Soldering 101

Soldering 101

Soldering is the most common technique for joining two or more metals together.  In the soldering process, two elements are used: heat and solder. A solder is a metal alloy that has a lower melting point than the metals do that are to be joined together.  When the heat from a soldering torch comes into contact with the solder and metals, the solder will melt before the metals do, causing the melted solder to flow and connect the separate pieces together.

Solders are categorized into hard, medium, and easy (soft).  The categories indicate their melting points.  For example, soft solders have lower melting points than medium and hard solders.  It is the hard solders that are typically used in jewelry making or for precious metals.  If a piece needs to be soldered more than once, start with a hard solder, and then move to a medium (or a medium and move to a soft).  This way the first solder will not remelt.

Recommended Materials
Flux brush
Soldering Block
Safety glasses/eye protection

Steps in Soldering

1.    Fitting
2.    Cleaning
3.    Fluxing
4.    Solder Placement
5.    Heating

Note:   It is important to take safety precautions when soldering.  Wear protective clothing, eye protection, make sure the area is well ventilated, and don’t touch the tip or element of a soldering iron.  The three major hazards of soldering are heat, fumes, and the lead content of the solder.  When possible, substitute lead free solder for leaded solder.

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