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.