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Precision soldering


#1

How do you get those darned paillons exactly where you want them,
and make them stay put? I’ve already discovered that coffee hinders
the process (my hands shake so much that precision placement is
impossible). Tweezers? Paint brush?

Natural adhesives (such as gum arabic or hide glue) are used in
granulation to help the metal fuse together. Would they help in
soldering, too? I.e., Can I add adhesive to the flux to glue the
paillon in place, or would it act like dirt and prevent the solder
from flowing?

One of the projects in Jean Stark’s book says to “point solder” the
ends of a coil of wire. Is point soldering a special technique, or
does it simply mean “confine the solder and flux to a small area”?

Janet


#2
Natural adhesives (such as gum arabic or hide glue) are used in
granulation to help the metal fuse together. Would they help in
soldering, too? 

Janet, The ultimate in natural adhesive; Use spit! I have a solder
pick that I use exclusively for the purpose (so it’s clean). Take a
clean solder pick, place it to your tongue and collect some spittle.
Place a small amount on the object to be soldered. Without adding
more spit to the solder pick, touch the solder pallion. The surface
tension from the residual saliva will usually be enough to make the
solder adhere to the pick. It’s best to have less spit on the solder
pick than on the piece, that way the added surface tension from the
extra spittle on the piece will cause the piece to easily transfer
from the pick to the jewelry. If you have too much spit on the piece
it will cause the solder to jump off if the torch is applied too
quickly, so practice and use the least amount needed. Once the
solder is placed you can move it around to a new place if your hand
has twitched. You will get to the point, with practice that you use
so little that it will evaporate before you even pick up the torch.
This is very useful with the new plumb platinum solders that don’t
work well by picking them up hot with the solder pick. I also use
spit to pick up diamonds when setting them in pave; Works great with
melee!

Hope this is useful.
Larry


#3

Hi Janet, How do you get those darned paillons exactly where you
want them, and make them stay put? It is not all that difficult. The
way it is done is, that you have to keep the paillons immersed in a
flux solution,( on a watch glass/ceramicdish) andplace them one at a
time with a tweezer, gently warm (indirectly by not putting the flame
directly on the solder paillons) the piece of jewelry where you want
the solder melted.When you warm the piece the paillons stick to the
jewelry and what you get is the jewelry with a small whitish patch
(flux) with a golden paillon. When you are done placing enough
solder pieces(depending on how many youcan handle) you gradually heat
up the piece of jewelry (in the vicinity of the solder) till the
solder melts and bravo you are done !! I have
thrown in my few cents and hope it helps. Nilesh


#4
    How do you get those darned paillons exactly where you want
them, and make them stay put? 

I use a teeny, tiny paintbrush to put the paillons in place. I use
Batterns flux. Then I take the torch and gently warm the piece of
metal, starting by going around the outside of the metal. This
dries the flux and makes it sticky, holding my solder bits in place.

Then by the time I move the flame on to the piece of jewelry, the
solder bits won’t fly away.

Elaine Luther Chicago area, Illinois, USA Metalsmith, Certified PMC
Instructor Studio 925; established 1992 @E_Luther


#5

Janet, Consider learning to use a solder pic. I melt the pallions
into beads on a ceramic piece then bring the area to be joined up to
temperature and used the pic to “pick” up the bead and set it
exactly where I want it just as everything reaches the proper
tempter. Since the flux has already become molten there is no
bubbling to bounce off the chip. The flux now acts as a glue and the
bead stays where it is put. The pic also acts as a heat shield to
keep other areas from getting too hot and the solder flowing there
too. It takes a fair amount of practice but the control is exact.
Rebuilding the finest filigree is possible this way. I teach my
students to use a pic from the very beginning. They are not
introduced to “pallions” until they start to solder their bezels to
the back plates for their rings. By then they can get the solder
beads exactly where they want them almost everytime. A pic makes
chain making go very fast too.

Unfortunately using a solder pic is seldom addressed in most texts.
Those who learn to use one gain a valuable skill that lets them do
very neat and accurate work. Give it a try.

Bill


#6

Bill, Where do you find a ceramic pic? Janet


#7
 I teach my students to use a pic from the very beginning. They
are not introduced to "pallions" until they start to solder their
bezels to the back plates for their rings. 

What lucky students and right you are. I also learned to work with
a solder pick before using pallions and it is really a breeze once you
have mastered it. I also learned to tack solder things using very tiny
solder dots on a pick then wire solder the rest of it. Wire soldering
is also something that not a lot of instructors teach and it too has
its uses and makes doing large pieces much quicker to solder.
However, I would add that each person I’ve studied with has his own
bag of tricks for soldering and no two people seem to approach it the
same. Some people hang large jump rings down and drop the solder on
the joint, some hold the jump ring with the joint at the top first,
stick the solder on with a pick, then reverse the ring and draw the
solder through the joint, while some lay the rings flat, place the
pallion under the joint and heat from the top to draw it through.
Bottom line I think is you simply have to practice, pratice and
pratice some more and find what works best for you.


#8

You are right about the practice. I tell everyone that I am teaching
them how I do it and why it works for me. I eventually show them
other ways and tell them to experiment until they find out what
works best for them. Naturally my way is the “right” way but it is
OK to wander into heresy if the technique works well and gives neat
work.

The real fun is the first time they have to go at a large piece with
two torches. Just like patting the head and rubbing the tummy at the
same time.

Bill