Welcome Back

In my last Post, we reviewed the basics of setting up a safe and simple Soldering Work Station in a home studio environment.
To recap, we covered the basic safety equipment, portable butane torches, a few basic soldering surface and how to protect the surface of your station area (ie, desk or table.) Read Setting Up a Home Solder Station to catch up.

Before you can begin soldering at home, there are a few Essentials we should talk about first.

  • Forms of Solder
  • Solder Varieties
  • Flux
  • Sparex Pickle and Pickle Pot
  • Copper Tongs
  • Solder Picks
  • Soldering Tweezers

In essence Solder is the small piece of alloyed metal that is melted in order to fuse two other pieces of metal together.
The solder metal is of a lower melting temperature than the two pieces it is joining together.
The place where the metals are fused by solder is called a joint.
Multiple solder joints in a piece of jewelry require multiple types of solder.

Let’s tackle the Essentials one by one. 

Forms of Solder

There are many types of solder to choose from out there. Most solder types are available in the following forms. 

  • Paste Form
  • Wire Form
  • Sheet Form

Paste Solder is essentially powdered metal soldersuspended in a thick medium called flux.
Flux is added to act as a temporary adhesive, holding the components until the soldering process melts the solder and makes a stronger physical connection.
The paste is a putty-like material and comes in  a variety of options depending on the materials you are using and complexity of your projects.

Simply put, Wire Solder is the solder alloy in wire form.
Wire solder also comes in a variety of options and again, your choices depend on the metal you are working with and the number of soldering joints in your piece.
I marked the solder with bends at the end to make each type easily identifiable. 


Sheet Solder is the solder alloy in the form of a sheet. It looks a lot like sheet metal so take care to mark it well so you don’t confuse it with your other sheet metals.

Sheet solder also comes in a variety of options that depend on your project materials and number of joints in each piece.

Varieties of Solder

The 3 most Popular Types of Solder are: HardMedium, and Easy. 
(There is also Extra Easy Solder and Extra Hard Solder available. 

All three types have different melting temperatures.
Hard solder melts at a high temperature, medium melts at a lower temperature, easy melts at an even lower temperature.

These types of Solder are available in Paste, Wire and Sheet forms and also in a variety of metal types.

Gold Solder comes in a variety of Karats and Silver Solder is available for Fine, Sterling and Argentium Silvers.

Sheet and Wire Solder also come in a variety of gauges or thicknesses.

What Does this Mean to Us?

Multiple solder joints in a piece of jewelry require multiple types of solder. You don’t want to remelt a joint you just soldered while you are in the process of soldering another joint. The different melting temperatures will keep you from reflowing a solder joint. The first joint requires hard solder, the second joint requires medium solder, the third and remaining joints require easy solder.

There are a lot of opinions out there on how to choose solder, so let me add my two sense to the mix.
Try them out as you can afford to. You can purchase small amounts of most varieties of Solder. I suggest that you experiment with the three main forms to see which works best for you.
For Beginners, I suggest the you purchase an Easy, a Medium and a Hard Wire Solder for Silver to start out with. This will give you the ability to solder a piece of jewelry with a few joints such as a simple ring or pendant.  

In order for Solder to flow properly in your projects, the Metals must be clean and you must use Flux.


In the soldering of metals, flux serves a threefold purpose:

  • Flux removes any oxidized metal from the surfaces to be soldered
  • Flux seals out air thus preventing further oxidation
  • Flux improves the ability of the solder to flow properly at the joint area of your project.


In general, Flux is applied to clean metal joints and the solder using a small brush or applicator prior to adding heat.
You must use some type of flux with sheet or wire solder. Solder paste has flux already added into the paste.

Pickling Solution ~ Pickle Pot & Copper Tongs

Pickling is a treatment process used to remove impurities, such as stains, inorganic contaminants, rust or scale from ferrous metals, such as Copper, Silver, Brass, Bronze and Gold or Gold Filled.  
Pickling Solution usually contains acid, is used to remove the surface impurities. Sparex No.2 is the Pickle I use. It is easy to mix  and I keep it a the Crock Pot here on my desk. 

Pickling Pointers

  • Pickle is a caustic solution – harsh acid and must be handled with care and neutralized before disposal
  • Pickle is used to clean your metals throughout the entire soldering process of your piece. You will need to clean the metal in between each solder joint in the pickle.
  • Pickle works best when it is kept warm – use a dedicated crock pot to keep your pickle in at your bench.
  • Only Copper Utensils can be used in Pickle Solution. Do not stick any other metal other than Ferrous Metals into your pickle or you will ruin it.

Solder Picks

solder pick is a small, pointed instrument designed to help you move solder into place. Be careful not to get the metal too near the flame, or it will melt. … A pick can also be used to pick up molten solder to put it where its needed.

There are numerous styles of titanium solder picks available. 
It is recommended to use a separate pick for Hard, Medium and Easy Solder Paste. The colored ones at the right fill that need.

Soldering Tweezers & Third Hand Stands

Soldering Tweezers come in a variety of shapes and designs.
Reverse Action or Cross Locking Tweezers are essential for holding and positioning work for soldering. They are unique in that you pinch them to open the jaws. They work great with a Third Hand base to position and hold your work in the soldering surface. 



When flux is heated, it bubbles and moves. Pieces of solder in turn jump and move out of position which can be immensely frustrating. 
Precision steel or titanium tweezers will allow you to accurately position solder and pieces of work ensuring successful jewelry soldering.

There is a great variety of specialty tweezers on the market. I highly recommend a nice variety to help you manage your soldering tasks.

We have covered quite a bit in the last few posts and I know it can seem a little overwhelming.  Just keep in mind there are some great starter kits out there and that is exactly how I got started out. 

If you decide to grab things separately here is a bare bones list to get you ready to give soldering a try. 

The Essentials for Home Solder Station

  • Fire Extinguisher and Eye Protection
  • Micro Torch – Ultra Refined Butane
  • Soldering Surface – Charcoal or Solderite Block
  • Pickle Solution – Small Crockpot and plastic or copper tongs
  • Hard, Medium and Easy Solder in Form of your choice
  • Flux – Handy Flux for Wire and Sheet Solder
  • Small Brush
  • Solder Pick
  • At least one pair each of cross locking and precision tweezers
  • Protective surface for your work area. Can be as simple as an old cake pan

 I hope that you have found this article useful. Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you will be notified of new and updated posts. Feel free to comment and share. 

Thank you for your support.

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