How to Repair Jewelry With a Soldering Iron

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You can use a soldering iron to make many jewelry repairs.
You can use a soldering iron to make many jewelry repairs. (Image: soldering image by Bube from Fotolia.com)

A soldering iron is a tool used to heat solder, a metal-based substance used to join two or more metal components. Soldering irons are frequently used in various creative pursuits, such as jewelry making, metalsmithing and stained glass assembling. They are also useful for completing all kinds of repairs, including jewelry repairs. When positioned properly and heated with a soldering iron, solder can create a strong link between components of jewelry that have broken apart, such as clasps and chains, chain links, rings and settings, or charms and bails.

Things You'll Need

  • Pickle solution
  • Towel
  • Clothespins, clamps or string (optional)
  • Flux
  • Paintbrush
  • Solder
  • Soldering iron

Submerge the jewelry pieces you want to solder in pickle, an acidic solution used to clean metal before and after soldering. Keep the jewelry pieces in the pickle for five to 10 minutes, then remove them and pat them with a towel until they are thoroughly dry.

Press the jewelry pieces together in the position in which you want to solder them. Use clothespins, clamps, or string to hold the pieces of jewelry in place if necessary. Avoid covering the surfaces to which you will apply solder.

Paint a thin layer of flux—a substance used to help solder flow and adhere—on the portions of the jewelry where you will melt the solder. Use a paintbrush to apply the flux precisely where it is needed.

Plug in the soldering iron. Allow it several minutes to heat up.

Position the tip of the solder so it rests directly between the two jewelry components you wish to join together.

Push the tip of the soldering iron against the solder. Use the soldering iron to melt the solder and to draw it into the places you desire. Drag the solder along the seam between two jewelry pieces, if necessary, or simply melt a small bit of it to connect two necklace links

Lift the soldering iron away from the solder once the solder has melted into place. Unplug the soldering iron.

Allow the solder to solidify and cool.

Tips & Warnings

  • For jewelry made of precious metals, such as gold and silver, it is best to use solder in the same alloy, such as gold solder or silver solder. In such cases, a soldering gun is not sufficiently hot to melt the solder; instead, use a butane or propane torch.
  • Remember that solder comes in different forms, including rods, spools of wire, and flat sheets. Select the form of solder that is best for the specific jewelry repair at hand.

References

  • "Step-by-Step Jewelry Workshop: Simple Techniques for Soldering, Wirework, and Metal Jewelry"; Nicola Hurst, 2008
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