Additional Craft Information:
Torch Flame Control:
DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape
DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers
Soldering requires concentration and practice. Get to know the torch that you are using so that you can confidently adjust its air or oxygen ratio to its gas ratio; this allows you to easily switch from a tight, neutral flame to a bushy reduction flame.
Most handheld butane torch models have a tab or plastic collar that allows you to adjust the flame. Oxygen / Propane torch sets are typically sold with interchangeable torch tips which yield flames that range from a small tight flame to a large bushy one. Torch setups that include gauges allow you to not only adjust the oxygen to gas ratio, but to control the line pressure as well, which allows you to easily go from an oxidising flame to a reduction flame.
Aids that prevent heat from travelling where you don't want it (e.g. a previously soldered join) are called heat sinks. Strategically placed cross locking tweezers will draw heat from an area, effectively acting as a heat sink. Be sure not to use heat sinks sold for electronic work to solder handmade jewellery; these are not made to withstand the high temperatures required to melt jewellery solders.
DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife
DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint
“I kept heating the metal but solder didn't flow” – You need to use a large enough and hot enough flame so that you can get in and out quickly. If your flame is not hot enough, you'll slowly burn off the flux, which causes the metal to oxidise, which in turn prevents the solder from flowing along the join. Solder can also tarnish over time, which prevents it from flowing. Use a brillo pad or fine-grit sandpaper to remove tarnish from your solder.
“Why did my join fall apart” – One of two things probably occurred during soldering: 1) the join was moved before the solder solidified or 2) one of the metal pieces was not at soldering temperature.
“I vaporised my earring post. What happened” – It takes more time to heat up the metal you are soldering the post to than it does to heat up the post. Aim the flame from underneath or to the side to heat the metal you're attaching the post to. And use a hot flame so you can get in and out quickly.
– Different sizes of firebrick.
– Soft soldering pad with steel T-pins.
– Insulated cross-locking tweezers.
– Third hand with cross-locking tweezers.
– Titanium solder pick.
– Cast iron bowl containing soldering grain.