Soldering hard solder

I have really enjoyed the orchid web site, great help. I have really
got a problem soldering hard solder on bezels, I can solder with
medium and soft. I have read everything about soldering and have
tried many times, I do what all the books says to do, I flux, and do
not go directly to the solder I circle the bezel, I use wire solder,
and been using the Little Torch, with the proper head, I keep looking
for the little shine, but by that time I usually burn the bezel, I
know I’m doing something wrong.

Sure would be glad to get some suggestions.

I thank You All in advance
Willie Mollohan

Hello Willie,

I keep looking for the little shine, but by that time I usually
burn the bezel, I know I'm doing something wrong. 

You answered your question yourself.

Don’t direct the heat to a specific point when you’re solder a
complete bezel.

  1. The entire piece need to be at the melting point of the silver
    solder BEFORE the silver solder starts to run. Look more for the heat
    color of your workpiece Willie and forget that shine for a minute!
    Thay shine is a result of the silver solder flow which will occur
    when all the preparations are good. You’re focused too much on that
    shine and NOT to what your pieces are telling you about their

  2. Only direct heat to a specific point if you need to solder that
    specific point.

  3. Concetrate your flame never to the smallest i.e. thinnest object
    of your workpiece. Concentrate your flame more to the heaviest piece
    and slightly touching the smaller/thinner pieces with the flame.

  4. Use enough heat and keep the soldering operation as short a
    possible. Keep an eye on the amount of flux because this will
    evaporate in time if you extend your soldering operation to long.

  5. Adapt your heat according your piece. Avoid a oxidation flame and
    work with a reducing flame especialy for regular sterling silver
    (silver/copper alloy).

Basicly their is no difference in soldering easy, medium or hard
solder. The biggest difference -to my opinion- is the amount of heat
needed in order to reach the melting temperature of the solder.

Enjoy and have fun

I do what all the books says to do, I flux, and do not go directly
to the solder I circle the bezel, I use wire solder, and been using
the Little Torch, with the proper head, I keep looking for the
little shine, but by that time I usually burn the bezel, I know I'm
doing something wrong. 

I understand than one expects from following written instruction to
get expected results, but it is unreasonable expectation.

Any process, soldering included, consist of myriad little details,
which simply impossible to describe. One of soldering skills is to
bring object to solder flowing temperature, and been able to maintain
at such temperature long enough for solder to flow. There are
techniques to achieving this result, which can only be shown, but not
described. You can either ask your local goldsmith for demonstration,
or obtain a dvd, which shot at close enough range to see these
details. If you decide to to dvd route, I would like to offer you my
dvd “Eternity Ring”, which shows soldering techniques at close range.
You can find out more detail on my website.

Leonid Surpin


I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen someone here on Orchid post this
method, but I’ve been using this same technique with my students
since 1975, and it works great. Part of your problem is going to be
putting that hot, precise flame directly on the bezel itself. With
the heat of the flame and the thinness of the bezel, you’ve got to
have lightening fast reflexes and perfect flame control to be
successful every time.

Try putting your assembled bezel with the its edges perfectly
aligned, flat on a smooth soldering board, like Solderite. You’ll
want a smooth board that is highly heat reflective for this. With the
seam facing your torch, put a light coating of flux on your bezel,
and pin a small piece of hard solder beneath the center of your bezel

When you get your torch flame lit, make sure you have a sharp flame,
the size determinate on the size, metal, and thickness of your bezel.
Making sure your torch flame is perpendicular to your bezel seam, so
the heat from your flame heats both side of your bezel evenly, put
the tip of that flame down IN FRONT of your bezel, on the surface of
the soldering board, about 1/2 in. or so away from your bezel. Your
flame should bounce off the soldering board, reflected onto the seam
to be soldered. Watch carefully, and get ready to pull that flame
away as soon as you see your bezel move. Having the pallion of HARD
solder pinned beneath the seam will not only prevent the solder from
moving out of the ideal position when you begin heating, but when it
flows, you will see the bezel drop onto the soldering board surface.

This method always works well, and prevents a majority of melted
bezels if you are careful.

Good luck!
Jay Whaley

Hi Willie,

Where are you focusing the heat? Are you soldering on a charcoal
block? Where are you placing the solder?

What I do, is flux both the sheet and the bezel wire, then place

Put a bit of solder inside the bezel wall, on the sheet but pushed
right up to the bezel wire. I then dance the flame along the bottom,
inside of the bezel but focus it on the sheet, and not the bezel
wire. You can also dance it around the bezel on the outside, on the
charcoal block, then move it back and focus inside the bezel, then
back out again, and keep alternating until the solder flows.

I do a lot of “dancing” with the flame, but it really works on
tricky situations, where one component is lighter weight than the
other and you are using hard solder… and you don’t want to melt the
lighter one.

Good luck!


I usually heat the piece from below. That way everything comes up to
temperature at the same time and the bezel will not melt. To heat
from below, you can support your work between two firebricks
allowing you to get your torch between the firebrick and angle the
flame up to the bottom of the piece.


Hi Willie, I see two problems for you to explore…

  1. The bezel needs to be in physical contact with the base as much
    as possible during the heating, and the melting of the solder. If
    the two parts are in contact then the heat can flow from one to the
    other and they will be more equally heated when the solder flows. If
    the bezel is floating on the flux, and if there are gaps, then the
    heat hitting the bezel will stay in the bezel rather then drain into
    the base through the physical contact. I use a pair of tweezers to
    gently press the bezel onto the base during the heating. Tweezers
    are able to press opposing sides of the bezel simultaneously so that
    the bezel bends rather than tilting or rocking. If one part of the
    bezel glows red or orange prematurely this is because it’s not
    touching the base, so chase the glowing bits and press them down
    during the heating. Get it all done during the heating and when the
    hard solder melts it will flow in a flash!

Heating the base from underneath will help, but the heat still needs
to get into the bezel through physical contact with the base.

  1. The little torch has a small fierce flame. A big whooshy flame is
    more forgiving in that it will heat the whole thing more evenly all
    over. A small intense flame must be moved very rapidly all over the
    item to achieve the same result.


but by that time I usually burn the bezel, I know I'm doing
something wrong.

William, I had this happen to me, and I figured it was using an
oxidising flame, by the time it gets hot, you burn right through. Keep
it “brushy” and reducing, then you can melt and not oxidize (burn)
through. Hope this helps.

Tom Parish now back in cold michigan.
Designs by Suz


Thank you, I haven’t tried that, I bet I do, when you feel
comfortable, at soldering medium, and soft solder, but when I try
hard solder I think I just plain fight it. Again Milt I truly do
thank-you, I’m fairly new at Orchid, fantastic artist and great
people and info.

God Bless


I really thank you for your info. I think you have nailed my problem,
I have bigger torches and I always been afraid to uses the bigger
ones on bezels, I only been a member of Orchid a short time, people
like yourself, and somany others that are so knowledge able people,
what a great Web Site, I have been doing jewelry as a hobby and I
love it, whats really great there are so many people that are so
gracious in helping each other, I retired from the Government I was
the head Locksmith for all the Federal Bldgs in Houston, and
Locksmiths always kept there little knowledge to themselves. I live
in Arizona in which it is rich in materials (slabs, crystals and so
many other materials I use for Lapidary) I’m sorry to be so long
winded. But I’m really grateful for the great info.

Again Thank You.
God Bless


I will definitely try that, thank you for your help, I’m sorta new at
Orchid, but people like yourself, and all others that belong to
Orchid are the greatest, I think the Little Torch maybe one of my
problems too, I have larger torches, but I was always scared to use
them on bezels, I do Jewelry as a hobby and love it, there so much to
learn, I donate my jewelry to Veterans Organization when they have
one of there events to help Veterans. Again Ithank you very much.

God Bless

William, I agree wholeheartedly with most everything in response to
this question. I also do the soldering from underneath…most of
the time, by holding the back plate in front of me with stout
tweezers. But, when the piece is large that can be difficult because
the weight of the overall piece can make the backplate sag. Also,
putting it up on a bridge of wire between two blocks is a very good
way to go but is not always possible. Another time tested way is to
create a ‘birds nest’. This is a ‘wad’ of wire (I don’t recommend
iron binding wire as it tends to melt from high heat but steel wire
is good) sort of ‘gloomed’ together with plenty of space between the
strands but looking like a birds nest. By resting the piece on it and
playing a large flame around the perimeter the heat will migrate
under the nest and bring the piece up to critical temperature quite

from Don in SOFL.


I do what all the books says to do, I flux, and do not go directly
to the solder I circle the bezel, I use wire solder, and been
using the Little Torch, with the proper head, I keep looking for
the little shine, but by that time I usually burn the bezel, I know
I'm doing something wrong. 

Soldering is one of the most important and difficult jewelry
fabrication techniques to master. Do not give up. I am sure that you
have heard many times, practice, practice.

The bezel is a part that gives many trouble since it is an item that
is usually made with thin metal. My technique is working with paste
solder from Unique Solutions. I very rarely use silver hard paste
solder (formula #75), but rather use silver medium-hard paste solder.
You are talking about a melt temperature of 1350 F for the medium
hard (formula #70) paste verses the temperature of 1450 F for the
hard paste solder. You have several degrees in between those two
formulas, but to learn and have success with a soldering job will
add confidence. The lower temperature is still very high and leaves
many degrees in between the other formulas of paste solder, wire
solder or solder pallions, such as medium (formula #65) so you can
feel confident when continuing your fabrication project that you have
a good window before you would come near the temperatures of the
other lower melting silver paste solders. Some people always use
paste solder in the hard formula to do all the seams in a project.
The technique of using only hard solder for the entire piece will
come with practice, it is not, in my opinion, to be tried before you
master soldering. Every time you melt solder, you have to go to a
higher temperature the next time you want to melt that same solder;
this is why it will work to solder all seams with hard and with other
parts of the fabrication of your piece.

I form the bezel and make sure the seams are perfectly aligned with
no air gaps. I then place the paste solder in the back of the
aligned seam, on the inside of the bezel. You need to use very little
paste solder as the flow ability is very good. You also do not add
flux to the paste as it is already contained in the non-drying
formula. It is kind of a point and shoot application. I place the
bezel, with the paste solder in place on a board that has reflective
heat in a position fo having the seam perpendicular to the board… I
love the Solderite boards for this reason as they have bounce back
heat. I then start the project by positioning the flame of the little
torch on the side of the bezel opposite the seam, moving back and
forth so I do not create a heat spot and burn the metal. This allows
for expansion of the metal and the expansion of the metal tightens
the seam when the heat is applied to the “backside” of the bezel at
the beginning of the process. After I see that the metal is beginning
to get heated, I will slowly move the torch to the front (seam side)
and keep going around and around not concentrating heat in one area.
You may start to see a very small amount of smoke coming from the
paste solder, if so, you know you are getting activation of the
solder; if no smoke, continue with the process and when you see the
shine, you are there. Keep going around and around, you will start to
see the paste solder look like it is going to make a shine or flash
of a shine. It is now time to bring the flame in front of the seam
and continue going up and down along the seam to draw the solder
through the seam. Solder flows to heat. Remember, do not let your
torch flame concentrate and sit in one spot, keep it moving so you do
not create a hot spot. When you are going up and down over the seam,
you are drawing the solder from the back to the front and having the
seam soldered on all parts of the seam.