Soldering together tiny components is one of the aspects of making jewellery that I find the most fiddly and frustrating. There are so many things that can go wrong, from the teeny squares of solder pinging across the workbench as they heat up, through one of the pieces of metal shifting position slightly at a crucial moment, to the solder refusing to melt at all, for no apparent reason.
I mentioned a few days ago that I was lucky enough to receive some new tools for Christmas (thanks mum), among which were a more powerful blowtorch, a ‘honeycomb board’ and a ‘third hand on base’, all of which will help with my soldering woes.
The benefits of a bigger blowtorch are fairly obvious. The honeycomb board provides a good flat surface to work on, and reflects the heat much better than the board I had before. The third hand is the clamp in the picture above, which holds things firmly in place whilst you work on them.
Today I got the chance to try them out for the first time when I soldered the posts to some earrings.
I can report that they made a real difference, especially the ‘third hand’. I did have some grips previously, but not the all-important clamp device, so I had to try to balance them so that they held the earring post in just the right place – often with disastrous consequences.
I got the posts fixed quickly and painlessly, with no swearing at all, which has to be a good thing! It just shows what a difference it makes, having the right tools for the job. I have a little more work to do on the earrings before they make their first public appearance, but I’ll show you the finished product soon.