Monday, September 20, 2010

Larimar Necklace #3

Thought I'd never get back to it, did ya? Well, I'm finally revisiting the larimar pendant I started way back when...
This post is part of a series answering just how I do what I do. I'm constructing this piece in conjunction with my blog posts. Last time I left off with bezel construction, and by now I have finished the hand filing.

Soldering the Bezel to the Sheet

I can now move on to joining the bezel to silver sheet. I ALWAYS check to make sure the bezel fits the stone's shape right before I solder the bezel to the sheet. The silver sheet is cut to give a little play room in case the bezel moves a centimeter or two while I'm working.

Any time you are working on a project that has multiple soldering steps, it is important to use various types of solder that melt at differing temperatures. I use three types of wire solder; hard, medium, and easy (also called 'soft'). Here is an overview of soldering if you want to learn more. In the below pic you can see little cut pieces of solder lining the bezel...

To join my bezel ends together, I used 'hard' solder. To join the bezel to the silver sheet I use 'medium' solder. The medium solder heats and flows (or liquefies) at a lower temperature than the hard solder. Using medium solder during the second solder step allows the initial solder joint on the bezel to remain in tact.

Another important component to soldering is flux, which is a liquid that allows the solder to flow and prevents firescale. In this instance I've used boric acid and denatured alcohol as well as an additional liquid flux.  While there are more than 3 types of solder available and some projects certainly have more than three steps of soldering, a little ingenuity and skill can bring you a long way.

Once the bezel is uniformly attached to the sheet, I trim excess silver using a jewelers coping saw...
...if needed. Otherwise I use metal files by hand and use sandpaper to make the final shape. In this instance, the silver sheet will be flush with the bezel. I clean up the metal to a decent extent at this point, but I'm not done soldering yet! So, I will come back to more sanding later.

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