Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review - Soldering Beyond the Basics

By on Thursday, June 19, 2014 4 Comments

Hot connections.  The final frontier.  Right? It does seem like using torches is the last thing some jewelry artisans will attempt when they need to connect metal pieces together.  Wire wrapping, fibre lashing and riveting are great techniques but soldering makes those connections permanent when the metal components are fused together.

I recently received Joe Silvera's latest book on soldering, Soldering Beyond the Basics  for review. It covers ways on how to move on from the basics. This book is thus geared for intermediate to advanced level artisans.  His earlier book Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler is more suitable for beginners.

The Beyond the Basics book is divided into 3 sections. The first deals with materials, tools, studio setup, how to solder and toolkit lists.  The second section includes 16 projects which are rated from beginner (novice in soldering) to advanced solderer. The final bit reviews the basics such as annealing, sawing, filing, polishing with power tools, burnishing with a tumbler, adjusting ring size and adding patina.

The first section alone is worth the cost of the book because the author thoroughly explains what is needed to solder.  There are, for example, different types of torches available for use so he covers how to fill and ignite them. Especially useful are the pages on adjusting the flame to get oxidizing, neutral or reducing flames, each of which has a different purpose.

Also helpful are his tips on how to set up a studio so you can safely solder even at home by following commonsense safety rules.  For example, protect the wooden bench top or table with a ceramic floor tile under the solder board.

There is a lot of information to take in  - for example learning about firescale -retardant fluxes and anti-flux. So careful reading is required to understand what is needed for the projects.

The first several projects are at the beginner soldering level where he covers how to solder mixed metals, jump rings and even those with beads attached without cracking them with the heat!  The fused ball pearl earrings (not shown) was accomplished using heat shields to protect the pearls.

One excellent project is the Freeform Prongs pendant shown below. The instructions show how a back wire frame for holding the metal focal is created and soldered.

He also teaches the classic bezel method but the double sided bezel technique makes it possible to view the gemstone from both sides.

There are some beautiful stone setting projects. But there was one great project to recycle and fuse scrap sterling silver into rings and perhaps even bracelets!

Definitely a worthy reference book. His first book and this one make a good set for the budding metal smith.


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Thanks for the timely review! I'm moving more toward 'metalsmithing' with my jewelry and as you said, "hot connections" are the final frontier! I've requested the first book in this series from the library, but its good to know where to go for more advanced work.

  2. Pearl, these books look like a must have addition to any jewelry makers library. Thanks for an honest and truly splendid review.

  3. I havent even gotten to the basics of soldering yet and this sounds like the encyclopedia of metal smithing

  4. Thanks Pearl - I already have his first book and would definitely buy this one now.