Posted by: alenegeed | April 18, 2012

Organizing at the Jewelry Bench. Solder

Keeping everything organized is a full time job.

Along the way I have discovered a few tips that help tremendously! These little containers held 35mm film.. Remember??? before digital took over the world!!

First, I ‘paint’ the solder so I know which is Hard, Medium or Soft.  I use Sharpie markers to color them. Blue for hard, green for medium and red for soft.

The colors dont matter, as long as each kind is a different color! Each container is marked with H, M or S. That way I dont get too confused when soldering..

which is quite easy to do. When working on a project, often I have several ‘colors’ on my bench and have to be sure to use the right one for the correct step in the process.

Hard Solder: used for bezels and the first joining. Hard solder has more silver in it and requires more heat to melt.

Medium solder requires a lower temperature and Soft requires an even lower temperature.

So if I am soldering a Bezel… then attaching the bezel to a backplate, I would use Medium for the backplate… That way when I reach the melting temperature, it won’t undo the bezel solder!  I attach the bail with Soft solder so the lower temperature doesnt undo my other two joins. Make sense?

Seems simple, but still takes lots of practice. Over the years I have gotten this process working most of the time but still melt a bezel now and then. Several times I have melted the top of the bezel, too… making it useless except as Scrap silver.

This Malachite pendant required Hard solder to create the bezel around the stone, Medium solder to attach to the backing, and soft solder to create the bail at back.

DO you have any Solder Horror Stories?  I would love to hear them.


  1. Hello;Whenever I am doing small fittings such as 1/2 or 3/4 ; I place the heat untdnreaeh and as we all know heat rises. If I am soldering a larger fitting I will move the heat aroiund, but with the smaller ones; it is not neccessary. I have done it like this since I entered the trade and it has worked very well for me. If you turn the copper green; you know you have too much heat on the fitting as well.Thanks for commenting and all the best in 2012! Al

  2. Hello there; You are correct when it comes to monivg the heat around the fitting evenly when you are soldering larger fittings, but with smaller joints there is no need. Place the heat underneath and let it rise as it only takes a short time to heat the entire joint. This is how I was taught and it has worked for me for over 30 years. I guess it is up to the individual, but this is a homerun style for myself. Thanks for commenting and have a great day!!! Al

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