My mentor, Jim Cook, taught me about the soft kiln bricks and how to
secure pieces for soldering.
Stainless steel dressmaker pins can be stuck into the surface to
hold metal in position or serve as a stable point, such as when
hand-applying a bail to the side of a piece. The top of the pin can
be bent in a “U” so that the head points down, in order to apply
pressure from above when stuck into the brick.
One can also use a hack saw to cut the brick into layers that can be
stacked, creating a ‘hot box’ or oven when soldering large pieces.
Dimples can be easily made in the surface for melting scrap into
balls. Larger depressions will accommodate a protrusion (like
decoration or the bezel/head on a ring), allowing you to solder on
the opposite side of the piece.
Eventually, the surface of the brick becomes sort of crumbly. Just
turn it over and use the other side. When both sides are crumbly, the
brick surfaces can easily be smoothed by rubbing on a concrete
driveway or walk.
I’ll add that if you work in gold a lot, it might be worth cutting
the crumbly surface off and adding it to your sweeps, rather than
rubbing the surface off.
'Nuff said. I keep a couple extra soft kiln bricks for future use.
you never know.
Judy in Kansas, where the nights are dipping into the upper 50s, but
the days are still hot.