Soldering In A Nutshell

The Basics – A List

Below is my list of Basics for soldering.  There are different types, methods and tools.  I’m only listing what I use/like/think works.  If you disagree, that’s fine with me!  Everyone has their favorites – if it works for you it’s right – for you!  There are other suppliers, than the ones I’ve linked to.  I posted links to companies I’ve worked with before.

Please see my page: Soldering for more detailed information, links to my videos and all related web pages.  Thanks for stopping by!

  1.  3 basic torch types:

    1. Propane/Oxygen
    2. Acetylene/Air
    3. Butane/Air
  2. 4 basic soldering surfaces:

    1. Solderite Pad.  *See Image 5 below.
      1. Soft
      2. Hard
    2. Honeycomb ceramic soldering block*See Image 4 below.
    3. Charcoal
      1. Hard – Long lasting, general soldering
      2. Soft – Good for drilling into, using pins, etc.  Needs binding wire around outside edge. * Image 1, at the end of this page.
      3. Round – Hard block, large.  I like it because the circular shape allows for more soldering area.  *Image 2 below.
    4. Magnesia Block – Great for pushing things into.  Otherwise, not long lasting and VERY messy – lots of powder but, it has its place.  *Image 3 below.
  3. 3 basic methods for raising metal for soldering:

    1. Tripod with thin screen. *Image 6 below.
    2. Enameling trivets.  *Image 7 below.
    3. Kiln posts.  *Image 8 below.
  4. 2 basic types of flux:

    1. Liquid
    2. Paste
  5. 4 basic brands of anti-firescale/stain:

    1. Prip’s Flux – See my recipe on this site.
    2. Cupronil
    3. Firescoff Ceramic Flux – My favorite but expensive!
    4. Stop-Ox
  6. 2 basic types of solder:

    1. Sheet
      1. Mark with color or stamp what type of solder it is.  Easy to get confused as to type, if not marked in some manner.
    2. Wire
      1. Same as for sheet – bend the ends or color to differentiate – some use nail polish.  See my page on solder for bends.
  7. 5 basic types of solder:

    1. IT (aka: Eutectic). IT is used, generally for pieces that will be enameled (so that the solder seams don’t fall apart from the high heat of the kiln.) Almost all silver. Hottest temp needed to flow.
    2. Hard – Use for your first solder joins.  Use most of the time.
    3. Medium – Also a good solder to use most of the time.
    4. Easy – Good for settings, last minute, small add-ons.
    5. Extra-Easy.   Extra-Easy is not recommended because it is very yellow and doesn’t contain much silver so, it’s weak.  Contains a lot of zinc, proportionally. Use for repairs. Easiest to flow.
  8. 2 basic types of pickle:

    1. Sodium Bisulfate
    2. Citric Acid
  9. 1 pickle neutralizer:

    1. Baking soda.
  10. 3 basic types of strikers:

    1. Electronic
    2. Torch Striker – Flints for striker.
    3. Alcohol lamp or candle helps in lighting the Smith Little Torch. After lighting remove from soldering area or put out.
  11. 3 basic products to block solder flow on metal:

    1. White Out
    2. Yellow Ochre
    3. Red Rouge Powder
  12. 3 basic methods for cleaning metal:

    1. Torch and pickle.
    2. Sanding.
    3. Scrubbing with a paste made from Bon Ami powder.
  13. 3 best fusing metals:

    1. Fine silver.
    2. Argentium silver.
    3. 18k and 24k gold.
  14. 4 basic soldering hand tools:

    (*See Image 9 below)

    1. Cross-lock tweezers – having a fiber-grip will protect your fingers from burns!
    2. Regular tweezers. Link to all 4 types.
    3. Solder pick.
    4. Copper Tongs for pickle.
  15. 1 basic pickle pot:

    1. A used, jewelry dedicated crockpot.
  16. 3 ovenproof glass bowls:

    1. quenching
    2. neutralizing
    3. rinsing – if there’s no sink hady.
  17. 1 fireproof soldering surface:

    1. Durock
    2. Firebrick
    3. Steel
  18. 1 ventilation system:

    1. An in-line system like mine. See my video: Youtube – DIY Fume Extractor for the Small Jewelry Studio or Shop.  Also, my webpages: Ventilation and Safety in the Jewelry Studio.
    2. Benchtop Fume Extractor. 
    3. Hakko Fume Extraction System
    4. Fan pulling air out and not past your face.
    5. Two open windows, across from each other.
    6. Open garage door.
    7. Hood – placed back from your face and over your soldering area.
    8. Bottom fume vent – sucks fumes down and away from your face.
    9. Anything!!!!
  19. 1 fire extinguisher!

Images

  1.   Soft charcoal block with binding wire.
  2.   Round charcoal block.
  3.   Magnesia block.
  4.   Honeycomb ceramic block.
  5.   Solderite Pad with grid for aligning parts while soldering.
  6.   Tripod with thin screen for soldering from beneath.
  7.   Enameling trivet for soldering from beneath.
  8.   Kiln posts for soldering from beneath.
  9.   Soldering hand tool.  From top: copper tongs, bent cross-lock, straight cross-lock, tweezers, bent tweezers.  Note the fiber-grip on both cross-locks.