July 9, 2013
I had such a clear plan when I went into the studio this morning. The pendant part of the necklace in the sketch above requires a bottom plate, a backing plate, two prongs and two jump rings. That’s five solder connections, all told. No – wait – seven, because the jump rings had to first be soldered to the pendant and then soldered closed to hold chain. I figured the backing plate would be the most difficult of all the joins, just because it’s a weird shape and I wasn’t sure how to set myself up. Turns out, it was the easiest one.
The prongs kept melting off. I’d get one in place, go to solder the other, and the first would wilt like cheap flowers in sunshine. So I’d pull both off and go again. And again. And again. Finally I figured out that my torch was too hot, so I switched tips and got both prongs where I wanted them.
You’d think I was going backwards with my solders, but nooooo I was using easy solder with the jump rings. And they kept falling off. Or melting. Or both. I got them both onto the plate, then I’d go to close the gap and find myself with a puddle of yuck. I once even melted the chain.
I think my mistake is trying to do two joins on the single jump ring with one type of solder, or even just doing two joins. When next I take a crack at this, I think I’ll be sliding the chain onto the ring and then soldering the gap onto the plate, thus killing two birds with one stone.
Why’d I stop today? Because I got so frustrated that I stopped paying attention to what I’d already heated, picked up the pendant by the very hot prongs and now have two lovely, 20-gauge burns on my thumb and first finger.
I am really, really frustrated with myself and my soldering abilities right now.