Janet, Yes, there is a lot more to soldering than one would think.
For starters, it sounds like you are soldering little jump rings
with a blast furnace. Nonetheless, you can master this procedure.
First to consider is cleanliness. The jump rings must be clean and
properly fluxed. Check Orchid archives for further and extensive
on this part.
The next thing you need to learn is torch/heat control. Especially
with a large flame, it is important that you keep your torch well
back away from the piece to be soldered. Assuming the rings are
being held in tweezers or a third hand, you are going to have to heat
the ‘sink’ first. The sink is the metal that is drawing heat away
from the piece to be soldered, i.e., the tweezers. Start by slowly
bringing the outer tip of the flame closer to the area of the piece.
Move the flame around to heat the entire area. When the ring begins
to show a dull red, don’t move any closer…keep the torch flame at
that position and the ring will slowly redden. At that point the
solder (which you had place on the join earlier…right?) will flow.
If both sides of the ring are the same heat the solder will evenly
flow. If not, it will puddle on one side. Continue to heat but use
a ‘pick’ to pull the solder across to the other side.
On your torch, there is no ‘adjustment’. It is always wide open to
get the more effecient flame. The tip is engineered to draw in the
air and use the 20% of 02 to combine with the gas. If you try to cut
it down, you loose the effecienty of the tip.
There is a lot of soldering in the archives. Also see
the Lapidary Journal booklet on soldering by Sue Sanborn.
Good luck and Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL
where simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2