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Soldering roller catches

Hi Everyone,

I am having trouble with soldering bought roller clasps (brooch
findings). I have tried both methods of melting the solder on the
base of the catch and then heating the plate and soldering the
catch, and the opposite (placing solder on the backing plate, and
placing the catch on it). The problem is not so much with getting the
clasp to solder, but afterwards the roller mechanism does not work. I
have checked there is no solder in the roller mechanism and have
pickled it for some time to ensure there is no oxide preventing the
roller mechanism to work. Can anyone help?



try using some sort of antiflux (white-out, yellow ochre) inside the
tube to keep it from fusing to the roller. Also make sure your not
using too large a flame. The clasp is usually much more delicate than
the jewelry item it’s being soldered to and will heat up a lot
faster, sometimes hot enough to fuse the parts together. If antiflux
isn’t appropriate for a delicate item hold the area most likely to
melt/fuse with tweezers as a heat sink. This will protect it from
melting and will add an extra amount of protection to the clasp.


Try some light oil on the catch. It should help.


Sounds like the mechanism is jamming because it was heated and
formed oxides. A few things to try…

Before heating slightly open the housing so you have very limited
surface contact between the moving parts. readjust after soldering
use a drop of light oil and work the rotator back and forth to free
it up. clean off the oil and lightly polish with a soft brush and
compound I usually use a clean pick shoved into the hole of the clasp
to hold it. maybe it also acts as a heatsink, but I rarely freeze a
part this way.

Hi Karen,

My commiserations - I remember the frustration, this is what I found
out eventually:

Align the item on the soldering pad, and the roller catch in a pair
of locking tweesers, so that you can comfortably place the roller
catch in the correct position at the right moment. The roller catch
is best gripped by the ears of the roller with fine-pointed locking
tweesers; gripping across the body of the catch can cause it to
distort when hot, and even fuse slightly if overheated, so true up
your tweesers and grip on that tiny ear!

Flux the spot where the catch is to go on the item, and the base of
the roller catch - I give the roller catch a quick blast of heat
before fluxing so that the flux adheres nicely on the base.

Place a pallion of solder on the item. Now, about the solder - extra
easy is a no-no, it runs all over the place and into the catch if you
are not very careful; and the catch will float and spin around when
re-melting. Easy solder is OK, but the best is medium solder - it
will flow slowly, and fill gaps nicely (eg if the catch needs to be
tilted, or soldered on a precarious edge). When re-melted, medium
solder remains sluggishly in place while you nudge the catch into its
final position.

Holding the tweezers with the catch locked in, do a trial
positioning on the item, then hold it away while you heat the item.
When the pallion begins to melt, place the catch on the melting
solder - it should bond almost instantly as the solder melts fully;
remove heat, unlock tweezers.

Check the alignment: if the position or angle needs adjustment, heat
the item (once the catch is soldered it will not overheat so much),
and nudge the catch into its final position with the solder pick.
Even if the catch is positioned correctly I do a quick remelt to let
the catch settle on its own while free of the tweezers, but keeping
the solder pick close by just in case. Good luck.


Hi Karin,

I am having trouble with soldering bought roller clasps (brooch
findings)... afterwards the roller mechanism does not work. I have
checked there is no solder in the roller mechanism 

if the roller mechanism is not working after soldering, it is most
likely that solder is getting into it, even if you can’t see it. I’ve
found that coating the roller catch mechanism with ochre ( or use
anything you usually use to stop solder running ) will prevent these

cheers, Christine in Sth Australia

Hello Karin,

It sounds like a bit of solder is getting into the mechanism of the

You say that there is no solder in the mechanism, but it only takes
a microscopic amount to freeze the catch. It is possible to pry the
sides of the catch apart, so that the rotating center part is
exposed. Try that to see if stray solder is the culprit. If the
center part falls out (indicating no solder binding), reassemble and
squeeze the sides back into position around the center. Be careful
not to squeeze too tightly and bind up the center.

If you do find solder in the catch, here’s what I do to prevent
that. Paint the water-based white-out on the mechanism before
fluxing. The white-out can be thinned with water so it penetrates. It
will keep solder from creeping into the mechanism.

Judy in Kansas, who is in some discomfort due to a broken rib. This
is really putting a “hitch in my gitalong!!” I can’t even burp, let
along sneeze without paying for it.


I too had that problem until Rio Grande sent me a little hint sheet
in my last order of catches. Try this after soldering on the catch.
Gently boil the brooch in water with a little soap and ammonia
added. Then squirt the catch with a hit of silicone spray. Works
like a charm to release the catch mechanism to rotate. Can’t tell
you how many catches I replaced on pieces thinking that I had
screwed something up when the mechanism didn’t work until I got this
hint from Rio. Thanks Rio.

Cynthia Clearwater

Try this after soldering on the catch. Gently boil the brooch in
water with a little soap and ammonia added. 

Before you try this, you might just grab one or both of the little
"ears" carefully from the side with chain nose pliers and try to
operate the catch. If it’s soldered, nothing will happen, but it’s
shot, so no harm done either. If it’s just stuck together with flux,
it will move, at least a little. If it moves at all, it isn’t
soldered, so wiggle it until it comes loose-- or do the boiling


Guess I’ll add my positioning of the catch:

I open the catch. Put a little flux on the bottom of it and grasp it
in a locking tweezer. “Melt” a small bit of solder into a ball, pick
up the tiny ball of solder with the solder pick. Having already put
flux (Batterns!!!) on the spot for the catch, transfer the ball of
solder to sit in that spot, heating to make sure the solder sets
down off the pick. I’m right handed so hold the torch in my left hand

  • tweezer in the right hand. Apply small flame from the torch to the
    base where the solder balls sits - while holding the catch above in
    the “brush” of the flame - at the same time when the solder flows, I
    place the catch in the “melted” solder and quickly remove the flame.
    Coordination is the secret ingredient! Never any “freeze- ups”.


I solder a catch the same way. Too many people try to heat the catch
instead of the base it’s to be attached to. When a catch gets
overheated, it gets soft, bends this way and that, and breaks
quickly or won’t open at all.