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  1. #1

    Default New to Jewelry Soldering

    Alright so I've decided to get into more metalwork with my pearl designs...more specifically (to start off with), threading a thin chain through pearls. Obviously this will mean that at some point, I'll need to add a rings and clasps to either end of the chain...and i decided this was a good time to learn how to solder.

    I've done soldering in the past...but as a tech geek, I was working on electronics, not jewelry. Anyways I figure the two applications are not that far apart, so I decided to buy a jewelry soldering kit. The items I am not sure about (within the kit) are...
    - Methanol
    - Borax
    - "Sparex" No 2 (granular dry acid compound)
    - "Batterns" self-pickling flux

    From what I've seen on YouTube, as I understand it, the Borax can be mixed with water to be used a flux for silver soldering...the "Batterns" self-pickling flux can be used as flux on both silver and gold...and the "Sparex" No 2 gets mixed with water to remove any scaling that may have occurred on the soldered joints.

    Assuming all of this is correct (and if not then PLEASE feel free to correct), I still have no idea what the methanol is for...

  2. #2
    Natural Pearl Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Lagoon Island Pearls's Avatar
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    Methanol cleans the area after it's soldered.
    Dave
    http://www.lagoonislandpearls.ca/

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lagoon Island Pearls View Post
    Methanol cleans the area after it's soldered.
    After soldering, but before going into the Sparex solution?

  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Lagoon Island Pearls's Avatar
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    No, afterwards. It removes all traces of everything else. Residue from solder, flux, acid, etc. need to be cleaned up for safe handling as well as not to stain other parts (especially pearls).
    Dave
    http://www.lagoonislandpearls.ca/

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lagoon Island Pearls View Post
    No, afterwards. It removes all traces of everything else. Residue from solder, flux, acid, etc. need to be cleaned up for safe handling as well as not to stain other parts (especially pearls).
    Okay thanks - quite awesome. At least I now know what to do after I've soldered...how well I do remains to be seen - LOL

    Oh and if anyone is interested in getting a jewelry soldering kit, I bought my kit from Lacy Tools (lacytools.ca) for $200 CDN, and it included the following;

    - Blazer (Piezo Electronic Torch)
    - 145g can of butane
    - 8oz container of Batterns self-pickling flux
    - 425g container of Borax
    - 500ml container of Methanol
    - 350g container of Sparex No 2
    - Third-Hand tweezers
    - Braze aid soldering board
    - Round File
    - Large tweezers
    - Fine tweezers
    - Needle Tipped Flux applicator bottle
    - Charcoal Block
    - Glass Pickling Pot
    Last edited by morphius; 04-04-2012 at 01:52 AM.

  6. #6
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Let us know how it all works out. It's exciting

  7. #7
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Hi
    I would go for a proprietory flux...in the UK I've used Alflux for many years. It works well for gold and silver. I use a proprietory pickle too.
    If where you buy your solder (hard, medium and easy) doesn;t supply it there will be supply firms in Canada
    You'll also need some source of flame - gas canister with the right sort of jet nozzle..and something to put the items on so you don't set fire to the house
    Electronic soldering is very different to silver and goldsmithing. You aren't using a soldering iron for a start.
    Is it time I made a simple soldering vid to go with the others?

  8. #8
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Yes, Wendy,
    By all means make the video!
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  9. #9
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Yes, yes, yes Wendy! Morphius has piqued our curiosity.

  10. #10
    Ready For Grafting
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    Soldering isn't difficult with practice. But Wendy is right, you will need a proper flame. I use a swiss torch with a combination of either natural gas or propane and oxygen. There are other torches that dont require the oxygen like the little whale torch.

    Prep your metal well. Make sure both surfaces are clean and touching. Apply the battern flux and heat up the piece, apply a small piece of solder or multiple small pieces if its a longer connection. Then gently heat up the piece until the solder runs. The solder will always run to the warmer part so do your best to heat up the piece evenly. If its silver you will need to heat up the whole piece because of the way silver conducts heat. Place the soldered item into the pickle.

    If you get the dry borax, I find its best to dissolve it in an alcohol, like denatured alcohol.
    Last edited by DerekJ; 04-05-2012 at 04:33 AM.

  11. #11

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    The torch that was included in the kit is a "Blazer Piezo Electronic Torch", and is fueled with Butane gas. It seems quite convenient in size and easy to use. It has a starter button, gas control valve and air mixture valve, which with a very slight adjustment, allows you to easily get a nice sharp and tight flame. This torch apparently produces a maximum temperature of 1300C/2500F. So far, it all seems fairly simple...but i agree too, it'd be invaluable for newbies to have another of Wendy's great videos.

  12. #12
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    <blush>
    Okay, soon as I can get it organised.
    What do you want...preparation for a simple joint
    soldering,
    anything else? Sawing?
    This will be how I was taught by a retired Hatton Garden gold and silversmith

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    <blush>
    Okay, soon as I can get it organised.
    What do you want...preparation for a simple joint
    soldering,
    anything else? Sawing?
    This will be how I was taught by a retired Hatton Garden gold and silversmith
    Personally, I'd like to see soldering a clasp (or closed jump ring) to an unfinished chain with links too small to fit the ring through...so a chain-to-ring solder...as that would be most applicable to my initial attempts

    But anything would be absolutely appreciated.

  14. #14
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    That is a really delicate operation for a first attempt...very easy to end up with a couple of blobs of metal due to overheating

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    That is a really delicate operation for a first attempt...very easy to end up with a couple of blobs of metal due to overheating
    Ya i figured as much too - though I've rarely been the one to start with the easy projects first. Like re-drilling a pearl hole larger in a Tahitian...or drilling into an Akoya. Doesn't always work out the first time, but I do get lucky too

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