The start of the year always brings an influx of repairs from engagements, weddings, and gifts surrounding the recent holiday season. Making sure you are ready for a high volume of repairs looks very different for every bench jeweler. Tools, experience, and preferred materials all come into play. Do you have everything that you need? Let’s look at the top three most commonly used materials in repair work and get expert tips on using them.
Sizing stock is a shaped wire that is typically used to resize rings. The shape is in a way that closely resembles a ring to reduce waste. Bench jewelers can also use this shaped wire for other applications such as making bracelets, ensuring that a fabricated and comfortable fit is possible. A pro tip for this particular wire would be to use a clean piece of the sizing stock that has been purchased new from a supplier instead of reusing metals from another piece of jewelry. You cannot be entirely sure of another piece’s metal alloy composition and if it will be the best match for the repair.
Solder is a small piece of alloyed metal used to fuse other metal pieces together at a specific joint place. You can find solder in three different types, easy, medium, and hard. The melting point of the metal determines the kind of solder. A tip for a more accessible application is to use multiple types of solder when you are working on numerous solder joints on a singular piece. Since you can only work on one joint at a time, you won’t want one of the joints you just worked on to melt as you work on another one. Start by using the hard solder on your first joint. Use a medium solder on the second and then an easy solder on all remaining joints. That way, as you work with lower melting points, you will work on the easy solder joints without worrying about the hard solder joint reflowing.
Laser wire is a form of a round wire used in repairs such as filling craters and pores in jewelry, building or rebuilding prongs, and joining components. Because it uses the parent metal as the filler instead of solder, there are no joint marks, leaving the repair to look seamless and cleaner. It can work in smaller spaces, so there isn’t a concern of getting solder on parts of the pieces of jewelry that weren’t intended to. A pro suggestion for using laser wire is to start at a lower voltage when you begin working with the laser wire. Every wire has a different grade and works differently, so the lower voltage will help you understand the type of wire you are working with and its behavior. A lower voltage allows you to see the contact with the wire more efficiently and have a better visual while working.
At Stuller, you can order sizing stock in a large coil that you can cut to your desired sizes, or you can order your stock in the size increments that you need precut if you prefer. We offer thousands of options of sizing stock in a variety of qualities, sizes, and metals. As well as the sizing stock, we also carry a large selection of solder and laser wire in different metals and grades that you may need to address all of your repair demands.
To see our full selection of sizing stock, solder, and laser wire, visit Stuller.com/Metals.