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Soldering for beginners

Hello All, I need some advice about soldering from you good people. I
have ordered a Little Torch from Rio Grande, and I’m very anxious to
start using it, but I’ve never soldered anything before in my life.
Is there anyone who can give me step by step instructions on how to
set up a soldering torch? Talk down to me, people. Pretend I’m the
village idiot. I don’t want burn my house down or blow it up. Can
anyone recommend a book that would be helpful or a web site that may
be of use. Thank you all so much. Lisa Hubbard

Hi Lisa, I have used the little torch for years and love it. I was
able to fine tune my soldering skills after I changed from the larger
Hoke set up. The first thing I would suggest is that you get your
metal of choice and just play with it. Such as melt something big,
melt something small, practice fusing and soldering. Use scrap so it
won’t matter how it turns out until you get a feel for controlling
the heat. Make it fun and you will learn. I don’t think you’ll get
what you need from a book. Sure, there will be a description of how
things happen but you just have to EXPERIENCE it and then it becomes
an automatic response that works like riding a bike. Patty Rios

Greets Lisa, If you don’t already have it I would suggest getting Tim
McCreight’s “The Complete Metalsmith” book and video. He is to the
point and explains what soldering really is. If you need more then
check your local community collage they may have some basic hands on.
Personally I got that tape and book and melted some dix-gold(brass).
Joining sheet to sheet, wire to sheet, and jump rings shut always
working towards smaller sizes.

Sometime the best way to learn is not “what to do” but “what not to
do” in order to get the results you are after. As far as blowing up
or burning down anything well your torch will have instructions on
setting up. The fear in the beginning is good in that you will pay
more attention to the details. Making sure that you’ve done
everything the instructions said do and checking 4 times :smiley:

Happy melting,
Guy…(Master melter)
“Life - what a beautiful design”

Question for all who use Little Torch . . . what size tip do you
generally use (for whatever metal)

Any advice would be appreciated (I just got one, and so far, I’m not
impressed . . .) The torch came with a #4 tip. I planned to use it
with gold, but my pieces are rather large, so I’m finding that I can
do the job quicker with the regular acetylene torch.

You asked about the torch tip sizes? I work 99.9% yellow and white
gold, .01% silver and platinum. If I am sizing a gold ring I use the
#5 tip unless it is 6 mm wide x 3 mm thick or platinum then I would
use the #6. I retip with the #4, - #3 if it is very delicate prong
work. I repair hollow chain and thin jump rings with #3,- solid chain
with #4. I have a rosebud tip for melting gold for casting one item
at a time. I also have the #1 and #2 tips and have no use for them.
You can get the tips as a set or individually. I think the tip is
selected more for the desired heat needed than for the metal used.
Patty Rios

Hi–I have been using a Little Torch for a while now and I really
like it. I use a #5 for most work, the #7 for really heavy things,
the #4 when I want a smaller area to heat up, and the #3 for wires
and thin pieces. I like the fact that the torch is so light and small and
easy to handle. Sandra

I have used my Little Torch for 10 years and love it. The #4 is for
the smallest soldering jobs such as earring posts. I use the # 5
for most work and the #7 for ring sizings, silver work and platinum.
I have oxy/propane and generally have 5 lbs pressure on each. For
a more intense flame for platinum, I crank it up to 7 - 10 lbs pressure.
HTH Marta

    Question for all who use Little Torch . . . what size tip do
you generally use (for whatever metal) 

Hi FishbRe: I generally use my #5 tip for most work, and once in a
while I need a bigger flame and I’ll put on the #7. Rarely use the
smaller ones except for delicate chains, etc. Don’t get discouraged
with that torch, it’s a very good tool. You can get a whole range of
tips including a “rose-bud” tip for melting metal, a double ended tip
(can’t see needing that one in the immediate future), etc. I have a
Meco Midget on one of my benches and the Little Torch on the other.
I find myself using the Little Torch most of the time because it’s
light and compact and I don’t have to drag around the heavier hoses.

David L. Huffman