Many jewelry makers avoid using heat and rely on cold connection techniques to join together different components.  But the ability to use a hot connection method like soldering would greatly increase design possibilities.  Soft soldering, which uses just a soldering iron, does not involve an expensive outlay of equipment and is a wonderful way to get started. Hard soldering for joining precious metals involves gas tanks and torches because of the higher temperatures required.

I recently received a new book  Soldered Alchemy: 24 Jewelry Projects Using New Soft-Solder Techniques which showcases just how creative soft soldering with a soldering iron can be (no torch work).  The book is by Laura Beth Love who has years of experience starting with her broken china jewelry collection.  It is also available from Interweave.

She covers all the essentials in the beginning of the book including the soldering equipment and supplies you need. What she didn't do though was to suggest specific models of soldering irons - she says just to get high quality ones which is not particularly useful for newbies who might not know the difference between a good soldering iron and one that is not.

The important safety tips are also in this section as well as the different patinas she uses.   She recommends using a rheostat to help adjust the temperature of the soldering iron especially for decorative work. Many of the 24 projects have drops of solder as decorative balls as shown in this beginner project below.

The soft soldering technique is most often associated with that used for stained glass work.  Thus this author covers how to use copper foil to surround a focal and to "tin" (cover with solder) it.  

But what makes her book outstanding is how she marries soft soldering with wire work.  As you can see from the instruction page for the china shard pendant shown above, she bridges the gaps between the extra wire work with solder.  The result resembles a metal work piece without the hassle! Absolutely clever!

As the lead free solder used is silver in color, it can be a stark contrast with copper work.  So the author also demonstrates how she uses copper patina to cover the silvery portion to match the rest of the piece as shown in the Copper Waves bracelet below.  She also uses black patina.

The following are some of my favorite projects from the book. The author does say that bridging the gaps between the wires with molten solder takes practice.  It also helps not to have too wide a gap. However, the Ankh pendant below is testament of how it can indeed be done with wider spaces.

A wonderful book to get started into soft soldering with tons of inspiration, one I recommend.   This book now joins my list of favorites (see rightmost sidebar).


If you'd like to win a copy of Soldered Alchemy, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

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This giveaway is international.
If the winner has a non-post box US address, the prize will be a physical book.  Otherwise it will be an eBook.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Thursday, July 9, 2015 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips