Soldering is one of the most difficult techniques to master reliably. Yes, every once in a while, I too have a solder failure. And it is usually when I am rushing and taking a few shortcuts. And yes, after it fails, it is going to take me longer than if I had been thorough at the start.

So what is that process again? Oh yeah…

Textured silver garnet pendant Dona Miller Artisan Jewelry

1. Create pieces to be joined. Make sure there is a tight fit with no gaps. Solder will not fill a gap.

2. Clean the metal so that water sheets off of it. The flux will not stick to dirty metal.

3. Flux the pieces to be joined to prevent fire scale and allow the solder to flow.

4. Heat the pieces to remove water from flux and check for good flux coverage.

5. Add the solder to the join.

6. Heat the whole piece to soldering temperature and then at the last  moment focus on the seam. Remember, solder follows heat.

7. After the glow is gone from the metal, quench in water or let set to cool.

8. Put in pickle using copper tongs to clean the flux and oxides.

9. Rinse and dry piece.

Yep, that about covers it. If your solder join is failing, receck numbers 1, 2, 3 and 6 again.

When solder fails to flow it is generally because the join is not flush, the metal isn’t clean enough, the flux is missing or there isn’t enough heat.

The butane torches are great for doing small work. But they don’t have enough power to heat much metal mass. Remember, ideally, we want to get our metal up to temperature quickly and be done.

Happy Soldering…