Are you interested in starting a business or a new hobby in soldering jewelry? If so, this post will teach you all you need to know about jewelry soldering tools.
Everything about jewelry soldering tools
Put safety first with this checklist for materials and setup:
- Fireproof surface to protect your work area, such as a ceramic tile or metal shell
- Fire extinguisher
- Safety glasses
- Well-ventilated room
- Clothing made of natural fibers, like a cotton apron
- Long hair? Tie it back
What you need to get started soldering jewelry:
- Kiln brick, charcoal block or a ceramic honeycomb block
- Microflame butane torch
- Cooling cup with tweezers
- Soldering pick
- Silver solder paste
- Penny Brite, pickling components
Safety glasses and clothing
Safety glasses are very important when soldering. Protect yourself with safety glasses so you don’t damage your eyes from the heat or sparks. A denim or canvas apron over your clothing is also a good idea in case you drop a piece of hot metal. Avoid loose, bulky clothing when you are learning soldering.
A kiln brick is lightweight, soft insulating bricks are great for torchwork such as firing PMC or Ffusing fine silver wire. Soft brick can easily be cut without special saws or tools.
Natural charcoal blocks offer a greater reduction atmosphere with a much longer life than soft charcoal blocks. Made with specially compressed charcoal, this block offers a super-hard, durable surface that reflects heat back to the workpiece to make soldering and melting quicker and cleaner.
Ceramic honeycomb block
Use this good-quality, high-fused ceramic honeycomb block for larger soldering jobs. The small holes throughout this lightweight block helps quickly dissipate heat from the workpiece. Acid-resistant; withstands temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Microflame butane torch
A microflame butane torch is lightweight and easy to handle, the Proxxon torch is ideal for heating, hard soldering and more. If you are a beginner or will only work with small objects, this is a great starter torch.
You need a cooling cup with tweezers, you can use anything from a mason jar to a regular coffee cup for this. Once the solder flows and you turn off your torch, you want to cool the piece so that it is safe to touch.
You will need a soldering pick to move your soldered jewelry pieces while they are hot.
Silver solder paste and flux
Silver solder paste is the material that will bind the two pieces or ends together. It comes in a few different forms and flow temperatures. I recommend that beginners use soft solder paste. Flux prepares the metal surface to receive the fluid solder. When applying flux, make sure it is in contact with the solder at all times and that it touches both metal parts being joined. Some self-pickling fluxes also help dissolve oxides. Keeping the joint oxide-free is important for creating the ideal soldering surface.
When you apply flame to most metals, it turns black with fire scale. It does not wipe off with a polish cloth but can be removed fairly easily with the right tools. Penny Brite is a great "green" way to clean your precious metals. It contains only food-grade citric acid in a phosphate-free soap, so you can use and rinse it down the sink without worrying about the environmental effects.
You can also use pickling components to clean your soldered pieces. Dissolved in warm water, it is used to remove firescale from your silver after you have soldered it. I use a small crock pot with a little bit of tap water combined with a scoop of pickle liquor. This will warm up in five minutes and be ready to go. You can keep your pickle solution for weeks or longer before you need to swap it out for efficacy. If you use the pickling method, make sure not to put your tweezers in the solution! Steel will ruin it. Get in the habit of using copper tongs whenever you touch the solution.