This might be a silly question but I am still trying to understand
the process: Soldering jump rings together�. (I am a beginner and
havent started to attempt to solder yet) So what you do is link jump
rings together and solder each one closed one by one. Is that the
process? You solder jump ring a to jump ring b, and then solder jump
ring b to jump ring c. Or do you wait till the end and heat up all
the jump rings in one shot? What happens when have to have beads or
stones strung on some of those chains/jump rings that you need to
solder. Does it matter? I thought I read in my gemstone book today
that a stone like Turquoise can get permanently discolored when
heated past 425 degrees or something like that�. So how do you solder
without messing up your beads? I mean I know with a bezel technique
you fit the stone in at the end� but it seems like you have to
solder stuff together sometimes and you have to have your
beads/stones near the flame? I am buying a cheapo hardware torch to
begin with and I don�t know how controlled the flame is.
This might be a silly question but I am still trying to understand
While not a direct answer to this question, I wanted to recommend a
book that will help get you started in your jewelry making process.
Tim McCreight’s book “Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing” goes
through the fundamentals of metal work, including soldering basics.
There are many other excellent books out there as well, including
other excellent books by Tim, but I loved this one when I was first
exploring metalsmithing (Oppi Untracht’s books have also been
invaluable to my learning). For learning specific techniques I love
Alan Revere’s video series. These are invaluable if you aren’t
able to take a class. They give you a visual reference point, which
helped me considerably.
One suggestion I have is pick one or two skills to learn first. If
you aren’t familiar with metal at all, a good way to become familiar
with it is by learning to work with precious metal wire. It doesn’t
take a lot of tools nor is it very costly to get started. Then, once
you start to feel comfortable with the metal’s working properties,
add a new skill. Taking it one step at a time is quite a bit less
expensive than going all out right away and you can always add to
your bench as you go. At least for me, working on one new skill at a
time and mastering that skill before going on to the next thing keeps
me offering the highest quality work possible and allows me to blend
the new skills into my existing style.
As an aside, in answer to a question you asked in another thread,
most gemstone beads are drilled to accomodate smaller guages of wire
- 22 to 24 guage, mostly. Often, only larger sized beads (8mm or
larger) will accomodate anything heavier than 22 ga. Pearls and some
faceted higer-end semi-precious stones (apatite, tourmaline, peridot)
as well as most precious stones tend to have very small holes and
usually won’t accomodate larger than 24 ga. and often need 26 gauage
or reamed. Beads cut in India tend to have smaller (smaller than 24
ga.), more irregular drill holes than what comes out of China. I
really like the drill holes of the stones I get from Earthstone.com -
they will often accomodate heavier guages of wire.
Anyway, I hope this info. is a little useful to you. Good luck in
HI liz no what you do is solder up half your jump rings hard solder
thenyou tak 2 of those that you have soldered and put them on one
that is not soldered then you close and solder that jumpring with
mediem solder and you just follow that routine and yu should be fine
im new at this to but thats what i was told on how to solder jump
Right, you solder jump ring a to jump ring b. If you wait until the
end to heat the chain, you risk not being able to control the
solder, which is going to go where the heat is. In fact, I would
link the jump rings one at a time and hold them with locking
tweezers, and solder that one before moving on to the next jump
ring, so that I know where my solder is flowing. If you haven’t
tried soldering before, there are a few things you need to remind
yourself of, like you need a good fit, metal must be clean, paste
solder is easier to use on jump rings than hard solder, hard solder
needs flux, borax reduces firescale, and use a light touch. Don’t
expect perfection at first, you may get a thin place which needs
resoldered, or a lump which can be worked out or reheated. Try to
practice your heat control quite a bit before you involve beads or
stones because metal is a conductor of heat, the heat will travel
the chain and damage the beads/stones without precautions. You can,
for example, place your bead or stone in sand for protection, or
just get really good at heat control. Good luck.
LinZ; Wow sounds like you are in for a serious workload, and learning
curve. First it will be very hard to solder near any bead with a
"cheapo hardware torch". I assume you mean the large bernzomatic
style torch that mounts to a can of butane fuel, if so the flame on
this torch is capable of soldering and fabricating silver, just not
very intricate work. Rio has some inexpensive canned fuel torches
that are more controllable,(page 364 items A & B) and easier to use.
Second and easier way to make head pins is to drill a hole through a
steel bench Pin & anvil (Rio page 125 item B) actually drill several
of different sizes this way you can accommodate several sizes of wire
for making headpins. My recommendation is for most beads 20 Ga and 22
Ga. Sterling wire, heat the end of a length is wire till it melts
into a ball, Quench the length of wire to anneal the metal (make it
soft) then stick the wire into one of the holes, lightly tap the ball
flat then file it or buff it smooth. In reality you better off buying
headpins unless you just like extra work and being able to say I made
every thing, but it is good to know how to do it in a pinch.
The neck wires, really not much of a trick first bend an oval loop
at one end of an 17 inch long piece of (I like 10 Ga. Dead soft),
then solder the loop closed (back to the wire) make the oval loop
about 3/8ths long. then bend the other end up and melt the end so
there is a ball at the end, smooth out the ball then bend the end
with the ball into a hook so it will hook into the oval loop. Now
comes the hard part shaping the ring, I like to hammer mine a bit
flat and the hammering stretches the wire a bit longer as you shape
it around something like an old piece of 6 inch PVC pipe one foot
long, that is filled with a sack of concrete total cost about 6.00.
Or you can buy a Neck shaped mandrel about 125.00, you will want to
anneal the wire again after you stretch it by hammering. Hammering
the metal work hardens it and makes it tougher to bend, use a
polished steel faced hammer to stretch the wire, then file, sand and
buff out the hammer marks. Now start bending the wire around the pipe
or mandrel and striking it with deliberate blows with either a Dead
blow hammer (my favorite) or a lead filled Rawhide mallet. Do this
till you are satisfied with it’s shape and more importantly the
tension, this will help it stay closed, As far as the sheet goes 24
Ga. A good choice, for the bezel use the 28 ga it’s easier to work
with and holds the stone better, Small stones 3x5 up to 10x8 3/32nd
from there up to 25x30 1/8th a lot depends on the depth of the stone
and whether it’s cab or facet, Until you get your chops down I would
only use hard solder on my fine silver bezels, Don’t use fine sheet
use plain old sterling sheet and at first try easy solder 65% or
medium 70% Good luck on you new endeavor, If I can help you off line
This might be a silly question but I am still trying to understand the process: Soldering jump rings together...
Not a silly question, no. You have the principle down, each ring
has to be soldered, either one by one or sequentially. Deciding
which process depends on a number of things, including your torch.
If the rings have a high aspect ratio (inner diameter divided by
wire diameter) you can put it all together and solder the rings
afterward, as long as your torch makes a small enough flame to allow
you to direct it precisely. If the AR is small, and the work is
really tight, you’ll have to solder each ring as you add it. The
smaller your torch flame is, the more control you’ll have over it.
If you’re planning to use one of those propane torches from the
hardware store, good luck… I started out with a Bunsen burner and
a blowpipe, which I’d go back to in a shot if the only alternative
were one of those clumsy things.
There are methods of protecting stones next to soldering operations.
The one I know is to immerse the stone in water with the joint above
the surface. Works better with gold than with silver, because the
latter is such a great conductor that it is extremely difficult to
get the metal hot enough next to the heat-absorbing water.
I’m pretty familiar with soldering jump rings, lately, because I’m
putting together a gold chain in a Full Persian 6 in 1 pattern, using
18K wire drawn down to 0.015" and coiled into rings with an inner
diameter of 0.095". I’m not all that good at it, so at the moment
I’m generating about half an inch of chain per hour. I can stand to
work on it for an hour or so every day or so…
Sometimes soldering jump rings depends on the chain or other item
Let’s assume you’re making a sterling silver chain with no stones or
other items in it. Here’s one way to solder the rings.
Close 1/2 the rings flush & tight.
Place the closed rings on a soldering surface (A magnesia fire
brick works well. These are the soft ones, that pins can be pushed
into. Sometimes called ‘silversmiths firebricks’.)
When placing the closed rings on the firebrick, start in the upper
left hand corner & lay each link next to the previous one, but not
touching. Lay them so the joint is at 12 o’clock. When 1 row has
been laid on the brick, start the next row about 1" below the 1st
row. Continue adding rings until the firebrick is covered or 1/2 the
rings have been placed.
- Next apply solder to the joints. For chain making paste solder is
the most convenient. It’s usually sold in syringes. The correct
amount of solder can be squeezed from the syringe in the place that
it’s needed. Paste solder stays where it’s put. No flux is need with
paste solder as it’s already mixed in the paste.
Apply a ball of solder about the diameter of the wire, or smaller,
to the inside of the ring so it contacts both sides of the joint
between about 11:58 & 12:02. Apply solder to each ring in turn until
each has had solder applied to it.
Paste solder comes in several melting ranges called, low or easy,
medium & high. I’d suggest using either high or medium.
- Turn the brick around so the joints are all at 6:00 o’clock. For
soldering rings to be used in chain, a butane fueled torch works
well. These torches are about 6 inches high & 1 1/2 inches in
diameter. The hold a 1 1/2- 2 hour supply of fuel in their handles &
have a push button igniter built in. The flame size is adjustable.
When they need to be refilled, they’re refilled from an aresol type
fuel canister available at jeweler’s supplys, WalMarts & smoke shops
(probably other places as well). Other torches such as the Smith
Little torch (oxy/acet) & the Prestolite (air/acet) are also
Light the torch, adjust the flame & begin soldering. Start in the
upper right hand corner. Apply the flame to the outside of the ring
near the joint, so that each side of the joint comes up to soldering
temp at the same time. When you see the solder flow & come through
the joint, move the flame to the next ring in the row. Continue
until all the rings on the firebrick have been soldered.
Gather the soldered rings on a copper or sterling wire. When all
of the solder rings have been gathered on the wire, twist the ends
together & place them in the pickle pot until they’re clean.
Remove the rings from the pickle & neutralize them in a solution
of baking soda & water. Dry & remove from the wire.
There are several ways to assemble the chain. The unsoldered rings
can be soldered as they are installed in the chain or after the
chain is completely assembled. The way selected can depend on the
style of chain, size of the rings & your soldering ability. Select a
way that you feel comfortable with. For the example, we’ll solder
them as they’re installed.
Place 2 solder rings on an unsoldered ring. Closed the unsoldered
ring flush & tight.
Place the 3 rings on the firebrick so the joint of the unsoldered
ring has maximum exposure & the 2 soldered rings are behind the
unsoldered link & as far from joint as possible.
Apply a small ball of solder to the inside of the unsoldered link
so it contacts both sides of the joint. Light the torch & apply the
flame to the outside of the ring so that both sides of the joint
come up to soldering temp at the same time. When you see the solder
flow, remove the flame. Direct the flame so that as little as
possible strikes the 2 previously soldered links. Depending on the
method of chain assembly selected, the group of 3 links may have to
be cooled in a water bath or left to air cool on the firebrick.
Depending on personal preference, the remaining links can be
assembled into groups of 3 as above. When all the links have been
assembled into groups of 3, the groups are then connected with an
unsoldered link. The soldered link is then soldered in the same
If desired, a previously soldered link can be connected to the 1st
group of 3 links using an unsoldered link. After closing this link
flush & tight, the assembly is laid on the firebrick so the joint
has maximum exposure, solder is applied & the joint heated until the
solder flows. The assembly is then cooled & the next 2 links are
added in the same manner. The entire chain is then pickled after the
soldering is completed.
If a chain is to contain beads or other stones that will be in the
vicinity of the soldering, either a stone able to stand the heat of
soldering must be selected or a method to prevent the heat from
reaching the stone used.
Some methods of preventing heat from acting on a stone are to
submerse the stone in water while soldering or wrapping the stone in
paper soaked in water (toilet paper works well). The other option is
to use laser or arc welder to weld the joint.
Liz, I have on the basics of soldering jump rings on my
web site. I invite you to visit and hopefully this will be a great
way to get you started. Of course, each application may take some
different track, but at least you will have the basics conquered.
Unique Solutions, Inc. Paste and Powder Solder for Jewelers