Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review Saturday...Soldering Made Simple

At work we are going through employee evaluation time. Part of the eval process is coming up with career development goals…something we want to learn, a skill we need to develop.  After 13 years on the job I’m finding it hard to come up with goals. When it comes to jewelry design there is a never-ending list of goals. This year I’ve decided that I want to learn how to bezel set stones. I’ve done it before but not to any extent where I’m proficient at it. I have a stash of Gary Wilson cabs to work with so I picked up Joe Silvera’s book and DVD on Soldering.

Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jewelerSoldering Made Simple: easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler. I’m not so sure I like being referred to as a “kitchen table jeweler”. I prefer artist or artisan…what’s the difference between those two terms?? That's a topic for another day.  But I guess when it comes to soldering that is exactly what I am as I have neither the set up nor the tools to do it.

This is a great book. It is very thorough. It covers the tools you need and how to work with them safely. Joe goes over torches – how to fill them and how to light them. There are some great pictures that show the difference between an oxidizing, neutral, and reducing flame and when to use them. He covers various soldering surfaces and what they can be used for. Joe covers the different solders and when to use them, flux, pickle, and how to deal with fire scale.

Joe also shows you how to set up your workstation with safety in mind. He includes diagrams that show the various heating patterns used to soldering different configurations of metal. These help increase your understanding of how heat flows and where to direct it to successfully solder.

Besides soldering, Joe covers annealing metal, hammer, filing, drilling, sawing, making jump rings, polishing and patinas. I really like the polishing sections because he shows you various attachments for the flex shaft and gives an explanation of how they can be used.

There are 12 projects ranging from simple earrings to charms, pendants, rings, bezel setting stones, making beads and creating a box clasp. I really like the ring projects but then I’m into the idea of making rings right now. One is a great textured ring with borders and the other is a bezel set turquoise featured on the cover.

Also included in the book is a section on how to choose bezel wire, sizing a ring and a great chart which tells you how long to cut your ring blank based on ring size and metal gauge. I could have used this last fall. I made a ring in a class held locally and cut it too small.  It’s now a pinky ring…a tight one.

Soldering Made SimpleJoe also has a DVD that is a great addition to the book. Reading and pictures only go so far. Watching the process adds another dimension to understanding the soldering process. The DVD follows the book as far as tool explanation, safety and work station set up. Joe walks you through the creating of a necklace and pendant starting with simple jump ring soldering, to melting silver to make a ball, sweat soldering, forging, and soldering near beads with step by step explanations.

I’m glad I got both of these. There are a great addition to my library.

BTW....I am taking a stone setting class with Joe in June at Bead and Button.  I'm excited!!!

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