Silver Soldering: You have to try this stuff!

If you’ve spent any time trying to solder complex settings together, you know the struggle to avoid a meltdown is real.  Thankfully there is something out there to help, aside from a laser welder of course.

Soldering whether we love it or hate it, is a necessary skill for making jewellery.  But it doesn’t need to be complicated – if you need little extra help on that front though, check out our 13 Top Tips for Successful Soldering blog post. 

Soldering clay to the rescue

If you haven’t tried this yet, seriously – you have to!  As you can see, it makes soldering multiple settings a dream!  But there are a few things you should know before you get started.  So, here goes:

Make sure your metal is clean - it's the number one rule for soldering jewellery!

As always when soldering, solder doesn’t flow well on dirty metal.  Make sure your metal is clean, free from grease and tarnish.

Don't get soldering clay in the solder join

Remember solder doesn’t flow on a dirty surface right!?  Soldering clay is pretty dirty and if you get it in your solder joins, even just a small amount, it will make soldering very difficult.  Work mindfully here, and make sure you don’t touch the areas to be soldered after handling the soldering clay.

I set my clay up first, wash my hands, and then place the components carefully in the clay for soldering.

Take the time to make sure your alignment is perfect

Look at things from all angles and make sure you’re happy before soldering.  This can be quite difficult as the clay will be covering parts up, so take extra time here if you don’t want to be taking things apart later.

Use spray flux where possible

Flux spray is ideal here as you don’t risk getting the clay mixed in with the flux when painting it on

Pre-heat the soldering clay before soldering

Soldering clay is a slight heat sink, so pre-heating the clay once everything is in position will make getting everything up to temperature for the solder to flow a lot easier

Heat sinks can be a good thing!

Simply put, if the tips of your prongs are sitting down in that soldering clay, it will be virtually impossible to melt them.

Clean before pickling

Unless you want your pickle to look like a swamp fit for Shrek, take a little time to clean the clay off your pieces after soldering. 

After quenching everything, including the clay, carefully (the clay may still be hot in the middle) pull the soldered piece out of the clay, and clean with soap and a tooth brush.

Re-use the clay - it can be used more than once

Peel off the burnt bits first (they can go in the trash), then anything that looks nice and clean, just pop it in a separate container to use again later.  If it gets a little dried out, it works perfectly after adding a little water.  Don’t make it a swamp of course, just help make it clay again!

Want to learn more?

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