Basic Jewelry Soldering
Very Important! Please read!
- The soldering iron that was used for this technique is the SO244 (Portable soldering iron). Please make sure to read the instructions included for important battery charging instructions before use. This iron becomes HOT (max. heat of 700 degrees) so be absolutely careful not to touch either the iron tips or soldered metal for a long time after using!!! Also, be sure to return the iron to its cradle after every use.
- Both the solder and flux used for this technique are SO242 (Solder-Stay Brite with Flux). Flux is an acid so it is EXTREMELY important to make sure that you avoid contact with skin, eyes or mucous membranes. It will also stain clothes so make sure you have "work" clothes on just in case.
- When the flux is being heated by the soldering iron, it puts off very nasty (and toxic) fumes. Make sure all soldering is done in a well ventilated place. Take breaks often, work patiently, and always have your safety in mind while practicing this technique.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after your finished, and don't eat or drink anything while soldering.
To Begin Soldering.
Using the Third Hand (SO163) hold the two ends of the wire that will be soldered. Position them over the soldering board (SO405) so that the ends are as close as possible to one another.
Take the flux and put the smallest amount possible on each of the wire ends (one tiny drop). Too much flux will spatter when heated and isn't necessary. A flux brush was suggested in the materials list because you can further control just how much flux will go onto a joint by dabbing the flux on with the tip of the brush. (you can also cut the brush's' bristles at an angle so that you have an even sharper point!)
** The point of flux is to clean the metal where it will be joined and create a vacuum to pull the solder around the joint. This will allow the solder a better hold when it flows. You will be able to tell if you have a good solder point if the solder covers the entire solder joint and after cooled, neither piece of metal moves.
Place the very tip of the solder onto the fluxed joint. Let the soldering iron heat up (this will take a while...thank goodness for that Third Hand!). Place the very tip of the soldering iron onto the solder that is placed on the fluxed joint. The flux will burn off, pulling the solder into the joint. Be quick, if the iron is the proper temperature, this will only take a second. If any spattering should occur when the flux is burning off, reduce the amount of flux used on the next joint soldered.
Remove the iron and place it back into its cradle at this point.
I leave my soldering alone for at least 3-5 mins. just to make SURE that the metal is cool enough to handle. Keep this in mind, metal is a great conductor of heat, so not only will the area you are soldering become hot (VERY hot) but the surrounding metal will too. Always try to use a Third Hand (also metal..be careful) when you are soldering and you'll save you own fingers in the process.
Portable Soldering Iron SO244
Solder-Stay Brite with Flux SO242
Honeycomb Soldering Board SO405
Third Hand Double with Magnifier SO163
Wire (Nickel, Brass or Copper only, this won't work for Gold or Silver Wire because a butane torch would be required to reach the soldering temperature.) Wire & Chain
Flux Brush JR1011