How to Solder Jewelry

There are innumerable types of jewelry you can make without ever needing to learn soldering, which is why so few jewelry designers know how to solder. If you’re a jewelry maker who’s looking to add some advanced skills to your repertoire, soldering is a great place to start. Be sure that you always take the appropriate safety precautions. Not all soldering irons and stations can reach high enough temperatures for soldering jewelry, which is why many jewelry makers solder with torches instead.

Start by cleaning and arranging your workspace. Find a clear and open area in the center of your workspace and place a ceramic tile or soldering board there — you don’t want anything nearby to catch fire. If you’re new to soldering you may want to avoid working on wooden tables altogether. Ensure that your workspace is well ventilated. Also be sure to wear safety gear: goggles are very important and you may also want to wear a mask for full facial protection.

Use a toothpick or something similar to scrape a small amount of soldering paste from the paste container and carefully daub it on the joint of the two pieces of metal you’ll be soldering together, and then place the metal pieces on your soldering board or tile.

Use your soldering iron or torch to slowly and evenly heat the metal. If the joint you’re soldering is large, you can move your torch up and down so that the metal and solder will heat and melt evenly. You don’t want to directly heat the solder with your torch; rather, you’ll heat the metal pieces so that the solder paste will melt and flow without direct heat. It’s important to be clean and neat when soldering: if you haphazardly daub solder on your piece you’ll end up with unsightly globs of metal.

Allow the metal (i.e. your piece of jewelry) to cool so that the solder can harden. Then use pliers to pick it up the piece from your tile or board and place it somewhere safe to cool completely. Afterward you can start soldering another piece of jewelry.

George

George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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