Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Soldering Made Easy

I adore paste solder. Since I learned how to use it a couple of years ago, I use it almost exclusively.

If you've never heard of or encountered paste solder, it is solder that is pre-mixed with flux and sold in syringes: it comes in hard, medium and easy, just like wire or sheet solder. You can also buy copper solder in paste format in a syringe. I prefer using silver solder on both copper and brass. Here's what the tubes look like. They range, depending on size, shipping and retailer etc., from about $10 - $20.

I was introduced to paste solder by the amazing and talented Kate Ferrant Richbourg. I was excited by how quickly and efficiently my soldered joins happened. And I found I had an amazing success rate with paste solder. If you dont have Kate's book Simple Soldering yet, you should do yourself a favour and get it right away. The book takes you carefully and thoroughly through a variety of soldering projects designed to build your soldering skills and confidence. 

Kate has a great short video on paste solder that is archived on the jtv.com web site. Here's a link to the video.

Heres why I love paste solder:
1. You don't have to flux your piece first. The flux is in the paste and concentrated where you need it.
2. I find it saves time and money.
3. You have much better control over where you place your solder, giving you more precise application. As you can see from the photo and Kate's video, you just extrude a small amount.
4. I find it almost acts like glue when I'm adding large pieces to solder on ring shanks, holding them in place while I heat the metal.
5. It's very easy to carry around and lasts a long time. The syringe tip helps you extrude just the right amount and if you keep it capped properly it won't dry out and there's very little waste. You don't have to take the time to pre-cut pieces of wire or sheet solder and play around with tweezers while you try to position them near your join.

If you are interested in testing out paste solder, you might consider taking my Soldered Ring Riot class this Saturday. It truly gives you quick, easy and satisfying soldering results.

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