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New Silversmith


#1

I am new to silversmithing, having only made about 4 rings, and a few
pendants. I am in the process of making a turquoise bracelet for my
wife, and I am having a few problems. I’ve completed six bezels, and
am now trying to figure out a way to join them together. I’ve made
several different sizes, and shapes of jump rings, and settled on a
half jump ring to be soldered to both sides of each bezel, and a jump
ring between to join the bezels together. For some reason I am
unable to solder the jump rings to the bezels. I used medium solder
for the bezels, and am trying to use easy solder to join the jump
rings. So far, all I have been able to do is run the solder along the
jump ring. It never goes to the joints. I’ve tried different size
tips on my smith torch, but I get the same result regardless which
tip I use. I would like to finish this project before Christmas. I
would appreciate any helpful advice from the group. You are welcome
to e-mail me personally if you care to.

Thank you,
Jed


#2

Jed,

It sounds like you are not ‘heating the sink’! Whats ’ the sink’?
When soldering silver, it is important to first heat the largest
part before the solder will melt and flow. Imagine solding a jump
ring to a one ounce piece of solid silver. If you direct the heat
at the jump ring…or the join between the two, one of two things
will happen. The jump ring will melt or the solder will go to the
hottest point…in this case, the jump ring. If you direct the
flame first to the one ounce piece it will gobble up the heat and,
when it has gotten hot enough, it will transfer the heat to the jump
ring and the solder and the latter will flow between the two.
Always preheat largest part being soldered first then play the tip
of the flame down towards (but not directly onto) the area of the
join. For more on why this happens see my upcoming
article in Art Jewelry Magazine this March.

Hope that helps. Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in
SOFL where simple elegance IS fine jewelry. @coralnut2


#3
So far, all I have been able to do is run the solder along the jump
ring. It never goes to the joints 

The solder is likely running along the jump ring because the jump
ring is reaching soldering heat before the body of the piece. A big
part of the soldering challenge is getting the big parts up to
temperature at the same time as the little parts. I would try
playing the torch flame over the bezel cup, and not putting the
flame on the jump ring at all. The jump ring will get hot plenty
fast just from conduction of heat from the bezel cup.

Try that, and if you still are having the same problem, you may need
to use a heat sink on the jump rings.

Regards,
Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#4

Hi Jed. You have set yourself a challenge by attempting to solder
together two, or more, pieces that are quite different in size and
weight. The rub is that all of the items being soldered together
should reach the temperature at which solder flows at the same time.
The solder will flow to the hottest area and if the jump ring
reaches the flow temperature before the bezel does, the solder will
flow onto the jump ring. I have some practical suggestions. Get
everything ready to solder and when you begin heating keep the torch
away from the area where the jump rings are situated and instead
concentrate the heat on other portions of the bezel. As the flux
begins to glaze at about 1100 - 1200 F begin to play the heat onto
the areas where the jump rings, and solder, are located. If you
judge the distribution of heat correctly, all of the pieces will
heat evenly and the solder will not want to flow onto either the
bezel or jump ring but rather into the gap between the two. If this
does not meet with success consider redesigning so that you are
using something more substantial than jump rings. The aim changing
the design to use something heavier than jump rings would be to make
the pieces you are attempting to solder together more closely
matched in size and weight and easier to heat evenly. Best of luck,
David


#5

Jed,

Since the jump rings are so much smaller in mass than the bezels,
you may be heating them to soldering temperature long before the
bezels are hot enough. That is probably why you’re only getting the
solder to flow on the jump rings. It can be a delicate balancing
act, but needn’t be rocket science. Try this:

When you have the ring and bezel positioned, turn down the lights so
you can see the metal change color. Start by concentrating your
torch flame mostly on the bezel. Occasionally bring the flame close
to the ring, but it will take longer to get the bezel hot enough
first. Try to get the bezel and ring to come up to soldering
temperature at the same time, usually just after they start glowing
red.

The solder will flow to the hottest side of a join and, if you’re
not careful, it will usually be the smaller, less massive side. In
this case, the jump ring.

James in SoFl


#6

Jed,

I would suggest cleaning our silver very well and fluxing both
parts…also it sounds to me like you are applying too much heat to
the jump ring and not enough to the bezel piece. since silver is a
natural heat sink, sometimes you have to apply slightly more heat to
the larger piece to get a balance of heat to make your solder apply
to both and weld happily ever after! hope this helps and good luck…

-justine


#7

Jed,

Solder tends to flow to where the heat is concentrated.

First make sure the bezels are Pickled and cleaned. Next make sure
the joints you are soldering together have no burrs of metal and
they fit together without gaps.

Take the jump rings that you want to solder to the bezels and melt a
small amount of solder at the contact points. Line up your jump
ring and bezel. Slowly heat the bezel and then the jump ring until
solder becomes bright and then draw it to the bezel. Do not
concentrate the heat in one place until all areas have built up some
heat.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


#8

Jed, It’s all about controlling the heat. I would first fuse a small
bead of easy solder to each end of the 1/2 bezel and then hold it
against the bezel with a tweezer. I don’t know what tip sizes you
have but I would opt for a smaller rather than larger tip and focus
the heat on the bezel adjacent to the jump ring. As the bezel
reaches the flow temperature of the solder, the solder will flow
onto the bezel. The fact that your solder is running along the jump
ring indicates that you are not focusing the heat in the right
place. Remember that the jump ring is just a small piece of wire and
will reach soldering temperatures much faster than the adjacent
bezel if your heat is in the wrong place.

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#9

Jed,

It sounds like you are making a link bracelet. You may not be
heating the bezels enough to attract the solder. Solder flow
toward the heat. Draw the solder towards the bezel by
concentrating the flame on the bezel. Try using a dab of past flux
on the joint. Be careful not to over heat the bezel. Be sure the
silver on the bezel area is clean. Sand it slightly.

I like to heat the bezel from underneath. Place the bezel over a
gap between two fire bricks. This way the upper edge of the bezel
does not heat up too fast and melt. Once you are near solder temp
hit the flame on top of the bezel.

You can use white out on areas where you do not want solder. Its
the stuff they sell in office supply stores. Try to find the water
base stuff. If you can’t find water base stuff the chemical based
stuff will work but try not smell the fumes.

Be sure to coat the back of the bezel with one of the anti-firescale
fluxes.

One thing you might do is drill holes on both ends of the bezel.
Form a loop of wire with a tail on it. Stick the tail of the loop
in the hole and solder it there. Worked for me. The bezel will have
to be deep enough to seat the stone over the tail of the loop. Or
you can grind the tail away once the loop is soldered.

Lee Epperson


#10

I have to say this is one of the clearest explanations of this
aspect of soldering that I have ever read. This is a common problem
for beginners.

Actually, I find, in teaching, that uneven heating is the most
common reason for soldering failure. Once students really grasp
that concept, they do a lot better.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#11

Jed— solder follows heat. it moves to the hottest place after it
becomes molten. the thin jump rings are getting hottest first, before
the larger and heat sunk bezel piece. Try heating up the bezel first
then moving the torch to the jump ring just as melting starts then
finish of the move with a pull back over the bezel. Sort of like
brushing back and forth once only the first pull is real slow. if you
have any other questions ask away.

happy soldering
mark kaplan


#12

Is everything completely clean, degreased, and fluxed?

If you are having trouble with the solder flowing from the bezel to
the half jump ring then it may be due to something above (not
entirely clean or fluxed) or the bezel not being hot enough for the
solder to flow (i.e. both sides of the joint being at different
temperatures with one being lower than the flow point of the solder).

Jump rings do heat up very rapidly, and I would assume the bezel
acts as a bit of a heat sink, so maybe concentrating the torch on the
bezel a little bit of heat to the jump ring.

I am a bit new myself, but years of soldering electronics has given
me a decent bit of insight into cold solder joints.

Rudy Bescherer, Jr.


#13

I just wanted to thank the group, and especially all those who
responded to my plea for help on soldering jump-rings to bezels. I
think everyone who responded was correct, in that I was not heating
up the bezel prior to melting the solder. I’m going to give it
another try tonight. Hope it works. I hope everyone has a safe and
happy holiday season.

Thank you all,
Jed


#14

Remember Jed the heat of the metal melts the solder not the torch.
Lloyd.


#15
    I'm going to give it another try tonight. Hope it works. 

Jed, please let us all know how it goes and whether your problem is
solved. Helping others is one of my favorite holiday presents!

James in SoFl


#16
if you still are having the same problem, you may need to use a
heat sink on the jump rings. 

I’m joining in a bit late on this discussion, but I wanted to share
this not-very-novel but quite useful thing I’ve tried: I cut small
squares, about 6 mm on a side, from a sheet of 22ga. nickel. After
"dirtying" these up with the torch to curtail soldering to them, I
use the squares to support jump rings and act as a small heat sink
while soldering the rings to a larger object. The jump ring is
placed so that about 2/3 rests on the nickel square, while the other
third, where the join is located, is held above the soldering
surface. The object (say, your bezel) receives most of the heating
during the soldering operation, and just flicking the torch over the
jump ring as the larger piece nears soldering temperature is enough
to make the solder flow and get a good join. Remember that using the
nickel square will raise the jump ring above

the back of the bezel by a 22 ga. thickness - sometimes this is
highly desirable, sometimes not. If you want the ring level with the
back of the bezel, simply place the bezel on a couple of the
squares. This will also help heat flow beneath the piece and prevent
it sticking to your soldering surface. Oh, and remember - don’t use
flux or firecoat on the squares or they may end up soldered to your
jump ring.

Another useful thing to do when soldering on jump rings is to file a
small flat spot on the ring, or on the piece, or both if the design
allows. This increases the area of contact between the pieces and
improves the “fit” of the join (and it’s all about fit!), making a
stronger connection.

Hope all that helps, and makes sense,

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#17

Has anyone asked if you are putting backs on these bezels? If so,
the piece will be stronger and you can solder the jump rings to the
back and not to the bezel. I have found that solder on the sides of
a bezel makes it difficult to push the bezel over the stone.

marilyn


#18
   Has anyone asked if you are putting backs on these bezels? If
so, the piece will be stronger and you can solder the jump rings to
the back and not to the bezel. I have found that solder on the
sides of a bezel makes it difficult to push the bezel over the
stone. 

Marilyn, this depends on the thickness of the sheet you use for the
backs of the bezel cups. If you use 20 gauge or thicker, then the
jump rings will be soldered to the side of the backing sheet rather
than the bezel, and will not impact your bezel setting.

I used to use thin silver sheet to back my bezel cups, but now
prefer the thicker sheet for this reason, and also because it makes
the jewelry feel more solid and substantial.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com