Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Speaking of Thermo-Loc

Was: Soldering Tube Settings Together

I’ve used Thermo-Loc and Jet Set with sucess and prefer it to
shellac b/c less mess and doesn’t crack out if I’m pushing especially
hard. However, particularly with the Thermo-Loc, it’s almost
impossible to get out of little crevices. I wouldn’t use it on
filagree for this reason, but I still find it annoying to have to sit
at the microscope with a needle to pick it out from behind a stone. I
try to be judicious in placing it, but sometimes it has a mind of
it’s own when soft. Usually, I steam around the piece to heat up the
Thermo-loc enough to get my piece out, but this often exacerbates the
problem and pushes the Thermo-Loc into spaces not originally
intended. (Perhaps there’s a better way to remove the piece?) I’ve
found Jet Set to be slightly less invasive; have been using
Thermo-Loc b/c that’s what my boss has at work. So my question is: is
there a way to dissolve this material, like shellac in alcohol, or
should I just stick to using it on more “solid” pieces?

Thanks, Holly.

I’ve been using Thermo-loc for a while quite successfully. How are
you heating yours? I used to heat it dry in a microwave, on a saucer
but had problems with it burning and sticking to the saucer. Now I
heat it under water in a microwave on full power for five minutes (at
which point it’s too hot to handle). I then remove it with my brass
tongs and dry it with paper towelling so that it doesn’t rust my vice
jaws. By that time it’s cool enough to handle. I set my piece in it
with a protruding bit underneath which fits in the vice jaws. It’ll
sit there while I set the next piece in Thermo-loc, by which time,
the piece in the vice is cool enough to set the stones. I set the
stones and then put the whole thing including the jewellery back in
the jug of water. Once all pieces are set with stones and placed in
the water, I microwave it again for four or five minutes - remember
you can put metal in the microwave as long as it’s under water! Again
I remove it carefully with my brass tongs, being careful not to mark
the jewellery and when cool enough to touch, remove the jewellery
from the Thermo-loc. Yes it’s a little like trying to remove chewing
gum from something, but you can pull most of it off initially and
then the remnants pick off VERY easily with a fingernail when it’s
cold and has turned hard.

I like it a lot. It supports your jewellery very evenly and is solid
enough to put on a fair amount of pressure when setting stones. Just
a happy customer.



I use a variety called Plastimorph from a chap in Harrogate who
advertises on the 'net. I usually soften it in hot water but, if I
need to soften it in place to reposition something for instance, I
use a hot air paint stripper gun which works very well for me.

Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK

I use Thermo-loc and use a hand held hair dryer to release my piece
from it. Since I tend to either drop or otherwise destroy too many
hair dryers, I now buy them in “bulk” from the second hand stores,
never paying more than $3.00 each for them. They all work great for
awhile and it’s no great loss when they die. The only drawback is
that they are sometimes originally used by smokers and tend to reek
of nicotine, but one can always sniff before one buys…

I’ve got some Thermoloc, but haven’t used it as I have been using
Polymorph (bought in Maplin, but available from Middlesex Uni
Teaching Resources, - almost certainly the same
stuff); similarly, I tend to use an embossing heat gun - a smaller
paint stripper - to soften it. Very easy to make sprung jigs for
repeat work too, particularly with engraving nameplates and the like.


That’s a brilliant recommendation Peter, thanks. I bought a half
kilo pack of Thermo-loc sticks from HS Walsh and it cost eighteen
pounds something, whereas the polymorph you recommend costs less for
twice that amount! I’ve got loads and they’ll last me a while yet but
when I need some more I’ve bookmarked the page so I can buy the

Thanks again.