Hi Gail, I’ve soldered quite a few domes and found that a larger
softer flame is best.
As for securing the halves, creating a jig using straight pins and
long sewing needles with large eyes works well for me. The straight
pins serve as a base for the bottom hemisphere. I use three pins
imbedded in the soldering pad with the heads angled slightly toward
the center, this allows the heat to travel under the bottom without
acting as a heat sink (even heating is important with sterling) .
I use three large sewing needles, also imbedded in the pad, to hold
the top hemisphere in place. These are positioned so that they are
perpendicular to and even with the seam at the point of contact, thus
preventing movement of the top portion of the dome. Binding wire is
passed through the eyes and twisted snug but not tight. If there is a
place where it will not show or can be incorporated into the design, I
drill a hole in one of the domes prior to soldering to allow for air
After pickling, I use a hypodermic needle to withdraw the pickle
through the hole prior to rinsing. Following the rinse, holding the
piece in my pickle tongs, I gently heat it over a wet paper towel with
the hole pointing down until the steam forces the remaining fluid from
the dome. I then inject a saturated solution of baking soda & water
to neutralize any remaining pickle. Rinse well inside and out !
If the design is such that a hole is obtrusive, you have a whole new
problem i.e… expanding hot air blowing out your solder joint. If this
is the case, let us know, it can be dealt with in other ways.
Brook Hollow Studio