I made a pendant the other day for a friend of mine. It is made by
soldering together seven tube settings. I make my own tube settings
and bearers. My problem is that whilst some of the joints work
smoothly and to plan, some of them just won’t solder to my
satisfaction and don’t quite flow properly to make a strong joint.
They just sort of go to the mush stage and thus can be easily pulled
apart, requiring me to clean up and resolder until I get it right.
Is there are tried and trusted technique to this? I have tried doing
it using a solder pick (which is how I do most soldering) but
haven’t had much success as the settings move out of position (they
were arranged in a sort of sinusoidal manner) and also if they are
round settings I can’t get the tip of the solder pick with the solder
on it, into the tight space. I have also tried setting the two pieces
up after fluxing, in such a way that there is a piece of solder
wedged between them and then when I see the solder start to flow, I
can push the settings closer together. Sometimes this works but
sometimes as I say it just “mushes” creating a bad joint. The reason
I have wedged the solder in between the settings, is to avoid the two
surfaces oxidising whilst being heated.
I know that I will probably get quite a few answers telling me to
make sure the joint is perfectly clean and tight, etc, BUT I can
assure you that everything is perfectly cleaned up to the point of
being bright white. If a joint has failed and needs doing again, I
file and pickle to remove any traces of solder and oxidation.
Incidentally, I use hard solder for almost every joint, only using
medium to do things like soldering a bale onto a pendant. Don’t know
if this makes any difference.
Does anybody who does a lot of tube setting work have a tried and
trusted method for soldering them together? Thanks in advance.