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Soldering tips please!

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  • Soldering tips please!

    I'm soldering silver cufflink backs onto silver flat fronts and have been using a soldering iron which I'm finding quite difficult to be honest. Are soldering torches easier to use and does anyone have any recommendations?

    Tiny Tots Silver Prints

    Silver Fingerprint Jewellery

  • #2
    What exactly are you finding difficult?
    Do you have solder on both pieces?
    Have you got pliers to hold things with?
    Id say a torch (I assume you mean a flame)would be more difficult.

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    • #3
      If you are soldering with silver solder there is no way a soldering iron is going to be hot enough to melt it.
      If you are soldering with low melting point non-silver solder then it is unlikely that a soldering iron is going to be able to get the amount of area that you need soldering hot enough all at the same time in order to achieve a good join.
      So in conclusion you are fighting a losing battle in my opinion.

      To use a soldering torch, all you need is a cheap plumbers torch from B&Q or somewhere. They can be tricky to get used to, but once you have practised they are alot easier than struggling with a soldering iron!

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      • #4
        If you're soldering sterling or fine silver, then you need a torch - it's actually brazing rather than soldering, and needs a flame (unless you have access to a laser or microweld system).

        If they're base metal, then you can use an iron and low-temperature solder, but the results won't be pretty.


        • #5
          Get a torch. Not a plumber's one but one of those dinky mini ones. They are a dream.
          Word of warning - the one I bought from a jewellery tool supplier's was heaps more lovely to use than the one I picked up from B&Q. (But they both work well.) You fill them with lighter fuel.


          • #6
            Thank you! I'm soldering fine silver to sterling silver. I had bought sterling silver solder but as someone mentioned it's not melting at all. When I use an alloy, it's a nightmare trying to get it all melted at the same time and I'm finding I'm having to try over and over again by which time the back of the piece starts to look awful.

            I'll get myself a small torch then. Do they come with instructions or does anyone know of some good instructions / videos on the internet?

            Many thanks!
            Tiny Tots Silver Prints

            Silver Fingerprint Jewellery



            • #7
              My lovely one was push a button and it went click and the flame was on. Turn a knob to make it long or short (just right has a look which we can describe later). Click the button to stop. To fill it with gas you bought a can of lighter fuel from the corner shop, pushed the pointy nozzle into the hole at the base of the torch....and that's it.
              The B&Q one is a smidgen more clunky to hold. It has a safety feature turny clicky thing which annoys me and slows me down and I have to use one of the alternative nozzles on the fluid can and I can never remember which one it is so I end up doubly annoyed. They are both forgetable makes. It'll be more what can you get your hands on than chasing after a specific torch.


              • #8
                For that size of work, I use a cooks torch from a local harware shop. It uses lighter gas and is adjustable for air and flame size. Solder paste is quite handy for small work, Kernowcraft sell small syringes of easy solder for a reasonable price and it contains flux, so you just need to put a bit on, support the joint and heat it until you see the solder turn shiny and run a bit. Pick it the piece up and drop it into water to quench and then pickle in whatever you have to hand, acid, safety pickle or even vinegar with salt dissolved in it.

                If you are soldering cufflink findings, it's not recommended to solder with the spring fitted. The heating will anneal the spring.

                There are quite a lot of videos on Youtube and Ganoksin. Start by trying to solder crap bits until you can heat the work just enough to melt the solder and not the parts.