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Selecting solder bricks

I am getting ready to purchase the equipment to set up my studio. My
good jeweler friend has helped my with the “basics” for what I need
but when I asked about a solder block he said “what ever you like”.
The prices and sizes vary, not sure which one to purchase. At the
college where I took my classes the blocks where older and everything
fused to them. Do all do that? Or should I just purchase charcoal
blocks? Any and all help will be appreciated.


but when I asked about a solder block he said "what ever you

Lots of people use charcoal. The benefit is that it reflects the heat
back to the piece. This is either good or bad depending on what you
are doing.

I use a magnesia block (white).

It’s on top of a “non-asbestos soldering pad.”


Hello Jane,

You asked about solder bricks. I have used soft kiln brick for nearly
20 years. These bricks are used to line large kilns - I obtained mine
from a brick factory. The bricks were broken and not usable by the
factory, so they gave me several from their trash bin. They’re soft
enough that they can be easily sawed with a hack saw to make thinner
slabs for props and enclosures/ovens when soldering large items. I
can secure pieces to the brick by pushing stainless steel dressmaker
pins into the brick.

Judy in Kansas

Different types of solder blocks seem to have different advantages/
disadvantages so it is one of those personal preference situations.

I have a soldering board that looks like the old asbestos type but
has no asbestos in it at all. I like it because it holds heat from
the torch and can bounce the heat back up into the piece. This works
really well for large pieces where I have had difficulty getting
enough heat into such a piece when using other surfaces to solder

Fire brick - same as above really, in that you can use its heat-
holding properties to your advantage. Also easy to carve so that you
can support components being soldered using custom-made holes.

Charcoal blocks. I’ve not used them yet myself but from other
people’s comments have gathered that the best ones are the dense
kind made from hard woods as opposed to the cheaper, less dense type
made of soft woods. They can be bound with wire so that they last
longer - otherwise they fall apart after a while. Advantage of
charcoal is that the charcoal reacts with the oxygen in the
atmosphere, thus helping to prevent excessive oxidation of the piece
being soldered and thus going a long way towards preventing
firestain. I’m not sure of their heat-holding properties. I’m sure
others will comment.