I just want to solder silver jumprings
September 8, 2016 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I've searched, and the information is overwhelming. I just want to know: can I solder silver jumprings closed with a soldering iron? If so, what kind of solder do I need? And if not, what is the cheapest possible way to do this? The jewelry store will charge me like $10 per, and this is unacceptable for my purposes. This is for small silver charms. Doesn't have to look perfect, but I also don't want to poison myself.

If you need more detail: I want to put some of my silver charms on a larger jumpring so I can wear them on my Pandora/Trollbeads bracelets.
posted by fiercecupcake to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Silver solder (used for potable water plumbing, won't poison you) is cheap and easily available at the hardware store. Give it a shot!
posted by so fucking future at 6:52 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've not done this myself but here is a youtube video:
Hope this helps.
posted by lungtaworld at 7:01 AM on September 8, 2016

You might have better luck with a small butane torch (creme brule) than an electric soldering iron.
posted by fixedgear at 7:05 AM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I believe you're fairly safe for occasional skin contact with modern lead-free solder (ie: I wouldn't use it for earrings, but for a necklace it's probably okay).

As so fucking future mentions, silver solder is the right way to do this, but it melts at a lot higher temperature than regular solder, so you either need a soldering iron that goes that hot, or a small torch.

Something like a mid-range Weller iron with temperature control should be able to get hot enough to melt silver solder, but it's not going to be a $10 fixed temperature iron, more on the order of $150-200. And you want to dedicate a particular tip to the silver solder.

It looks like jewelry torch technology has changed a bit since I last bought a small fuel+oxygen torch: The problem with a creme brulee torch is that it may be too wide area for brazing a jump ring, but if you search for "jewelry torch" you'll find a bunch of them. I have one that used little CO2 sized cylinders that'll melt the surface of silver without going very deep, with a pencil lead sized flame, that'd be good for soldering these things, but it looks like that technology has come a long way in the two decades since I bought mine.
posted by straw at 7:22 AM on September 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

You can buy 'pre-soldered' jump rings, which are supposed to be a bit easier to work with (I took a class on silversmithing, but that was 20 years ago and we used torches...), and you can also buy self-closing jump rings, which are probably not what you want as they are $12 a go, but I thought I'd mention the option anyway. (Much cheaper here though in the UK, but a hint that Googling might turn up a better deal than the first link...)
posted by kmennie at 8:05 AM on September 8, 2016

The butane torch recommendation is a good one, but I find that the "pencil" style micro torches are easier to use for soldering small items.
posted by doctord at 9:18 AM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I used this soldering paste to close sterling silver jump rings on my charm bracelet because the price of professional soldering was prohibitive to me, too (for a bracelet with 40 charms...). It works with the heat from a Bic lighter. Not jeweler perfect, but totally functional (haven't lost a charm!).
posted by amelioration at 10:58 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

A cheap electric soldering iron should melt (430*F) this solder paste. You could probably even use a lighter.

Real-deal silver-solder for jewelry melts at more like 1400*F, which needs fancier tools.
posted by gregr at 11:38 AM on September 8, 2016

Have you tried with just standard jump rings without solder? Because most of the time on jewelry - jump rings aren't soldered. You just need two pairs of pliers. You twist them open and twist them shut. Here's a video. I'm confused as to why they need to be soldered closed?

Otherwise, is there a local beading place/beading group? They may have good info or even someone who can just do it for you for a small fee. Like a local jewelry maker that's not a store.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:49 PM on September 8, 2016

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