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Losing temper on rope chain


I did a repair on a 3 mm 18k rope chain. The repair consisted of
soldering on new ends so a lobster claw and jump ring could be
attached. After soldering and attempting to polish the chain came
apart at the ends. The links were not soldered so I’m assuming the
heat of the solder softened the metal making it come apart so easy.
How can one avoid this situation in the future?

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan

How can one avoid this situation in the future? 

Use a laser.

Dave Phelps

Use a laser. 

But are lasers considered ‘hand tools’ ??? Hand soldering just takes
alot of practice and good heat control. Anyways most hollow rope
chains are machine made by the mile.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing


I’m not sure if this will solve your problem, but I managed to
solder a difficult delicate chain today, by soldering a tiny sphere
onto the end of the chain, wrapping a thin collar of wire underneath
the sphere and soldering a jump ring onto the top of the sphere.
This seemed to solve all the problems - I should add that I used a
laser welder to tack the components together - this made it a lot
quicker, but it should still be possible to do it without one.

The idea is that the jump ring will solder onto the sphere better
than it will solder onto the chain, and the sphere + collar is easy
to solder securely onto the chain. If I’m making no sense
whatsoever, I should be able to send you a photo of it next week,
when I go back into the workshop.

I even managed to do it without fusing the chain together!



There is one simple answer to soldering hollow rope chains: DONT.
Firstly never use a HRC and avoid anything thin and hollow. If a
customer brings me a hollow rope chain for repair I say it is not
worth repairing as it will only break somewhere else. I must have
melted down umpteen over the years for scrap. Now a solid rope chain
is a different matter!


There is one simple answer to soldering hollow rope chains: DONT.

This was a solid rope chain with unsoldered links. I’m trying to
figure out how to re-temper the links by the solder without
everything coming unsoldered. I learned my lesson years ago about
trying to repair byzantine hollow chains…

Rick Copeland