Soldering is a very common technique in jewellery making. It is used to attach two pieces together. Learning to solder silver jewellery may seem intimidating at first, because there is the danger of ruining a piece of jewellery by soldering with the wrong technique. Luckily, if the two pieces don't connect, you can always try soldering again. Additionally, if you use too much solder, you can always sand it down.
Gather materials. Pay close attention to the kind of silver solder you decide to purchase. It comes in three types--hard, medium and easy. Easy, melts at the lowest temperature, while hard melts at the highest temperature. The kind of silver solder that you use will depend on the torch types. A small torch will take a long time to melt hard silver. A large torch on the other hand would quickly melt hard silver.
Prepare your materials and work space. Clear your work space of anything flammable. You will need a ceramic tile on which to work on. Remember to cut the solder into tiny pieces. If you use too much, you'll have to sand it down to clean it up. Mix water with the flux so that it is a watery paste and dab flux on the pieces ready to be joined. Use your tweezers to pick up the solder chip and place against the pieces that you applied flux to. Set your torch to "high."
Start to solder. Begin heating the metal from a distance so that the heat doesn't cause the flux to bubble. When the flux is dry, it will have a "crusty" appearance. After turning crusty, it will then become clear and start to melt. This is how you know that the temperature of the silver is almost high enough to melt the silver. Evenly heat both pieces using a circular motion. When the flux turns clear, you can bring the flame closer to the metal. The solder should start to flow, joining the metal it is touching. If your pieces have come apart, use the tweezers to push them back together, while the solder is melted.
Clean the jewellery. When you are done, take the jewellery, using either copper tweezers or wooden tongs, and drop in the pickle to dissolve any remaining flux. When the jewellery looks silver, remove it from the pickle and rinse clean. Check your work. If the solder seams are big, use some sandpaper to smooth is down.
Things you need
- Silver jewellery pieces
- Butane torch
- Borax flux
- Silver solder
- Wire cutters
- Pickle (weak acid solution)
- Plastic container for pickle
- Wooden of copper tongs for pickle