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Toast rack jig

Hello all,

There are lots of jewellers out there but I hope a few metalsmiths
are tuned in as well for some possible thoughts on the fabrication
of a 6 -slice silver toast rack that I have a commission to make.
I’ve been trying to think of an efficient, foolproof way to support
all the upright members in a fixed right angle for the soldering
operation. I’ve developed a plan but would welcome others’
perspectives which may spot a fatal flaw in it or - possibly suggest
a better approach. It may be mad to try to explain this without
illustrations, but here goes… for simplicity’s sake, assume that
the construction is based on conventional toast rack shape (i.e.,
goalpost-shaped ribs aligned at 90 degrees along a slatted
horizontal frame.)

My plan involves: 1.) filing locating notches where the silver ribs
stand along the horizontal base frame so that the relative spacings
are fixed. 2.) using thin sheet steel, saw out a jig which looks
like a hair comb, with “teeth” as wide as the spaces between the
uprights. The ends are elongated so that when in position, the jig
is a bit taller than the toast rack. The idea is that the"comb" is
brought down onto the top of the row of silver ribs, snaring them in
its “teeth” at the correct upright angle, as the 2 long ends of the
comb embed in the soft firebrick hearth so that everything,
theoretically, becomes fixed in the correct position for soldering
in one go. Hope you can visualise this.

It sounds like I’ve got it all sorted, but I’ve thought hard about
constructions on other things only to have someone say afterwards
"you could have done such and such", often a much simpler and more
obvious route which just passed me by. I thought I’d circulate this
problem and see if anyone has had a similar project and/or can
recommend an elegant, easier solution, perhaps using some found

Advance grateful thanks to anyone who takes the time to think about

Regards, Kay

Kay, you may wish to consider a tap and die setup, not only might it
be easier to engineer, but would also reduce the problem of solder
loosening in an accidentally too hot oven. A combination of the two
would probably be best.


Hello Kay,

This sounds like a kind of tricky little operation since most of the
joints have to be soldered in one sitting. I like the idea of the
jig, but depending upon the distance of your iron jig from your
solder points, I have tried a similar kind of thing and found that
if the iron is too close to the solder point and hot it creates a
oxidizing(?) environment and a wierd rust colored patina coats the
silver before the flow point of the silver and prevents it from
making a secure joint. Any thoughts on what this is any other
Orchidians? Anyway, I was going to suggest constructing a jig as
you described, but instead of a notch where the uprights are to be
inserted, try constructing the jig of copper wire frame and using
two short posts in close proximity to each other (close enough to
allow the Ag uprights) and wrap some fiberglass around them to
inhibit fusion with the Ag and marring. Maybe this is a cockamamie
Rube Goldberg method, but you asked for ideas…first one off the
top of my head.

Good luck!