Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

In Solder We Trust

February 19, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 7
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
In Solder We Trust
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode I will be discussing soldering tips! How you can use potatoes and pennies as soldering props but I’ll explain why you can’t use just any penny!

Today’s podcast sponsor is Sandgren clogs. They have become my favorite footwear in my studio. They are comfortable and super cute. Sandgren is offering our community 10% off your order when you use code: CORKIE : https://sandgrensclogs.com/discount/CORKIE

Using a potato as a soldering prop from @makeitwithkim: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxZzJeBhZxt/

Grid soldering board tip from @the_alkamist: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9wOGXlnZwN/

Soldering tip with a penny (1981 or earlier)  from  @kkbmetalstudio: https://www.instagram.com/p/CwUyuTwuBgg/

Video showing the Ti-Quad Soldering Stand from Lion Punch Forge: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CzY4bisuagh/

You can shop the Ti-Quad here: https://lionpunchforge.com/collections/soldering-tools/products/ti-quad-soldering-stand

You can find the 2019 “In Solder We Trust” frame print in my shop here: https://metalsmithsociety.com/collections/accessories/products/framed-in-solder-we-trust-print

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metals mith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metal Smith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious, lucky lose eager to learn about jewelry making. Together we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me In today's episode. I will be discussing soldering tips First, how you can use potatoes and pennies as soldering props, but I'll explain why you can't just use any penny in a few. Before I get into today's episode, I'm so excited to tell you about my Sandgren clogs. They have become my favorite footwear in my studio. They're comfortable and super cute. You can get them in silver and gold. I mean, come on. Every single pair of clogs is made by hand in Sweden, each pair taking 24 hours to make with skilled hands and years of experience and knowledge as makers. I'm sure we can all appreciate that Sandgren is offering our community 10% off your order when you use code Corky that's code CORKIE at checkout to save 10%. This first tip I'm going to share today really excites me, because it's actually a part of the origin story of how I came to start Metals mith Society. So let me back up a little bit and tell you about that. It was 2017. I was heavily pregnant with my son, Dean, and I was working on a custom job, and, without getting into all the details, let's just say that I had an opal that was already set, and said opal became detached from this piece, which was a major problem, and so what I did was I reached out to an old coworker of mine and I asked her what to do. I was a little panicked and I just wanted to see if there was any way to salvage the situation without having to remake the entire piece, and what she told me was go to the store, get a potato, carve out an area for the opal to sit, sandwiched in between two pieces of potato, and then, with the appropriate solder and heat, get in there, solder it back on, get out as fast as you can. And what can I say? It worked.

Corkie Bolton:

Now, I have to give this caveat anytime this is mentioned. This is not always going to work. It really depends on your torch, the situation, the size of the stone, how long you have to heat it for, but sometimes, in a last-ditch effort, this tip works. And so back in 2019, make it With. Kim shared the potato tip, and in it she not only talks about the potato being used to heat, protect a gemstone, but also how you can use it to position your work. For example, you could perhaps position two rings and make a split shank, soldering the back, just by sort of shoving them into the potato. For our beginners, I think it's important to get into why the potato works. Or an apple Some people have also used an apple.

Corkie Bolton:

With some stones most stones you cannot solder jewelry around them because the heat will destroy the stone, and so it is not advised that you solder upon a piece where you've already set stones, especially more fragile stones. You can solder around diamonds. With experience and following, you know certain rules, but generally let's just say for the beginner's sake, you don't want to be soldering when they're stones, but sometimes something might occur where you know a piece falls off a ring or maybe you need to resize a ring shank, and so this is when, okay, if you're resizing a ring shank, you could possibly cover the entire front half of the ring, with just the back of the ring sticking out of the potato, and resize it without doing harm to the stone. But that's generally what this tip is about. In the comments section, there was a lot of love, a lot of appreciation. There was a lot of love and appreciation for potatoes in general, both eating them and the smell of them when you burn them. So I found that quite amusing and you know this will continue to be a tip that I will use over the years.

Corkie Bolton:

The next community tip I want to talk about was shared back in 2020 by the alchemist. What they did was they took their white solderite board which I'll tell you a little bit more about those in a moment and they used a pencil and Sharpie to draw lines on it as a grid. What this grid does is it gives you a visual to keep things aligned while you're soldering. They also took it a step further and they drew areas for different solder. For example, one area was marked easy, the other medium and the other hard. Now this is something that I have done for years, because if you have little chips of solder everywhere, they kind of become mystery solder, but if you keep them on a board in a little area, it's a great way to keep track of what's what.

Corkie Bolton:

Now let's talk a little bit about what a solderite board is. If you're unfamiliar, white boards are made of calcium silicate and these boards are more dense so they don't break easily or flake. I find mine rapidly cools so it can be good for soldering smaller elements that I don't want to melt. I don't find myself using it for soldering large things. For the most part I prefer honeycomb or charcoal for that, because charcoal and honeycomb are more heat reflective surfaces. The other nice thing about solderite is you can stick pins into it and even prongs. Some are a little bit harder to stick prongs directly into. You almost need to pre-drill a little hole, but they can be great for positioning work. I have also seen this same tip used on honeycomb boards. I think it would be hard to see on a charcoal block, but you can take your honeycomb board and draw lines on it as well if you want that visual for keeping things aligned.

Corkie Bolton:

The next tip I'm going to talk about is how you can use a penny as a soldering prop, and this one came from KKB Metal Studio. So the important thing with this tip is that back in 1982, pennies were manufactured as copper plated zinc. So if you find pennies that are prior to 1982, they are copper and they are a fantastic prop for soldering. You can use them to lift work a little bit to get a bail into the right position. They can be used in a wide variety of ways. A lot of people keep a stack of them around and, as suggested by KKB Metal Studio, once they get super yucky you can just pickle them. One consideration with pennies is that you do want to make sure that you don't solder your work to the penny.

Corkie Bolton:

And another topic that comes up around soldering props is titanium is also a fantastic material for soldering prop. And, same thing, you can find titanium strips and you can stack them and use those as well. So next time you find a penny on the ground, check out what year it is and if you're before 1982, be sure to save it and bring it over to your soldering station. The comments section also talked about sort of the mess that happens if it is a penny, that's, you know, copper-plated tink. Apparently it becomes a big hot mess on your desk. So don't do that. But yeah, I love this tip because it's an everyday item that you know most of us have.

Corkie Bolton:

The last tip I wanna talk about today is a video I created with a product I really love. It's called the T-Quad Soldering Stand and it's by Lion Punch Forge. What it is and I'll link it in the show notes is it's a little mini stand. It's only a few inches tall and it's made out of titanium, so it's very durable and it's designed for soldering jewelry components like hollow forms, bezels, and you can even like enamel with it torch, fire enamel and it was just created by Chris to make some of those soldering jobs a little bit easier. I have especially been loving using it for when I have to solder a bezel onto a back plate, because the stand lifts your work up without being a heat sink and allows you to heat from below. So be sure to check it out. I've really been enjoying giving these podcast episodes fun little names.

Corkie Bolton:

Today's episode is called In Soder We Trust, and this was actually a slogan that was on one of our first ever limited edition t-shirt designs back in 2019. So, for those that don't know, every year I hire a different artist to create a fresh design just for our community. You can find all of those items over at metalsmithsociety. com, including a framed print of the In Solder We Trust design that was available back in 2019. You can't get it on a shirt anymore, but you can find it as a framed print for your studio wall. All purchases made at metalsmithsociety. com help support me running the Instagram page, creating this podcast, keeping resources and blog articles up to date. So I appreciate you looking and thank you so much for the support. Thanks for tuning in and I will talk to you next time. Bye.

Intro and Sponsor with Discount
Potato Tip
Using Solderite Board to Organize Solder
Pennies for Soldering Props
Ti-Quad Soldering Stand
Supporting the Page and Outro