1. Do I want soft, medium or hard solder?
Solder comes in soft, medium or hard. This simply indicates what temperature is required
to get the solder to flow. Soft flows at a lower temperature than medium, and so on. This
is important if you are going to be soldering multiple layers of metal on the same piece.
You would solder with a harder (higher temp) solder the first time and a comparatively softer
(lower temp) solder the second time. This will keep previous joints from re-flowing. If you
only need to solder one time, you can use any level but you might as well use soft or
medium to save time and fuel.
2. Do I need silver solder paste for silver and copper paste for copper?
You can use either for soldering silver, copper, brass, nickel and gold filled -- it
depends on the finished look you are trying to achieve. The silver solder paste is
bright silver in color when it has flowed. Copper solder paste does not look like copper,
but it is a darker gray color and less obvious than bright silver if it is showing a
little on your copper metal. Ideally, the solder won't flow out and be visible. This
takes lots of practice! Until then, refer to FAQ #6.
3. Can I solder on a house brick instead of a kiln brick?
No - it will absorb the heat of your torch and your piece will never get up to temperature.
4. Why isn’t it working? The pieces fall apart when I put them in the cool cup.
Don’t forget, the whole piece needs to be hot enough for the solder to flow. When
soldering, "slow and steady wins the race." Heat the pieces evenly and slowly to
bring the solder up to flow temperature. If you go in too quickly with your heat,
there is a chance you could melt a portion of your piece. Clues it has flowed
include a glow at the solder seam or, if you are soldering blanks together, watch
for the top blank to “settle” onto the blank below.
5. I tried again and it still isn't working. Why?
Was your metal clean before you started? Make sure you clean it well
with Penny Brite, Sparex, or Citric Acid.
6. The solder flowed but now it is in places I didn’t want it. How can I fix it?
In some cases, like jump ring closures for example, you can file/sand away some
of the extra solder. If it flows out on a blank, you can use a rotary tool like a
dremel or engraving tool with a silicon polishing bit.
for a quick demonstration. Joe Silvera covers this in his
FREE Polishing with Power Tools
7. Why does my brass look like copper after soldering?
This happens because of the alloy mix in brass. The copper color you see is a result
of the piece being fired. The heat depletes zinc on the surface layer, which means
there is a higher percentage of copper remaining. To prevent this, don't heat the
brass to an actual glow.
If/when the copper coloring does happen, soak the piece in 2 parts hydrogen
peroxide (the kind you get at the drug store) and 3 parts white vinegar to remove the
copper color. Be patient, it takes 30-60 minutes for the metal to come back to a nice
yellow brass. The piece will look hazy when you take it out. Polish it with a
Pro Polish Pad
and the smooth
shine comes right back.
NOTE: Do not store the peroxide and vinegar mixture in a closed container.
8. Your free class Simple Soldered Pendant has taught me so much. Now I am ready
to learn more! What classes should I take next?
We recommend now moving to
Intro to Soldering
Soldering Rings and Bezels.
Keep checking back because we are adding new classes every month!
We also recommend the following books to help take you to the next level:
by Kate Richbourg and
Soldering Made Simple
by Joe Silvera.