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How To Start Silver Soldering

Updated: Mar 2




Soldering is a common technique used in jewellery making to join metal components together. It involves using a metal alloy, known as solder, to create a permanent bond between two or more pieces of metal. Solder is available in sterling silver, all colours and carats of gold, brass, bronze and copper. They are all used in similar ways. Silver solder is most commonly used in our workshops but how to you buy, prepare and use it at home.


Silver solder is an alloy of silver, copper and zinc and is available in five different melting temperatures.


  • Extra Easy: 679 - 709

  • Easy: 705 - 723

  • Medium: 720 - 765

  • Hard: 745 - 778

  • Enamelling: 730 - 800

The different temperatures allow you to make multiple solder joins on the same piece whilst reducing the risk of melting the previous joins. Start with a higher temperature solder for the first join and get progressively lower each time. In our workshop we use easy, medium and hard solder.


Solder is available as strip, wire, small sheets and wire. For silver soldering strip solder is most common and most versatile.


Strip solder is sold is 60cm lengths and the strips are different widths depending on the type of solder. Hard solder is the widest, medium solder is the thinnest and easy solder in between.




Solder is usually cut into little chips called pallions, small squares a millimetre or two across which can be placed where needed.


You can use solder cutting pliers to cut the solder pallions but our preferred method is as follows.


THIN THE STRIP

First we thin out our solder by passing it through a rolling mill. It should be thin and flexible so it can easily be cut with shears. If you don't have a rolling mill you can bring your solder into class and roll it through the mill or you can use a big hammer to flatten the end of the solder strip before you cut it up.





In our onsite tool shop we sell easy, medium and hard solder in 5cm strips. We also pre-roll and thin the solder so it's ready for you to use.


COLOUR CODE

Next we colour the solder to make sure once it is cut up we know what type it is. We us a a sharpie and colour hard solder red, medium solder blue or black and easy solder stays silver.





CUT INTO PALLIONS

Use a pair of sharp jewellers snips - it's a good idea to have a separate pair you use just for cutting solder so they stay nice and sharp.


Cut into the end of the solder strip to make a little fringe and then cut across the strip to cut off the little pieces. Place the end of your finger over the end of the strip so the little pieces don't fly away. But be very careful not to cut your finger.





Keep the cut pieces in a little lidded container so they don't spill and you can get them when you need them.



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