Everyone has their own soldering method, and while you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel, experimenting with new tips can improve your efficiency and work quality.

Below are some of our favorite soldering tips:

Ten Tips for Soldering Efficiency

Marking Solder:

Using a scribe, mark the bottom edge of one side with the color and the other side with the solder type. Use from the edge without marks. When you get down to the smallest piece, you’ll know what solder it is.

Sheet Solder:

Clean sheet solder with a pickle compound, then straight denatured alcohol. Always use distilled water for pickling as reactions can occur between the acid, minerals, and metals in your water.

Worn Pieces:

Cycle worn solder pieces through an ultrasonic cleaner. Then, clean with the pickle compound and coat it with a boric acid/denatured alcohol solution.

Paste Solder:

When using paste solder, apply the solder first, then the solution. Ignite the boric/alcohol solution to produce a protective glaze that inhibits oxidation. Apply heat to the piece instead of to the paste and piece. If solder is overheated, pits result from burning out alloy additions.

Ring Sizing:

Ensure a clean, flush fit at the solder joint when ring sizing. Not doing so results in pits. Apply proper heat to the piece and solder to prevent flowing.

(Note: Paste solder is not for sizing work.)

Inducing Solder Flow:

Induce solder flow by applying a “self-pickling” flux at the solder joint.

Preventing Solder Flow:

Prevent solder flow with yellow ochre, a graphite pencil, liquid paper (“White Out”), or red rouge powder. Often we want our solder to flow easily, but there are instances where you don’t want it to flow.

Revealing Solder:

Determine whether a ring has been soldered by hitting it with a torch flame until a light oxide forms. If it has been soldered, the solder will stand out.

Multiple Operations:

Start with a high temperature when multiple soldering is required on a piece. Minimize gaps between parts for a good fit.

Soldering Handling:

Avoid contamination. Most contaminants present when soldering are indirectly introduced, like residue on your hands. These contaminants can cause many problems, like preventing solder flow, so ensure pieces being joined are impeccably clean.

Becoming a soldering expert involves plenty of trial and error. Mistakes are inevitable, but keeping in mind the four basic rules of soldering—keep your metal clean, keep your joins tight, use metal-appropriate heat, and flux, flux, flux—and experimenting with others’ advice will put you on the fast-track to soldering mastery.

Have more questions about soldering? Call our at Tools Tech Team at 800-877-7777 ext. 4300. BenchJeweler Articles

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