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Perfection in Soldering


#1

In the past I have reached that point in soldering a piece where I
know it is not perfect but am scared the whole thing might fall apart
if I try and go for perfection.

I have had to clean my work, flux, and re-solder as a matter of
course in fabricating sterling and gold. My opinion is that you need
to practice doing this, as there will be times where you cannot
clean the solder joint, you must reheat till it flows. I have had to
do this several times on one joint.

The piece might fall apart, and that is how you learn how to control
the heat used in soldering. I have had this happen, it is part of
the process of learning a skill. Quite disappointing to reheat a
gold piece, and I flow the solder the second time, but melt the edge
of the bezel. How close the flame is to the joint, size of the flame
and direction from which heat is applied matters. These parameters
change depending on the mass of the object you are soldering. With
sterling, having the right size flame, hot enough to heat the area
you need to reheat without heating other areas that are soldered is a
skill, and getting the area heated till solder flows and getting the
heat of immediately will prevent damage.

Soldering really teaches concentration and being in the moment. When
working on a difficult solder joint, I am always relieved to start
breathing again. I find that I tend to hold my breathe while
soldering.

Richard Hart