Metalworking 101 – Get started today!

By on March 17, 2014
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by Judy Ellis,

Tip for March 17, 2014

Metalworking 101 – Get Started Today!

Before you can start to learn any new skill, you need to speak the language. Today is your first lesson in the language of Metalworking.

In addition to helping you learn a few new terms – I wanted to tell you about our DVD Series by Patti Bullard called Metalworking 101. In this series, Patti goes over all the tools and concepts that you need to know to make fantastic metal jewelry, as well as guiding you through several projects.

Who is Patti Bullard? 

Patti is a jewelry instructor, the inventor of Wubbers® pliers, and a lifelong artist has taught wire working and metal-smithing across the United States since 2004, and loves sharing her enthusiasm and techniques with others. Patti’s experience in many forms of jewelry creation has given her a unique insight into the best tools and creation methods, and she enjoys teaching others how to craft unique jewelry pieces. You’ll be amazed how easy Patti makes soldering!

If you already own her DVD set, this is a great review of what you may have learned already. If you’ve not ever heard of Patti, then this might be a great introduction to some of the topics you will be learning in her DVD Series.

This is a basic introduction to metalworking and the art of soldering, but it’s nothing in comparison to watching Patti demonstrate each of the techniques and teaching you her little tricks!

What is Solder?

A material that bonds 2 metal pieces together. Typically an alloy of silver and zinc, solder will join any non-ferrous metals together – that is, metals that don’t contain iron. There are specific solders that are gold-colored to match gold.

Here are some great types of solder along with a few other “greek” terms to learn:

  • Easy solder: Solder that comes in a sheet, that melts at a low temperature.
  • Hard solder: Solder that comes in a sheet, that melts at a higher temperature.
    If you are going to be soldering a piece multiple times, joining more and more onto it, start with hard solder, so that it doesn’t reheat and melt or pit.
  • Wire solder: Solder that comes in a wire. Gold-colored solder usually comes in this form, and it can be used just like sheet solder, cut into small pieces
  • Paste solder: Solder that comes in a paste, typically in a syringe. It can be used just like sheet solder and wire solder. This solder already has flux mixed into it, so you don’t have to flux first. (see below)
  • Pallion: A small square of sheet solder. You can use shears to cut your solder into pallions, or use solder-cutting pliers.
  • Flux: A compound used to clean metal before soldering.
    Patti uses Aqui-Flux, which is self-pickling (that means less cleanup!)
  • Pickle: A compound used to clean metal after soldering. This removes firescale. Patti uses Spar-ex in her pickle pot.
    Simply mix into warm water to make your pickle.
  • Firescale: The discoloration left after heating metal. This color change is typically due to copper. Pickling metal removes this extra copper, restoring the original metal finish.
  • Sweat soldering : Soldering a join by placing a pallion of solder between the pieces needing to be connected, then heating with a torch. This sandwich method is handy, and it’s the one most people think of when they think of soldering – much like gluing.
  • Pick soldering: Using an already-heated pallion of solder to solder a join. You ball the pallion with your torch, then lift it with a soldering pick onto the join.
  • Cold Connections: Cold connections are the opposite of soldering – no heat! Wirework is one example of cold connections: for instance, wrapped loops, and all-wire bundles. You can also punch holes in metal and use rivets or tacks to create a join without using heat.
  • Torch (& Butane): A handheld torch is the most important tool in soldering. Use triple-refined butane from the hardware store to fuel up a torch, like this one.
  • Solderite Board: Solderite is a brand of soldering board, an
    asbestos-free, flame-resistant surface you can place your soldering project on as you create your jewelry piece.
  • Charcoal block: A charcoal block is another material you can solder on, helping retain heat so you can solder faster, with better flow. Here’s a great charcoal block.
  • Heat sink: A heat sink isn’t a tool – in fact, you want to avoid heat sinks, if you can! A heat sink will pull the heat away from your project, meaning it takes longer to solder. An example would be extra pieces of metal on your soldering board, like extra tweezers or other projects.

Wow! How do I get started?

If all of this sounds exciting and you’d like to learn more – take a moment to watch a quick introduction by Patti about her DVDS! I know you will want to get started today!


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Pick up your set of Metalworking 101 Beginner DVDS today!

Metalworking 101 DVD Beginner Set

Metalworking 101 DVD Beginner Set

Happy Metalworking!

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