Soldering 101 (And How It Can Be Annoying)


The Home Depot

Today I’m here to teach you about something that we in Jewelry call “soldering”, which uses metal to essentially glue pieces together.

Stina Czeisel, Contributor

Today I’m here to teach you about something that we in Jewelry call “soldering”, which uses metal to essentially glue pieces together (In case you didn’t know, the word “solder” is pronounced “sod-der”).

To solder, you position your piece on the brick, place tiny pieces of metal called solder on the piece where you want it to join, and squirt it with a substance called flux. If I remember correctly, flux was described to me as being like “liquid glass”. After you put the flux and solder on, you make sure that your hair is tied back (if you have long hair) and call out, “Torch!” That lets the teacher know that someone is using the torch.

Then, you light your torch with the striker and move it around the area where you put the solder. You never want to move it over the solder right away, because the pieces of solder might blow off the piece. Instead you move it around the area to dry the flux. That essentially glues the solder to the piece. 

After the flux has glued the solder in place, you can move the torch over the solder and melt it. When the solder has completely melted, you turn the torch off, and voila! Your piece is joined together. Your piece is still hot though, so you use tweezers or a device called a third hand to drop the piece in the container of water. As soon as the piece hits the water, it’s cool.

You flip over the brick because it’s still hot from the heat of the torch, and we don’t want anyone (yourself included) burning themselves on the hot brick while they’re trying to position their piece. You take your piece out of the water and investigate to see if the soldering worked. Usually the first time doesn’t do it, so you do it two or three (or five) more times until it works.

Now, I know the title promised you some annoyances, so let’s get to that now. After today’s class, I won’t be forgetting this anytime soon because it was so annoying.

I spent the entire class soldering the ring I was working on. I had to solder six times, but I was doing two different areas, so that was pretty normal. The soldering itself was also pretty normal, but what was extremely annoying was that the solder wouldn’t stay! I placed a piece and it fell off. I got it to stay and it fell off when I placed the next piece. It fell in a spot where I had to move the entire ring to get it. I finally got all that done and the flux knocked it off! It was exasperating.

So when you’re soldering your pieces, remember all you have learned here, because you’ll most likely experience the same annoyances that I have. Good luck!