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Uneven solder


#1

On one jewelry-making website, the teacher proudly displays his
jumpring–except it doesn’t look like a jumpring anymore, being
lopsided from all the solder that he used! It’s nice and smooth, but
he’ll have to grind away the excess so it won’t look blobby.

I’ve taken the opposite approach and used tiny pieces of solder on
jump rings. Heat and capillary action draw some of the solder
through the join, but the rest stays outside the join and spreads
out. It doesn’t thin out enough to be undetectable, and I don’t know
if it is due to insufficient heat, wrong flux, too much solder, too
little solder, etc.

Should I be using more solder, enough to require the use of a
grinder afterwards?

Janet


#2

Janet, you should use less solder. My students routinely do chain
links and jump rings where you cannot see the solder joint. I expect
them to strive for this. If their joints show, it is more because of
misalignment of the ends at the joint. Again, I teach the solder pic.
I have found that the solder beads should be about 1/2 the diameter
if the wire being soldered for the neatest joint. Hard to do, not
really, just takes practice. I never tell them that it is hard to do,
especially when they manage to do that to 20 gauge wire and you can’t
find the joint. These are beginners too. Use less solder, pay close
attention to the joint fit, watch your heating.

Bill Churlik
@Bill_Churlik
www.earthspeakarts.com


#3

You are doing it right. As long as you have good flow into the
joint you are fine. The teacher on the website was sloppy. :slight_smile:

Leslie Anne Wright Macy


#4

Janet, I’ve been trying the same things you describe with similar
sounding results. I’m starting to get better results but I’m amazed
at how little solder it takes to close up a jumpring. I gave it some
consideration and realized that using fairly fine wire ( mine have
all been 20 ga. round sterling) that is cut as cleanly as possible
and fitted together well doesn’t leave much of a gap to solder.
Therefore only what seems like a ridiculously tiny amount is needed.
I’m trying using a pick now and I’m getting better but it still
seems like too much solder is the norm. I honestly can’t seem to
find any success at all using a grinder to clean things up. Please
keep us posted if you find a better technique because I could really
use some help myself. Keep trying ok?

Mike


#5
    You are doing it right.  As long as you have good flow into
the joint you are fine.  The teacher on the website was sloppy. :) 

Leslie,

I thought so, but it’s strange that he would show it off. This
teacher really pushes the use of solder–hard solder only, and lots
of it–so perhaps he always errs on the generous side.

Janet


#6

Hi Janet,

I’ve solder 1000’s of j rings, but for the most part I’ve used paste
solder on most of them. I only use solder chips if I happen to be
out of paste.

Using paste, it’s easier to control the amount solder used, easier
to position the solder & hard to get so much that it’s noticeable
after being soldered.

Lack of having the entire ring hot enough is may be the cause of
having a noticeable solder bump. The other possibility is not enough
flux. If the ring doesn’t have flux covering the area where the
molten solder should flow, the silver may oxidize when it gets hot &
prevent the solder from flowing. The result is an abrupt demarcation
between the portion of the ring with solder on it & that without
solder.

Dave


#7

Janet,

There is just too much solder being used to join the jump rings
which is why it has lumped up. The smallest amount of solder should
be used to join the rings. No matter what formula you are using,
hard, medium, easy, etc., please use the smallest amount to do the
job.

It is so much easier to solder jump rings with paste solder than
with chips or pallions. The flux is contained in the paste and just
the right amount is already figured for you. Paste also gives you
the ability to apply a very small amount. There is a trick to
soldering rings. As others have pointed out, make sure the place to
be joined is even and lined up. Apply the paste solder to the join
with just barely enough to cover the two ends with the smallest
amount of solder. When you start to apply the heat, start at the end
OPPOSITE the opening. This heat will expand the metal ever so
slightly making the ends to be joined an even tighter fit. Then run
the flame around in a circular motion waiting until the solder flows
and joins both ends. I have a good explanation of soldering jump
rings on my web site of you care to check it out.

Beth Katz
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com


#8

Hi Mike & Janet,

Please keep us posted if you find a better technique because I
could really use some help myself. 

The very best and neatest way to close jump rings is to use no
solder at all! If you can master the technique of fusing them
closed, you’ll have the cleanest possible join. Now, I have to
qualify this by saying that I could never get it right on a reliable
basis myself, but I once watched another jeweler fuse a whole row of
jump rings using a little Blazer torch. Not one ended up in a
puddle. I was very jealous :-). Beth


#9
    When you start to apply the heat, start at the end OPPOSITE the
opening.  This heat will expand the metal ever so slightly making
the ends to be joined an even tighter fit. 

Several Orchidians have recommended this technique, but I
misinterpreted and pointed the flame at the join, on the side
opposite the paillon. You’re saying to point the flame at the middle
of the uncut section, then move towards the join. Clever!

Janet


#10

One of the problems I used to find with commercial jump rings was
that the cut ends had a small ‘lip’ of metal stuck up where the saw
had deformed it. Until I realised this I used to have no end of
trouble getting a good soldered joint as the solder would flow
anywhere but up and over the lip into the joint. Now I always run a
fine file around the jump ring joint before I solder and have no
problems.

Best Wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#11

Hi Ian,

One of the problems I used to find with commercial jump rings was
that the cut ends had a small 'lip' of metal stuck up where the
saw had deformed it. Until I realised this I used to have no end
of trouble getting a good soldered joint as the solder would flow
anywhere but up and over the lip into the joint. Now I always run
a fine file around the jump ring joint before I solder and have no
problems.

If you purchase/use a lot of jump rings at a time here’s another
less time consuming way to get rid of that little burr.

Thread the open jump rings on a piece of wire that’s large enough
not to allow the rings to fall off. When all the rings have been
threaded on the wire, twist the ends together & put them in a
tumbler with steel shot for a while. After tumbling the little burrs
are usually all gone.

Dave


#12
I'm amazed at how little solder it takes to close up a jumpring. I
gave it some consideration and realized that using fairly fine
wire...fitted together well doesn't leave much of a gap to solder. 

That made so much sense, I could visualize the amount of solder
needed–which was much less than I had been using. So, I spent more
time preparing the joint to have a good fit, and used the smallest
amount of wire solder I could snip off.

You were all correct: USE LESS SOLDER! Not only do the joints look
much better, the previously soldered joints don’t stick together
because there is no excess flow. Less is more. Thank you!

Janet