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Soldering jump rings between 2 pendant parts


Once again I have just struggled trying to solder a jump ring
between two parts of a pendant and could use some help with the
process. I have one part which is about 1/2 inch square, and the
other part is 3/4 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch in 20 gauge sterling.
When attempting to solder the jump ring in between them I clean,
sand and flux (Pripps) the jump ring, then support the jump ring on
each side by a third hand so the seam is at the top. I am using a
Little Torch tip 4 ( sometimes #5 on these projects) with a small
flame, and then increase the size of the flame as the frustration
increases. I just do not seem to get the jump ring itself hot
enough to melt the solder (either medium or easy) and meanwhile the
two larger pieces get soiled again after having been polished to
remove previous firescale.

I have no trouble soldering jump rings individually for a chain,
on a piece of charcoal, but this always seems to stump me when I am
connecting two larger pieces. Is it not advisable to put the jump
ring in two third hands? My understanding was that one aims the
small flame at either side of the jump ring seam and then when it
gets hot enough the solder placed on it will melt. When I try the
pick method the little ball of solder keeps sitting there and just
will not melt! I have had the same problem, actually, when trying
to solder an ear wire shut when it is connected to a hearty piece
of sterling. Because of the weight (and for the quality work I am
striving for) I really want these to be soldered rather than left
cold, and if I put them on when I do my original bezel work I find
the jump rings get thinned during the bobbing, tripoli, rouge
polish sessions.

Many thanks to anyone who can give me some tips.

Sue Danehy, Previous e mail address was

Canton, New York, up near the Canadian border, where the tulips
and flowering crab trees are finally in blossom.



It sounds to me like you are heat sinking the jump ring with your
third hands. If you can, try to support the piece without using a
third hand at all. If that is not feasible use one third hand
holding the jump ring as far from the solder seam as possible.
Also hold the ring with the very tips of your cross locks making
as little contact with the silver as possible.



Michael, The third hand is contributing to your problem somewhat
due to the fact that the sterling conducts heat sooo fast. Also,
you may want to switch to Batterns flux and use a very hot and
slightly oxidizing flame to “force” the solder to flow. Try using
the third hand to suspend the jump ring in the air instaed of
clamping onto it.

Hope this helps,
Ken Sanders
Waco, Texas


Hello Sue,

  support the jump ring on each side by a third hand so the seam
is at the top.

The two third hands are acting as heat sinks, absorbing the heat
from the jump ring and dissipating it. This is why the jump ring
never gets hot enough to melt solder. So it’s either more
heat(danger, melt) or find an other way to set up for soldering
that won’t suck up so much heat. Also Pripps flux tends to burn off
rather quick, it works great for hot and fast, but no so good for
slow and frustrating, paste flux is more forgiving. Once the flux
burns off the resulting oxidation will keep the solder from

It sounds like your soldering method is sound, heating around the
joint and not directly on it, just get more creative with the setup.

Ed Colbeth Metalsmith, UMASS Dartmouth
Taunton, Massachusetts (Soon to be Deer Isle, Maine)

ICQ# 6247734


If what you are trying to solder is Sterling, then you need to
heat ALL the pieces! Start heating the largest first, then
encorporate the next largest and then finally the jump ring . . .
the solder WILL run if ALL pieces are heated to the degree needed
to start the flow.

I don’t know about the flux you use, I use Batterns and it has to
turn clear before the solder will run.

Good luck!


Hi Sue,

It sounds like the “extra hands” tweezers are pulling too much
heat away from your jump ring. I’ve had fair results by placing
the whole assembly on the charcoal block and holding the jump ring
upright with a pair of stainless steel watchmaker’s tweezers.
These have very fine tips so the heat stays where you need it.

Good luck!

Elaine (MoonStones) in the water-logged state of Massachusetts


Hi Michael, You are certainly right about soldering loops closed
for quality work. Try 1 very small pair of tweezers holding the
jump ring. It sounds as though your 2 third hands might be acting
as 2 heat sinks. If true, this would make it impossible for anyone
to solder anything. Good luck, Tom Arnold


Sue-If I read your description correctly, the third hands are
probably acting as a heat sink and preventing your jump ring from
getting hot enough. If you can, try folding your two workpieces
together, securing THEM with a third hand and letting the jump
ring hang free below them. Flux the solder and the ring and heat
them separately so the solder won’t dance off the ring when heated.
Then apply the solder, heat the ring carefully and if you keep
the joint facing down, it should close successfully without
messing up your workpiece. Good luck! …Donna


That ""little ball of solder that will not melt seems to be the
clue to what is wrong. If the piece is really clean, the only
reason for the solder not melting is insufficient heat where it is
neede. I suspect that the two third hands are sucking off too much
of the heat. Try laying the assembly out flat, perhaps on a
charcoal block, with the jump ring seam out in the clear. If
neccesary to hod the piece still, try fastening the rest of the
piece to the charcoal or soldering pad with pins and proceed as you
described beforeThe problem is most certainly heat related and
since I hae no working experience with the Little Torch I dont know
if it will provide enough heat for the ring, but I"msure you know
that. Good luck.

Sol K.
Solk1@ in New York City where soldering problems never happen


Aloha Michael,

Seems to me the third hands and larger components are acting as
heat sinks.Try using one jaw at the bottom and flow the solder on
the jumpring til it is bulbous,not completely flowed.Hold the jump
ring in a fine tip locking tweezer,by hand.(Using a larger feathery
flame)Take your pendant,in your third hand(clamping the bottom of
piece or opposite of your soldering area)and use more heat on the
larger component,gently licking the flame until on the jump
ring,until both are the same temp.,gently touch the ring to the
larger component and you got it.Practice makes perfect.If the jump
ring gets dinked,the tweezers are too tight or you put too much
heat on it.Gold and Platinum are much easier.If this doesn’t work
for you,do the same thing with the jumpring with the solder.(you
can file a flat on the joint)Make a groove in a charcoal block to
hold the jumpring,butt the larger component to the jumpring,heat
the larger component,gently licking the smaller component as you
go.When the pieces are the relative same temp.,the solder will
flow to the larger piece(you may have to nudge the larger component
with a pick or tweezers,so the solder jumps,if you have a
gap).Remember to use lesser hardnesses of solder as the project
develops(also reflowing solder changes the flow point 50 to 100
degrees,higher).Also,try Dandix flux or borax and water.

Hope this is of help.

Christian Grunewald
Precision Modelmaking

   When I try the pick method the little ball of solder keeps
sitting there and just will not melt! 

Hello Michael:

It is difficult to solder a thin part to a thick part, especially
silver. It absorbs heat more than any other metal. I do not know
the size of your jump rings but try this. Use a pencil lead inserted
into the jump ring,Pencils come in many lead sizes so for bigger
jump rings you might need the old kindergarten size. Flux and flow
solder on the jump ring first. Heat the larger part and when it is
hot enough apply the ring held by the pencil lead to the area you
want it. The pencil lead will absorb alot of heat and the jump
ring will not melt if you stay mostly off of it.

Use that #5 tip and the bigger the parts the bigger the tips.
Little torch has #6 and #7 tips available also.

Are you using oxy/propane?

A bushy flame is good for silver.And I really like medium solder
over easy. Sometimes you must weld before you polish.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA



I can think of several things in your description that may be the
source of your problem. I make a LOT of sterling chain and much of
the soldering is done "in the air’. I use a third hand with sharp
tweezer to hold the jump rings. A large 3rd hand may be heat
sinking the heat away.

I use Handy Flux because when fluid you can place the ball of
solder where you want it,and it will stay there (usually) Then
slowly bring the piece up to soldering temp. Excess flux will be
removed in the Sparex.

The jump ring must be closed tight. It is a well known fact that
a ball of solder will jump 3 0r 4 mm from the pick to a place on
the hot piece that you don’t want it, but will not flow to fill a
gap smaller than a blond human hair.

You may also try using a lower melting temp solder. Sometimes I
use a super easy flow that melts at about 1100 deg F. If all else
fails, try some Tix solder. You can heat the jumpring with a
soldering iron. The Tix should be strong enough to hold

I do a couple of things that the books tell you not to do. Since
most of my work is fabricated from sheet and wire, I pickle
everything to white before working. This will reduce the oxidation
that may be forming to keep your solder from flowing. When all
soldering is done, I remove scratches with 600 grit wet or dry
sandpaper and sometimes finish with 0000 steel wool. Then it goes
into a vibratory tumbler with Green Buff from Rio Grande.
Overnight in the tumbler will give you a polish. I put a days
production in at night and take the polished pieces out in the
morning. I eliminate the buffing on 90% of my work. Be sure you
remove scratches or you will have shiny scratches.

Bobbing compound will bite into your metal. Try skiping this step
if you can.

UFO’s are real–the Air Force is swamp gas!



Bobert,I would refuse to work on a noble metal,with "ticks"
solder(I would not work with ticks solder unless absolutely
nessesary ) on good or silver plate it can really screw up a
professional job,now and in the future. Good work habits are a help
to yourself as well as craftsmen in the future.

Christian Grunewald


I use a wire solder. It is much better than placing your solder on
the item. Keep the solder in the form of a long wire and just keep
it nearly touching at the place of contact. The flux should have
already been put on the wire solder.

when the jump ring to be soldered gets red hot just touch the wire
solder to it and the item will be instantaneously soldered.

Manoj Gupta

E-Mail : @emgupta

Let me know if you have further questions.


Once again I have just struggled trying to solder a jump ring
between two parts of a pendant and could use some help with the
process.It sounds like you are almost there.

Sue: The setup you have described is similar to how I might
approach the problem. Because the 3rd-hand tweezers are acting as
heat sinks, I’d try to hold the jump ring with only one 3rd-hand
tweezer (I prefer the fine-point cross-lock type). If at all
possible, don’t use a tweezer (this is not always practical). I’m
not a big fan of Pripps for sterling. I’m concerned that you may be
burning off your flux before the the solder can flow. Try a paste
flux (ie: Ultra Flux). Paste fluxes tend to hang around a bit
longer than Pripps. If you do try the paste flux, you may want to
use your pick to place the solder after the flux has finished
bubbling. One more thing. Don’t be too timid with the heat. This is
a fast and hot operation. Depending on the size of the jump ring,
I’d probably opt for the #4 tip. Don’t start with a tiny flame (of
course you don’t want it so big that it’s heating the parts other
than the jump ring). The blue part of my flame would be about 1/4"
long. I let the size of the torch tip determine the diameter of the
flame. I’d aim the flame so that is doesn’t “spill” onto other
parts (if possible) and apply the solder when the paste flux
clears. Because paste flux can be “messy” (especially Ultra Flux),
try it out on a test jump ring or three so you know what to expect.
Remember: Hot and fast.

In the case of earwires, I’d probably opt for Extra-Easy solder
or, more likely, something like Sta-Brite. This is simply because I
wouldn’t want to aneal the earwire.