December 16, 2010

Paste Solder vs. Wire Solder. What should I use?

We carry two types of solder for soldering non-ferrous (sterling, gold-fill, copper, nickle and brass) metals.

Both work well, but sometimes one is better for the job than the other. Learn more about paste and wire solder in this product video.

In addition to the video, here are a few more tips:
Wire Solder

This solder comes in Easy, Medium and Hard. When soldering a piece with multiple steps, begin with hard solder as it has the highest melting temperature. Then move to medium and easy for the next steps. For example, take a look at this ring:

First, the band and the bezel are each soldered using HARD solder. HARD has the highest melting temperature so the pieces won't come apart in the solder steps to follow.

Next, the bezel is soldered to the base (the teardrop-shaped blank above) with MEDIUM solder. The medium solder will flow before the hard solder so the side seam on the bezel won't pop open.

Finally, the completed bezel is soldered to the ring band with EASY solder. EASY flows the quickest and allows the ring parts to be soldered together without popping the earlier joins.

This project is the perfect choice for wire solder. Wire solder stays where you place it allowing more control over where it flows when heated. Paste solder is more difficult to control and has a tendency to flow all over the place, resulting in a messy solder join. This ring has a lot of visible joins, so the soldering needs to be as neat as possible. Wire solder is used with an additional flux so that it will flow properly when heated.

 Paste Solder
Paste Solder comes in Soft, Medium and Hard and is used in steps like the wire solder. Paste already contains flux, so there is no need to apply extra flux when using it.
Paste is perfect for a project like this:

The heart pendant is soldered on to the base with SOFT solder. The solder is placed toward the middle of the blanks and flows outward when heated. The jump ring on top is also soldered with SOFT solder. Since the pendant and jump ring do not touch, the pendant will not overheat and come apart.

To learn more about soldering consider taking one of our online video classes: Introduction to SolderingSoldered Rings and Bezels or Simple Soldered Pendants. These classes will put you on the road to successful soldering.

1 comment:

caronbc said...

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Thank you for all of the wonderful advice and wonderful products.