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Soldering is very basic and primary skill, which must be mastered for any metalsmith to progress into more complicated designs and craftsmanship. Like any of the techniques metalsmiths do, there are a number of different ways to accomplish the same goal. What I try to do for my students is to help them understand the "Why and How" solder works. All soldering problems basically boil down to this...one of the basic 5 Rules has not been followed. When students understand that it is not just magic, but soldering has a logical process, then it helps them with all their soldering needs and problems very seldom show up while constructing a piece.
There are many questions and urban myths out there regarding tanks, torches, fluxes, pickle, soldering surfaces and safety precautions. I will try to remove all misconceptions regarding these often controversial and hotly debated topics. (Yes, I may open a can of worms.) I have taught, in my 30 years of teaching jewelry, thousands to solder successfully. If my techniques and tips weren't successful, I would not have built up such large classes of successful students. Some older traditionalist may find my methods unconventional, but they get results and work.
By following 5 very basic rules, and memorizing only 6 words, basic soldering can be accomplished. We will also discuss some unusual and more complex soldering situations, such as setting posts or prongs into a back plate, which will then hold an unusually shaped stone or found object. We will discuss soldering onto copper and copper-bearing alloys, which many beginners choose to start with and the difficulties encountered when using copper solders and bezel wires.
What You'll Learn:
- The 5 Rules of successful soldering-the Why and How of Soldering so you will never have another soldering problem again.
- How to recognize your soldering mistakes and problems and fix them as you go along.
- How the soldering flame works differently on different metals and different gauge metals.
- How to keep solder from flowing onto unwanted areas and how to remove solder in unwanted areas.
- Understand fire scale and learn ways to remove it, including depletion gilding.
- How much solder to use for different techniques and ways to apply that solder.
Who Should Attend:
- Jewelry makers who follow soldering best practices but still have issues with solder not flowing, joins breaking, etc.
- Jewelry makers who have experience with soldering but still encounter certain types of joins that they cannot successfully solder
- Metalsmiths who create complex joins but need help with sequencing and figuring out how to solder them together
- Jewelry makers who need tips and advice for soldering multiple metals, different sizes and thicknesses of metal, etc.
Lexi Erickson is a Colorado award-winning jewelry artist and metalsmith who has been teaching fortunate students for over 30 years in classrooms around the world, at special events, and in her home studio. Our very own Queen of Soldering, Lexi has hosted several metalsmithing and soldering videos, had her jewelry creations featured in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and numerous times on the cover, and authored numerous articles about soldering for the magazine. As a Contributing Editor to LJJA, Lexi has also authored soldering articles for special issue soldering magazines. Her background in archeology is seen in the ancient themes in many of her jewelry creations.
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