Archive | Soldering

Day 55 Bezel Making Project

I was digging through my bins of stuff I haven’t looked in for a while, and I found a rectangle shaped Tiger Eye stone, so I said to myself, “Self, let’s make something with this stone”. So that is what I will do for the next project, try to turn this stone into a project.

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The first thing I am going to do is build a bezel for the stone. I have some sterling that I want to use for the stone setting, so I first roll it out to .8mm thick. I have a Digital Caliper that I usually use, but the battery quit working, so I will use my old stand-by Dial Caliper. It is a good idea to have backups for stuff like that, because if you are dependent on technology, at times it will fail you, you don’t want to be stuck not be able to work. On a bezel, it is not as important because you can always judge by eye the thickness you like, but there are times when exact measurements are required.

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I anneal the silver I just rolled out for the bezel with my Mini Torch and quench it in my heated pickle, I use Sparex. (If you want an explanation of annealing, See my post at www.JewelryMonk.com/anneal) I anneal the setting base as well, but I let this air cool because I want the dark color to remain because this shows my scribe lines better when I layout the stone shape. Next I file one of the edges flat with a #4 Flat Hand File, add a small piece of soft wax to the base and press the stone into the wax. This will hold the stone firmly in place to allow me to scribe a line around the stone.

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Next I grab my Saw Frame with a # 3/0 Saw blade. Here is how I load a saw blade into my frame. I first put about 1/2″ of the saw blade into the clamp that is closest to the handle. I make sure the teeth of the blade are pointing towards the handle and tighten. I place the handle against my chest and the other end against my Bench Pin. I add a little pressure to the frame, line up the blade in the other clamp and tighten. I have the frame length set about 1 inch shorter than the saw blade length and seldom adjust this screw since all saw blades are the same length.

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Now I start to cut the piece on the outside of the scribed lines. Here are a couple of tricks to doing this, first I have a small piece of Bees Wax that I run my saw blade through to make cutting easier. What this does is adds a little wax in between the teeth of the saw blade and lubricates the cutting process. I also have an old tooth brush that I have handy all the time on my bench. As I am cutting, sometimes I need to clean the area I am cutting so I can see the scribed line. I want to get as close to the line without touching it. This makes for less filing to get the stone base to shape.

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Now I use my #4 Flat Hand File to file to the scribed lines. I now have the base for my bezel setting. Come back and we will see what we can make out of this stuff I have found.

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Thanks again for stopping by, again, if you find value in this content, or if you like to keep up to date on the eBook, tutorials, podcast, and video lessons coming soon, make sure to Subscribe to this Blog Via Email (link in the upper right corner at www.JewelryMonk.com)

Have an Awesome day!

Doug

Day 38 Making Round Beads or Balls

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At some point in your soldering, you will want to make little silver beads or balls. This isn’t as easy as you might think. If you have tried this before, you might have gotten frustrated with deformed balls with flat sides and pits.

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Well, I will try to help you get less frustrated. Start with silver wires cut the same length. You will have to experiment with different lengths to get different size balls. If you have Pure Silver as opposed to Sterling Silver this will work much better and give you less pits. (I used Sterling here) Melt the wires into balls on a Soldering Block. Use a little Handy Flux to help in this first stage. After this, the balls are not round and are fairly deformed.

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Now you will want to make little “Divots” in your soldering board, or better yet, if you can find a Honeycomb Soldering Board made for melting balls. Use a bushy flame and melt the balls slowly, you don’t want to use flux this time. Once the ball starts to melt, slowly move the flame away and let it solidify slowly. (again, Pure Silver works better for this) I use my Mini Torch for this.

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In this instance I am going to solder a post onto the balls and make earrings. I dip all the parts in a mixture of Denatured Alcohol and Powdered Boric Acid. I mix about a tablespoon of powdered boric acid to about 1 ounce of denatured alcohol. Then I solder a post onto the balls.

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Next, polish and enjoy!

Have an awesome day and make sure to pause and enjoy it!

Doug

Day 31 Back to Soldering Basics

The great thing about putting together this JewelryMonk site is all the people who have visited it in the past month, over 12,000 visits! This blows me away and truly humbles me.  I have had comments from some you and so far I seem to have hit a note with quite a few of you, and all different levels of jewelers from beginners to experienced masters. Yeah, that’s right, I have been doing this “Blog-Thing” for a month now. I am amazed because I have never blogged before and I have realized what I have been missing all these years. I have been making jewelry for close to 30 years and I have accumulated a whole bunch of jewelry tips, tricks, and nuggets of knowledge, and it is a joy to share some of them.

THANK YOU ALL for pushing me forward, and I promise I will keep it up and make this site better and bigger. Ok on with today’s lesson.

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Today let’s talk about some basic soldering techniques. Like I said earlier, there are all levels of jewelers visiting this site, and some of you have never soldered, or have done some very limited soldering. I want help you get over your hesitation of getting into the soldering world, and assure you that you can do it. First if you haven’t read Day 5 on Safety and Torch Setup, I suggest you start there.

Here are some tools I can’t solder without:

Mini Torch and Tanks, Tungsten Soldering Pick, Soldering Tweezers, Soldering Spring Tweezers, Third Hand, Soldering Board.

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For starters, I learned a “trick” very early in my soldering that I notice not many people do. I am right handed, and I learned early that it is easier to hold the torch in my LEFT hand, so I can use my soldering tweezers and soldering pick in my right (dominant) hand. This just made sense to me, because I need a steadier hand to hold pieces in place, to adjust solder, and control the piece I am soldering. I would suggest learning this way if you are new to soldering, or if you haven’t gotten a soldering habit formed. (if you have a habit formed already, keep refining your skill) Also always try to steady your right hand on your bench pin, or bench, or something to steady it or you will be shaking like crazy.

I will go through this lesson kind of quick, so follow along, or ask questions in the comments section.

First I cut a piece of sterling silver stock 4mm X 1.5mm and a little over 60mm long for a size 10 ring. I anneal the shank (see Day 9 for annealing tutorial)

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I use a “Stepped Mandrel” to round the shank because it keeps the inside of the shank straight, not tapered like if you rounded it on a regular tapered mandrel, but this can be worked around if you don’t have a step mandrel.

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I cut the shank, round the ends with a pair of Flat/Half Round Pliers, tap the shank with a Rawhide Mallet,  and file the ends of the shank with a Equalling Needle File #4, then a Escapement Equalling File #6.

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I bend the shank past center to reverse the spring in the shank, (so the tension forces the ends together instead of away from each other), then bend the shank until it matches as close as I can get it.

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Next I coat the entire soldering joint with Handy Flux and add a piece of silver solder to the top of the joint.

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Now, light your torch and get a good flame, not too sharp (pointy blue) and not too bushy (fluffy yellow) and point the torch UNDER the soldering area. You want the flame to be under the shank, to allow the heat to melt the solder, not the flame. Solder follows heat, and if you heat from the underside of the shank, the solder will be pulled “Through” the solder joint. This will make a strong solder joint with less chance for pits. Always remember that solder follows heat, and you want heat to melt the solder, not the flame. If you melt the solder with the flame, you are adding oxygen to the melting solder, adding more chance for pits.

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We will get more into soldering in future posts, but I want you to get comfortable with the idea of being someone who can tackle this hurdle if you have never soldered, or get into good soldering habits if you are new.

Thanks for making my first month of blogging an enjoyable experience.

Have a good day!

Doug

Day 21 Gemstone that take heat and Ultrasonic

Wow. today marks 3 weeks since I started this 90 day-in-a-row Blogging journey, I hope you are following along and having as much fun as I am. I am traveling today, so here is a little quick info for you to take with you:

Gemstone That Can Take Heat

Gemstones that can generally take heat from soldering and casting in place are: Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Garnet, Cubic Zirconia and Various lab grown colored gemstones.

Gemstones that can NOT take heat from soldering and casting in place are: Emerald, Opal, Jade, Amethyst, Topaz, Peridot, Coral, Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Topaz, Pearl, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise and Onyx as these gemstones may burn, crack or discolor when exposed to high heat.

For soldering or casting in place, gemstones should be high quality, dimensions are accurate, free of flaws and inclusions that can turn milky, frosty or crack when heated.

Ultrasonics and Stones

Ultrasonics and Stones

Thanks for stopping by and coming on this journey with me.

Now go have a Great Day!

Doug

Day 17 V-Bezel Pendant

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Ok, ok, After yesterdays V-Bezel illustration, I had quite a few questions and comments about how I would use the bezels and a good application for V-Bezels. Well, you ask, you get.

Over the next 2-3 days I will make a pendant and set a stone using the now “semi-famous” V-Bezel. I found a stone that I have had in my drawer for a while looking for a use for it, well now I have found a purpose for it, so let’s get going.

First, I find a piece of flat silver for the pendant base. In this instance, I use a piece that is 1.25mm thick. I place the stone I am using top down on the silver, (I slightly dull the surface of the silver with a piece of used 1200 grit sandpaper so it will show the tracing better) and hold it in place with a small piece of sticky wax, something that will hold it firm. Once the stone is held down, I use a scribe to trace a light line around the stone. I pull the stone off of the silver and use my Saw Frame with a Saw Blade to cut along the outside of the line. I hold the silver with a pair of Smooth Jawed Parallel Pliers. I file the outside up to the scribed line.

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Once I have the base cut out, I scribe a line inside approx 1.5 mm thick, I drill a hole in the center of the base and load it on my Saw Frame. I cut along the inside up to the line, as close as possible. I use a Barrette Needle File and a Half-Round Escapement File to clean the inside and make it smooth and crisp.

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Now I have the base cleaned up, I roll a piece of silver approx 4mm wide and 0.8mm thick with my Rolling Mill to use as a bezel for the back of the stone. After I roll it to the desired thickness, I anneal it and form it to match the shape of the back of the setting. (If you are unfamiliar with the annealing process, see Day 9’s blog entry) I now solder the bezel to the back of the base that I made. You can see I place the solder in between the bezel and the frame on my Soldering Block. I solder using my Smith Mini Torch with a fairly small flame from the #5 torch tip. (I have drilled out my tip, so it is a little larger than a #5, but a #5 is a good tip) I am using Oxygen (approx 30 psi) and Propane (approx 10 psi) as gas for my torch. (to see how I set up my torch and to safely check for leaks, See Blog Post Day 5)

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Next, I take the V-Bezel that I made in Day 16’s Blog entry and saw off about 4.5mm of it to use as a bezel setting for the point of the stone. I solder it to the point of the setting base while holding it with my Soldering Spring Tweezers with heat protective handles.

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Can you see it starting to take shape yet? A little more massaging and it will come alive….. I found a bail that I have been itchin’ to use as well, seems like the perfect project for it.

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Stay Tuned and I will finish cleaning it up and set the stone in the next days.

Now go make Something Beautiful!

Doug