Soldering Jump Rings Using Sterling Silver Solder
If you're serious about making good quality jewellery, learning to solder is an essential skill. Not only will your jewellery look better and more
â€˜finished', but your clasps and fastenings will be stronger and more secure as well. If you are planning to sell your silver jewellery commercially, you
will also have to ensure that the solder you use is silver solder and conforms to the same hallmarking standards as the findings to be able to call your
jewellery â€˜sterling' silver.
Soldering is actually far easier than you may first assume. You do need to ensure that your work surface is heat resistant and that you have
considered all safety issues before beginning. Make sure the area you are working in is free from clutter and well ventilated and that you have
prepared your equipment before starting. A pair of safety goggles is a worthwhile investment as they protect your eyes if impurities in the silver or
silver solder cause the liquid metal to â€˜spit'. The easiest and most controllable heat source to work with is a butane torch, which is very similar to the
kind used in kitchens. These are perfect for small jobs such as soldering jump rings. You will also need flux, a charcoal block, safety pickle and a
pickle pot and tongs (copper or plastic). An optional extra, and one that can help you a great deal in particularly fiddly jobs, is what is commonly
referred to as a â€˜helping' or â€˜third' hand. This is a tabletop tool that has crocodile clamps that can be angled to hold your work in place, leaving
both hands free to work.
Before you begin soldering, make sure that your jump ring is spotlessly clean with no grease marks or dust on the surface. Ensure that the seams of
the jump ring fit together cleanly. Solder does not fill gaps, so a good tight fit is essential for a quality finish. Make sure the two ends of the jump ring
spring together, as you will be using this tension to hold the final shape of the jump ring. If necessary, use a fine jeweller's file to f