|Soldering is a Learned
soldering is a learned skill. Don't assume that you'll be perfect the
first time out. Give yourself time to learn and you'll enjoy it more
once you've mastered it.
Never, never, never dip a hot
soldering iron tip into flux!
make a circle of the following goods around you: copper foil tape, damp
synthetic sponge in dish, flux, roll of solder, iron stand and iron. In
front of you is your work in some kind of holder or
vise. Put some flux in a separate
dish and then dip your cold soldering iron into it. This will
help protect your tip from oxidizing while it heats up.
Cut and clean the glass with rubbing alcohol and a lintless cloth (I use
Plug in the iron (with the tip in place).
While the iron heats, neatly line the edges of the glass with copper
foil tape, burnish and then stabilize your collage for soldering.
Use a Q-tip to flux all the copper foil tape on the photo frame. Don't
forget the front and back.
Remove the hot iron from the stand and quickly wipe both sides of the
tip on the sponge.
Now either "chase" the solder down the
side of the photo frame or just pick some solder off the roll with the
tip of the hot iron and then "flow" it down the tape. Wait a second for
the solder to set and then carefully turn the frame in the vise or
whatever holder you've chosen, and then solder again. Repeat until all
sides are soldered.
Touch up the front and back of your charm
and then solder a jump ring to the top to act as a bale.
Tip Doesn't Hold Solder
||The first rule
is to keep your iron's tip clean (as in silver) at all times. The
number one mistake I see students make is to let their tip get hot
without solder on it and then the tip oxidizes. Once the tip is oxidized
it is much more reluctant to accept solder. While an oxidized tip can be
cleaned, it's really a pain and it's easy to avoid.
Here's a rule to never forget:
Heat + Oxygen = Oxidation
If you rob the iron of either ingredient
it will not oxidize. So, it you have solder on the tip at all times,
oxygen can't get to it and therefore it can't oxidize. If you ever
see black color appearing on your tip, clean it with a damp synthetic sponge and then
immediately tin (coat with solder) your tip.
up directions for how to use a sal
Copper Foil Tape Doesn't Stick
the copper foil tape onto the glass be sure it's free of cutter oil by
cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.
Burnish the tape well with a wooden fid
or some other implement. I tend to use the back of my thumb nail but
that's not necessarily the best idea and it can ruin your nails.
You'll want to
avoid touching the iron directly onto the copper foil tape because if
the tape gets too hot the adhesive on the back gets ruined and the tape
will no longer stick to the glass.
Don't use too much flux as it can ruin the adhesive on the copper foil
tape. I like to use a Q-Tip to apply it and brush from the center of the
tape out, toward the edges. The idea is to keep the brush from directing
the flux underneath the tape. Some people prefer to use
Flux so that it stays in place a little better.
|How to make a jump ring
Find out how to close a
jump ring securely
because this all happens very quickly.
Your piece should be in a
Vise or otherwise secured, with the place where you want the
bail facing up.
Use 2 pairs of pliers to open and the
close the jump ring securely.
Flux the place where you want the jump ring and also the bottom (the cut
side) of the jump ring itself. Put some solder on your clean, hot iron tip (if the
solder doesn't want to flow onto the tip, it sometimes helps to dip
the end of the solder - never the hot iron tip - into the flux). Hold the jump ring, cut
side down, in a pair of needle- or flat-nose pliers. Hold the pliers so
that the jump ring is about 1/8" above
where you want it to be.
Now touch the loaded iron tip to the fluxed
solder on the piece. As soon as you see the solder melt, lower your other
hand and (with the pliers) lower the jump ring into the melted solder. Now
FREEZE long enough for the solder to set up and then let go of the ring
with the pliers. Don't like it? Remelt the solder with your iron and try
I recommend making a junky soldered piece
and putting the ring on over and over until you get really good at it.
have a Weller 100 iron and want a taller bead on my work. Can I use a
A: No. The Weller
100 iron is "temperature controlled" which means that there is a
controller built into the handle of the iron that regulates the
temperature by turning the iron off and on (the same way your home oven
works). It's possible that a
rheostat can conflict with that task and cause problems with the iron.
The correct way to get a taller solder
bead on your work when using the Weller 100 is to use a different tip
than the iron came with. There are 2
options and it's just a matter of preference which you use.
- One option is to use a
600º tip (which come in
several widths). The Weller 100 ships with a 3/8" 700º tip on it.
Iron and tips vary and sometimes they get a little too hot for a
tall bead. In this case you'll get what's called "tinning," which
simply means that the solder spreads out flat when touched to the
copper foil tape. A cooler tip makes the solder flow more slowly so
that there's time for a bead to build up.
- The other option is to use a
700º Bead Tip made
specifically for the Weller 100 iron. The tip has a channel cut into
it and solder builds up in this channel and therefore forms a taller
bead on your work.
If you are using a soldering iron which
isn't temperature controlled (such as the
Inland/Choice irons we sell) you can
use a rheostat to regulate the temperature of your iron tip.
Q. Where should I set my rheostat for
soldering? This depends on if you'd like a tall bead or a thin film of
solder. I usually have students start with their rheostat set on 5 and
then we adjust up or down depending on their iron's heat output.
want my pieces to be bright silver like yours and Sally Jean
Alexander's, but they're kind of dull. What am I doing wrong?
A: Aha! The secret ingredient is . .
. SilverGleem Solder! It
has real silver in it so it has that shine you love. Other solders, such
as 50/50 or 60/40 don't have any silver in them (they are made up of tin
and lead) so they have a dull pewter-y look to them.
If you are using SilverGleem you'll
probably find that you need a higher heat than when using leaded
solders. If you are using a Weller 100 iron use a 700º tip. If you are
using a non-temperature controlled iron and a rheostat, turn your
rheostat up one or two numbers on the dial.
If you are using
lead came, 50/50 is usually a good color match.
several things; it breaks the surface tension of the solder so that it
can flow, it gives the solder a path to follow, it cleans oxides off of
the copper foil tape and it prevents oxygen from getting to the copper
Some fluxes are
acids so it's important to keep your work area and your hands clean. Use
baking soda or dish soap to neutralize the acids.
Some people prefer
Flux to Liquid.
The main advantage is that it stays in place on the copper so you'll be
less apt to get flux under the tape.
Note: The answers on this page
are compiled from my own experience and the experience of other teachers,
vendors and friends. I cannot take responsibility if you have a problem. Please
research your project, techniques and tools thoroughly before beginning.