I had read somewhere that you can use superglue to hold pieces
together prior to soldering and that the glue burns off to allow
the solder to flow... Anyone tried this?
Hi Todd, this is pulled from my post on the Orchid Archives May 18,
200. I rewrote it a bit for clarity.
After the ring and head are cast, clean up the castings and make
sure the setting fits well to the ring (with the heated head
technique it should fit perfectly). Then crazy glue the setting to
the ring. Use GOOD VENTILATION when using cyanoacrylate glues! I
talked with a technical expert at Loctite99 a manufacturer of
cyanoacrylate glues- he says that these glues are by far the most
toxic when wet!
Pack a small amount of Heat Shield Compound (I use Heat Shielding
Compound R-SO-FH6 from Small Parts Inc. 1(800)220-4242- Do not use
this on platinum, the minerals in it will contaminate platinum! )
around the top of the head and ring (not a lot, just enough to
support the ring and the head). Then flux up the inside of the
ring/head. With GOOD VENTILATION and a mini torch heat up the seam,
when the flux flows, put a chip of fluxed solder on the seam and it
flows beautifully. Crazy glue acts as a flux- works like a dream.
When the ring cools, dip in water, the heat shield compound washes
right off, now you can pickle and polish.
You may notice I said to use GOOD VENTILATION. Good ventilation does
NOT mean soldering with the window open somewhere in the studio. I use
a very good exhaust system and am known to be fanatical about safety
Yes, the crazy glue keeps the solder seam clean. I also use a bit of
flux on the piece as well. The crazy glue burns out very cleanly (it
fills in the slight gap between the pieces to be soldered and helps
keep oxides from forming in this gap). When the flux flows it sucks
into the seam where the crazy glue was. Keep in mind, you start out
with clean metal, the crazy glue holds the pieces together so you can
pack Heat Shield Compound or Place-it around the setting or prongs.
From Jewelry Concepts and Technology by Oppi Untracht Page 403
The word flux comes from the Latin fluxus, "flow", and the
function of flux is to aid solder to flow. Flux is any
substance, or combination of substances capable of promoting the
fusion of metals joined by the use of heat and a solder or metal
filler. "Flux is used in soldering mainly because the
temperature necessary for solder to melt and flow causes
unprotected metal surfaces to oxidize readily. If such oxides
are allowed to be present during soldering, they will inhibit
the flow of solder. By its presence, flux prevents the
formation of oxides and dissolves or "fluxes" any oxides that
I was taught to fabricate cluster settings using clay or utility wax
to temporarily hold the settings or prongs together and pour
soldering investment on top, then clean out the clay or wax. before
soldering. I found this to be less than accurate (you can't see the
base of the settings to see if they are all level), dirty (you have
to clean out the wax or clay), messy and time consuming. I no longer
have to make a frame around the piece to pour the investment into,
and I don't have to wait for the investment to set.
Here are some things I use crazy glue on. I had to solder 30
jumprings at a 90 degree angle around a larger ring. I made a grooves
with a burr where the jumprings are attached, glued them on at
exactly 90 degrees all around, packed a small amount of heat shield
compound supporting the big ring and smaller rings from the back, and
fluxed and soldered. Perfect soldering job, quick and accurate.
To make an eternity ring: Put some parchment or tracing paper on a
mandrel a tiny bit smaller than the finished size. Crazy glue the
settings and cast leaves all around the mandrel. Slide the ring off.
Pack Heat Shield Compound around the ring (also slide bits of old
broken saw blades to act as re-bar into the heat shield compound
around the ring). Burn or peel off the paper, flux and solder from
I use crazy glue (without the Heat Shield Compound) to sweat solder
geometric pieces, (a square within a circle with an equilateral
triangle when everything has to be lined up perfectly or it looks
awful). I flow solder on the back of the square and triangle. Sand
them flat, position them exactly where i want them to be, and put a
drop of crazy glue on so it wicks in between the pieces. Flux and heat
the piece until the solder flows. This works well for me. The crazy
glue keeps the pieces from dancing around when moisture in the flux is
I hope this helps!
Kate Wolf in Portland, Maine hosting wicked good workshops by the bay.