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:
- 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?
- 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.