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Solder is the small piece of alloyed metal that you melt in order to fuse two other pieces of metal. The place where the metals are fused is called a joint. Solders come in three types: hard, medium, and easy. Each type has a different melting point. Hard melts at high temperature, medium at a lower temperature, and easy at an even lower temperature. When creating or repairing a jewelry piece, multiple joints require different types of solder. In this article, we’ll cover the different varieties of jewelry metal solders.

Why do You Have to Use Different Types of Solder for Multiple Joints?

You don’t want to re-melt a joint you’ve just soldered while soldering another joint in the same jewelry piece. Using solders with different melting points will keep you from re-flowing previously completed joints. For example, you’ll use hard solder on the first joint, medium on the second joint, and easy on the third joint.

Your solder metal should have a lower melting point than the two metal pieces you’re fusing. Otherwise, you’ll melt your jewelry pieces, too.

Gold and Silver Solders

You can purchase hard, medium, and easy solders in gold and silver. Gold is available in different karats. Of course, gold costs significantly more than silver, especially in higher karats.

Gold and silver solders come in different flow temperatures. For silver, you have the following:

  • Itt, 1,490º F (810º C)
  • Hard, 1,425º F (774º C)
  • Medium, 1,390º F (754º C)
  • Easy, 1,325º F (718º C)
  • Easy-flo, 1,270º F (688º C)

Gold solders are usually a karat or two lower than the gold pieces being soldered. It also comes in hard, medium, and easy solder.

Personally, I don’t like using Itt because it gets too close to the melting point of silver. With an oxy/acetylene torch, it takes less than a second of inattention to melt your piece.

Easy-flo contains cadmium, which gives off poisonous fumes when heated. If you use easy-flo, make sure you keep your work area well ventilated. Personally, I recommend avoiding any solder that contains cadmium.

Solder Comes in Different Forms

You can purchase solders in sheet, paste, and wire forms.

Sheet solder is cut into pallions, tiny pieces of metal that fly all over the place while you’re cutting it.

Paste solder comes premixed with flux in a syringe-type applicator. I find that the flux-to-solder mixture varies, depending on how long the paste has sat on a shelf. For best results, empty the applicator, mix the paste thoroughly, and then put it back into the applicator or a small, lidded glass container.

I prefer wire solder. I can flatten it and cut it into tiny pieces or just cut a piece off the end of the coil. This is important, because you want to use just enough solder to make a good strong joint without flooding it. Nothing looks worse than a joint with blobs of solder on it. It takes a long time to clean it and get a seamless joint.

Sheets

You can purchase sheets of silver and gold solder in hard, medium, and easy. You can trim the sheets into smaller pieces to fit your needs. Many jewelers like cutting custom-sized, smaller pieces from sheets. Hard solder sheets cost slightly more than medium or easy. Thicker sheets will also cost more.

Amazon offers silver sheets in hard, medium, and easy. Rio Grande offers gold sheets in hard, medium, and easy in 8, 10, 14, 18, and 22 karat gold.

silver sheet solder

Silver sheet solder

Wire

Silver and gold wire solder is also available in hard, medium, and easy. Sold by length in feet, wire comes in different gauges (thicknesses). Thicker gauges cost more. Many jewelers prefer the heft of wire rather than the thinness of sheet solders.

Amazon offers silver wire in hard, medium, and easy. Rio Grande offers easy gold wire.

silver wire solder

Silver wire solder

Jewelry Soldering Kit Recommendations

Photo Name Top Reviews on Amazon
Jewelry Soldering Kit...image SFC Tools Kit-1700

"The tools are decent quality, I am pleased with the book as well. Very good info on techniques and some really nice projects. For beginners like myself, there is a learning curve to soldering...Don't give up! I am working on one of the ring projects in the book and am pleased with the instructions and design. Will try and send a pic when I finish it." read more

Tix Solder Kit...image Tix Solder Kit

"This is the greatest solder/flux combo I've ever used in my life. Having never soldered brass before I was dreading the task of assembling these 4 model train chassis frames because I was sure it would be a nightmare. This stuff is an absolute pleasure to work with an melts/flows with little to no effort leaving great strong solder joints. I coated the metal where it should join with flux, placed a very small fillet of the solder on the join, and then briefly heated the metal from the opposite side with a small butane torch. Flawless results. I'll never use another solder again for structural modelling purposes 1000000000/10. read more

Basic Soldering Starter...image Basic Soldering Starter Kit

"Exactly as described, and cheaper than other places I found this. Doesn't come with butane fuel; order that on your own. I forgot mine, so I had to wait a few extra days to get started.

Update: I've tried it out and it works great! The flux was a little dry, but I added some distilled water and it bounced right back. The solder paste is so easy! I'm a total novice but I am pretty proud of my first attempts!
read more

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