Learn how to solder earring posts on blanks or other ornaments in this 6-step how-to guide to get you started. We cover every aspect of the process plus it’s loaded with tips!
Step 1: Prepping the Pieces
After sanding do not touch that area. At this point you can transfer small pieces between stations using tweezers.
Step 2: Soldering Set-up
The post is a small, thin piece of metal so it’s important that you keep heat away from it as much as possible. If you don’t, the top of your post can quickly melt. Since stainless steel absorbs heat, the 3rd hand is protecting the top of the post by acting as a heat sink.
If I were to place the jaws lower down on the post, it wouldn’t allow the post to get hot enough to help the solder flow. Too high and you will be exposing the fragile post.
Step 3: Applying the Flux
Flux your piece! Use it generously because it protects your piece from firescale, which means less clean up at the end. After you have fluxed, add a tiny piece of medium solder adjacent to where the post and blank meet.
Step 4: The Flame
Always use the smallest possible torch tip when soldering posts. You will want to concentrate your flame on the blank and not on the post right away. In any piece that you solder, you should always heat the largest area first. After it’s hot and just before the solder flows, you can move your flame to heat the smallest piece as well.
Notice where the solder piece is positioned relative to the flame. Solder flows toward the heat source. So, by having the solder on one side of the post and the flame on the opposite side, the solder will flow towards the flame and right into the join.
Step 5: Pickling
Before dropping it into your pickle pot, let it cool down for several minutes. The bubbles created when dropping it straight into the pickle can actually pop the pieces apart.
Step 6: Finishing
There are lots of ways to finish your piece. None of them are wrong, but some methods are faster than others. You can use sandpaper running through the 320-3000 grits or you can use a rotary tool. Take care when finishing small pieces like this so they do not go flying across your studio. Safety glasses are a must! You can use a Flex Shaft with a sandpaper attachment to remove the extra solder. Then, I polish with 3M radial disks starting with yellow and working my way down to light green. I recommend tumbling it for 10 minutes. Easy, right? Now you can add soldering earring posts to your list of jewellery skills.
The post shown has the sterling silver (.925) stamp on it. Make sure you don’t remove this while finishing your piece. Use flat nose pliers to protect it when you are finishing the piece.