Kalmbach Soldering Beyond the Basics: Techniques to Build Confidence and Control
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
I recently learned something interesting about skills. Most of us advance in a skill to a certain point and stop. For example, it’s hard to advance past your best typing speed. Once this plateau is reached, after struggling to learn the basics, getting better and better with practice, we’re able to type without having to focus on it, and our mind is free to wander as we work. But without returning to the struggle, to having to think hard about your practice and how to advance, we stay content at that level. We can define geniuses, artists, and prodigies as people with the fortitude and discipline to push themselves back to the beginning in order to move beyond their limits. Fortunately, soldering is a craft that doesn’t encourage resting on your laurels. Every project presents a new challenge, something different to tackle, so that you really do get better with time and practice.
My first book, Soldering Made Simple: Easy Techniques for Kitchen Table Jewelers, was written for my students and for anyone who wanted to learn how to solder, whether they had some background in jewelry or not. It thoroughly explains the basics of soldering and lays out a course of guided projects from simple earrings to bezel-set rings. The first book, still in print with thousands of readers worldwide, provides a great introduction to soldering with home-friendly tools.
This book is for those of you who have reached that skill level plateau and want to move beyond the basics, to ascend to more-interesting projects, including more stone setting, soldering near stones, and working with gold and mixed metals. Some explanations of basic techniques and tools overlap with Soldering Made Simple. And I’ve included a few basic projects to help any beginners with the impatient courage to dive right in to more intermediate designs. But I’ve filled these pages with lots of juicy tips to help you make more-advanced jewelry, which involves beyondthe- basics soldering techniques, such as using two butane torches or small oxy/propane torches, firescale-retardant fluxes, and anti-flux.
“Every project presents
a new challenge, something
different to tackle, so that
you really do get better
with time and practice.”
Part 1 reviews materials, tools, setting up a studio, and soldering and stone-setting techniques, including the intermediate skills required for the projects. Part 2 is made up of 16 projects to practice soldering bezels, prongs, and tube and flush settings; hollow forms and sculpted pendants; protecting stones with heat shields; precision-soldering a gold ring; and working with sensitive gold-filled metal. In Part 3, a basics review in the back of the book, you can revisit sawing, filing, and other fundamental metalwork techniques.
Just as in my first book and DVD, I’m committed to using tools and equipment that are safe for a small shop or home studio. All it takes is a corner of a room to set up a simple jewelry bench. But that corner can overflow with hours of satisfied creation as you master the art of soldering.
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|April 3, 2017|
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