…

perhaps solder in sections, then protect solder joins when soldering the sections together…leaving a few tubes at the end to finalize fit…

  1. same as above, but not pressing, just using pins

  2. use stainless steel fine gauge binding wire to hold together…a section at a time…


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Hi everybody, I’ve ordered Wolf Clay, should have it within 10 days. Ill update here with progress and results.
Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge.
Dianne Quilty

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I have never done this and I would agree that there are several good suggestions here, but just thinking about the simplest way, I wondered if you could just put this entire assembly on a very flat soldering pad and then fill up the outside recesses with sand. The sand just pours off after the soldering and it is granular enough that the solder could possibly flow past it all the way to the bottom of the piece, if that is an issue. Just another thought. Nothing to break off, no medium that is wasted. -royjohn

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Hi there Dianne. Pepe tools have anew product called hold it, similar to the wolf product you are getting. It is getting great reviews. here is the link to the product page.

Kind regards. Karen

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Gday, I use something similar to this.
Square Honeycomb welding plate with pegs.
I find it holds stuff together and when placed up on a soldering tripod you can heat the items from below.
Best wishes and blessings

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I’m reading Tim McCreight’s Boxes and Lockets and he talks of using “Soldering Investment”. Mix powder and water…assemble the pieces and secure with tiny drop or epoxy or Super Glue…Alternatively they can be pressed into clay or wax… Spoon the yogurty mixture being careful to leave sections of each joint exposed for soldering…
…scrape away drying investment to expose the joint…Allow to dry…add flux…heat til solder flows.

(This is all paraphrased)

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Soldering in plaster, which is what McCreight describes, is a very common way of setting up struck settings for things like assemblage earrings or simple cocktail rings.
One thing to beware: while gold settings are fine after soldering in plaster, platinum solder becomes brittle because from interaction with plaster at high heat. After soldering platinum settings in plaster they should be fixed a second time (we used to use powdered asbestos) so the solder joints can be remelted, which returns their strength. Don’t ask me about the particular chemical interaction; it just works.


I use “T” pins in a soft firebrick to hold silver pieces together.

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here is an interesting new tool, made by lion punch forge…soldering stencils…check them out…they might work for your needs…


Hi Disna,

i forgot to reply directly to you…see my above post re your question…


The traditional “goldsmith” way is to use soldering investment. Here is a step-by-step and a video.

The basic technique:

  1. Make a base using plasticine clay.

  2. Press the parts that you want to solder into the clay. The parts in the clay will be the parts you solder at the end.

  3. Make a “wall” to put around the piece. Sink the “wall” into the clay to contain the plaster.

  4. Mix up a plaster liquid by adding water to either casting investment or plaster of Paris. It should be somewhat thick but still liquid enough to flow around the parts.

  5. Let dry overnight. If it is not completely dry when you solder, the plaster will crack and move the pieces…so you start over.

  6. Remove the plasticene.

  7. Solder the pieces.

  8. Soak in water to dissolve plaster.

Investment plaster:

Plasticine Clay

Video of the process:



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Hi Vera,

thank you for this post! I will be trying shortly…i also got some holding products to test out…

I have a quick question…i have always been curious, when watching this process…do you think the plasticine “dirties” the area to be soldered…do you know of a way to clean the area before soldering…? I was thinking q-tip and alcohol…

i have attempted this process once with plaster of paris…it took a loooooong time for the solder to flow…i wondered if the plaster was a major heat sink…and/or if the plasticine dirtied the pieces…


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And! still gotta try this soldering set up…seems like a comfortable way to brace your hands while soldering…i first saw on Bobby White’s YouTube channel…


You have to fully remove all the plasticene from between the parts to be soldered. When you lift the dried plaster block off the plasticene some clay invariably will stick between the parts to be soldered. A broken saw blade makes an excellent pick for getting into tight spaces. (You should always keep some of your broken saw blades. They’re useful for various things). You don’t need to worry too much about the slight oily residue from the plasticene, that will carbonize under the flame and be cleaned by the flux. But any bits of the clay must be removed completely or they will impede the solder’s flow.


Hi Elliot,
Thank you! I always wondered about the oily residue,Julie