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Steel soldering pick


#1

Is it okay to use a steel pick for soldering? Or a third hand that
has clips that are steel?

Anne


#2

Anne,

I use both tungsten and stainless steel. The stainless works just
fine for most soldering jobs of sterling or gold. Do not use it for
platinum or palladium or you have a real problem. The stainless does
need more clean up more often than tungsten but is cheap and may be
replaced many times with very little expense.

I hope this helps.
Tom.


#3

Anne, You know something? One item I use for a solder pick is the end
of my tweezers! And, they are made of steel. Saves a lot of picking
up and setting down. I picked that up from our Benchtube friend
Giacomo! Re the third hand, I’m not sure what you mean…do you want
to use them as a pick? Cheers from Don in SOFL


#4

Hi Anne,

No problem. My first soldering pick was a sharpened bit of coat-
hanger wire. Worked great. (Probably wouldn’t use it on platinum, but
if you’re playing that game, get one of the tungsten ones.)

You can make a tungsten pick out of a TIG electrode for a couple of
bucks. Go to a welding supply, tell them you need a 1/8 TIG
electrode. Get one of the cerium loaded ones. (not thorium, and not
just pure tungsten. The first is ever so slightly radioactive, the
second is brittle.) Should cost a couple of bucks.

Get a wooden file handle, and drill out a hole slightly undersized
for the rod. Drive it in, (carefully: they’re still brittle) and then
sharpen the point with a grinder. Mine’s lasted me 20 odd years.

Regards,
Brian


#5

Here’s an easy one, get a lead pencil 2h and cut the wood back about
2 inches. Graphite is great for a soldering pick, I dunk the tip in
flux and dry it with my torch, then when I melt my solder it sticks
nicely to the point of the lead.

Mark


#6
One item I use for a solder pick is the end of my tweezers!

This past March, in Vientiane, Laos, I watched a goldsmith in the
central market convert a customer’s large, 23k earring into a ring.
One of the most useful tools he used was pair of tweezers, stainless
I assume, as a soldering pick, a clamp and a metal forming tool. He
would feed the extremely tiny paillon into the joint grasped by the
points. When he melted the earring into a ball, he used the butt end
of the tweezers as a sort of spatula to pat the ball into an
elongated, four sided billet before rolling it into sheet. When he
needed support for the ring shank while soldering on the top, he
slipped the shank up between the blades of the tweezers 'til it was
caught and laid it down on the fire brick to solder it. These guys
can make more with a half dozen or so tools than many of us can with
a whole bench full.

Jerry in Kodiak