Here pictured is a men's silver Claddagh ring on the soldering block in my Claddagh workshop.
This ring is being gently heated during the craft process.
This is just one of the many elements of craft which go together to produce our high quality Irish jewelry.
Jewelry soldering is the process of using heat to join two or more metal pieces together. There are several methods of soldering jewelry, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will focus on the use of the French blowpipe torch for soldering jewelry.
I have a great love for this style of torch as its the one I used as an apprentice.
The French blowpipe torch is a small torch that is fueled by gas and oxygen.
The oxygen is provided to the flame via a tube which I blow into to control the flame. It is a popular choice for jewelry soldering due to its ability to produce a concentrated and precise flame. It is ideal for fine soldering work.
To use the French blowpipe torch for soldering jewelry, you will need a few supplies:
Soldering block or charcoal block: This is a block of heat-resistant material that you will use to support your work while soldering.
Soldering pick: This is a thin, pointed tool that you will use to position and hold your pieces in place while soldering.
Solder: This is a metal alloy that is used to join the metal pieces together. There are different types of solder available, and the type you choose will depend on the type of metal you are working with and the type of joint you are trying to create.
Flux: This is a chemical compound that is used to clean the metal surfaces and help the solder flow more easily.
To begin, set up your workstation by placing your soldering block on a stable surface and adjusting your French blowpipe torch so that the flame is focused and intense. Next, position your metal pieces on the soldering block, using the soldering pick to hold them in place. Apply a thin layer of flux to the joint, then heat the metal with the torch until it is hot enough to melt the solder. Once the metal is hot enough, touch the solder to the joint and watch as it flows and fuses the metal pieces together.
There are a few key points we keep in mind when soldering jewelry with a French blowpipe torch:
Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.
Use a lower flame setting for finer soldering work, and a higher flame setting for larger pieces.
Be sure to wear protective eyewear in as I have often seen hot pieces of metal or solder flare away during the process.
Practice proper safety techniques, such as keeping flammable materials away from the torch and never leaving the torch unattended while it is in use.