Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Solder Station

In my quest to teach myself metalsmithing, I purchased the Metal Essentials How to Solder Jewelry Vol. 1 & 2 DVDs with Lexi Erickson from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.  I thought these were great instructional videos - detailed enough to give one confidence to light the torch and begin soldering, but not overly complicated.  There is a so much to know about soldering, and I admit, I was intimidated.  Hard or medium solder?  Flux and pickle?  What the heck is sweat soldering?  These DVDs have got you covered.  It even includes basic torch safety and station set-up. 

In the DVD, Lexi uses a metal solder station with a turntable.  It's a very cool set up, that she sells on her website.  I had a station already set up in my "studio" that was sufficient for my beginning work.  The more I watched the videos, though, the more I coveted that awesome turntable and firebrick.  Finally, as a Christmas gift to myself, I purchased the station and turntable.  There was a small delay in shipping since they station was being manufactured, but Lexi was very kind and sent many emails to let me know the status of my order.  When it finally arrived, I was so excited to try it out.

All I can say is WOW!  This may be the best investment I have made in my studio.  It made soldering so much easier.  Seriously.  I am in love with the whole turntable idea.  I can turn the fire brick to get a different angle when soldering instead of turning the piece (and risk moving some carefully placed component) or having to move the torch in a weird or awkward way. 

The first piece I made at my new station was the bezel for this carnelian in this necklace:

Carnelian grossular garnet necklace sterling silver

orange carnelian cabochon sterling silver nechlace

I love the color of this carnelian cabochon!  It's so bright and cheery.  I accented it with lemon-lime colored grossular garnets and hung it on a sterling silver chain. 

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