How do you solder a wavy, round wire element to a flat sheet so
that they are touching along the entire length? I tried this once
and almost went insanetrying to line them up. I finally had to give
Do it in stages. Solder at one end, or both ends if you like, not
worrying about getting it all at once. When you've done this, can now
gently mallet the wire down (Gently! you don't want to stretch
anything) to better contact the sheet.
Reflow the solder, adding a but more. if just a little doesn't
contact right as you're soldering, you can often just lightly press
it down with a solder pick, or let cool, mallet slightly to close
gaps, and repeat. Each time you melt the solder, it sligthly raises
it's melting point, so if you're careful, what you've previously
soldered on an attempt won't remelt.
Often, the trick is to make sure the sheet and wire are both fully
annealed. Then in soldering, use a broad, large enough flame so you
can evenly heat the whole sheet and wire, so there aren't hot and
cold spots (which tends to let things warp or expand unevenly,
opening up gaps when, prior to soldering, there were none. A mistake
beginners often make with silver is using too small, or too sharp/hot
a flame instead of a softer, broader, larger flame that can heat the
whole job. There are plenty of times when a tiny flame is very
useful, but with silver, at least, this is often not the case. Most
of the time, unless there's a good reason not to, you want to heat
the entire job, not just the spot where you want solder to flow,
Working with larger pieces of sheet, another trick is to lightly
planish the center of the sheet, so it very slightly, almost
imperceptibly, domes up in the middle. What this does is give it a
direction in which to move, increasing or decreasing that slight
doming, if it wants to expand unevenly while heating. That makes it
easier to control.
Another thing to watch for is if you're using two different metals.
They will expand/contract at different rates during heating, which
can make keeping good contact tricky.
In addition to using a large enough flame so the whole job is heated
evenly, to control warping, it can also help to use a higher grade of
solder. What that does, at least with silver, and often yellow golds,
is be allow both pieces of metal to remain fully annealed, almost
limp, at the point when solder flows.
Silver at the melting point of hard solder simply won't have any
spring, so will tend to want to just lay there flat without warping.
At the melting point of easy solders, the silver can sometimes still
have quite a mind of it's own. Plus, easy solder doesn't flow as well
Keep at it. It's possible.