I recently joined this wonderful forum and have enjoyed reading the
posts everyday. I have already learned a great deal in just a few
days - a vast store of kindly given.
I am a complete beginner in the world of jewellery making. I have
always wanted to make silver and gold jewellery and once enrolled on
a course to do so but sadly the course was cancelled due to
undersubscription. However, I decided to go for it and for the past
year I have bought and read many books on the subject, read many
articles on orchid and slowly collected tools, gemstones and silver.
I have recently started making silver jewellery for myself, my
daughters and friends. I have great days where I produce pleasing
pieces and bad days where nothing seems to go right at all. I am
learning every day through mistakes and accidents. I wonder if you
kind, experienced professionals would offer some advice on a few
niggling points? I'll start by explaining the set up I am using.
As a beginner I am just using a butane, hand held torch at the
moment while I save up for a better set-up. I have been successfully
soldering using this and easy solder. I use borax/water paste as a
flux. This leads me to my first problem:
1) I ran out of easy solder and had some medium solder. Now I fear
that I changed too many variables on the particular piece I was
having trouble with. I had purchased a beautiful but very large
carnelian agate cabochon (about 33mm x 25mm oval) and was attempting
to bezel set it (something I had done several times successfully). No
matter how much I tried, I could not get the solder to flow when
soldering the bezel to the base. By the time the solder was hot
enough to flow, the piece was melting. I was heating the piece slowly
and letting the piece heat the solder as per instructions. After
about four attempts I purchased some more easy solder! i) Is there
something I should know about medium solder - something I should
change to get successful results?
ii) Was my failure due to the piece being so much bigger than pieces
I had previously tried?
iii) Is the failure due to the butane torch not getting hot enough
quickly enough and thus the silver melting before the solder flows?
2) The second problem I have encountered involves previously soldered
joints melting and the piece collapsing when trying to do the next
join. I have read your posts on this subject and am curious about the
whiteout pen. Is this simply the correction fluid used in the office?
And if so do I simply paint it on previous joints and anywhere I do
not wish the solder to flow? And will it come off in the pickle? I am
currently using safety pickle (aluminium chloride if I remember
Any help with any of these topics would be greatly appreciated.