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Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chain Making

Lesson 16 of 22

Soldering Demo: Soldering Complex Chains


Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chain Making

Lesson 16 of 22

Soldering Demo: Soldering Complex Chains


Lesson Info

Soldering Demo: Soldering Complex Chains

So, this is where, again, if I can avoid holding it in my third hand I always will, because it starts to get a little bit awkward. But what I'll do is we'll just dump this guy in a little bit of our flux. And so in this case, we're going to put our seam at the top. And I find sometimes that it's even easier to stick the piece a little further back, so I'm holding both sides rather than just holding one side of it. So now my solder seam is right here on the top. And then I'm going to go ahead, and just put this on here. Now, obviously this is a pretty precarious solder setup. So if I was doing a lot of chain where I had to solder in the third hand, what I would also do is just dump a couple extra pieces of solder here, right onto my solderite board. So that I have them handy, and then I would make sure that I had my solder pick and my flux close. So I'm gonna try to keep this guy from falling, but if he does fall while I've got my torch on I can take my solder pick in my left hand, dip ...

it in my flux, pick up a piece of solder, and bring it back. So I like to setup in my best case scenario, but in this one I like to have a backup plan. So then, move of our tools out of the way. And there we are. And again when you're using your cross-locking tweezers, remember that this is wood, so I like to solder in a way that doesn't aim my fire at this wooden handle. In one hand it's logical right? Keeps it from being hot metal that you touch, but on the other hand it still gets hot and now you have the potential to burn it. So I feel like that's a design flaw. But they've been making them like that for a really long time. So we do have to now keep in mind that our cross-locking tweezers are a little bit of a heat sink. So I'm gonna just kind of heat from below for a little bit, drying my flux. Kind of keeping an eye on where my solder baby is. And again, keeping my solder picks. So if it seems like it's gonna fall, I can just kind of push it back into place. But then I'm going to, once I've kind of got my flux dry, same kind of thing, around and around. Same process, just in the air. And then, now that my flux is starting to go clear, come in there and solder. So it definitely requires a little bit more of that, keeping an eye on where the solder is, because obviously we're fighting gravity on this one. But it's definitely doable. And the other thing is to... I also am a really big fan of these kind of self-standing, cross-locking tweezers. so this has to go in a third hand. This can actually sit on your table. And so if you're doing a lot of chain that requires you to solder in a third hand, if you've got a lot of that setup, these are not very expensive. Probably like ten, fifteen bucks. You could buy three or four or five of them and set them up in a row. Kind of on your soldery board or on your work surface. And so again, that way you could set up a couple, and move from there. And that's for those of you guys who are thinking about making jewelry to sell, incorporating chain-making into your production line, any time you can get multiple setups happening at one time, so that it's all set up and then you just solder, solder, solder, solder, solder, solder. That's going to save you a lot of time. So like, spending thirty, forty bucks buying four or five of these. That's gonna save you a lot of time in the long run, if you're doing, say, a lot of this twisted chain or something like that. And even though this is wood and it's probably not hot, I still personally like to open it with my tweezers, just in case. And we'll just quench that guy. Any other questions about that kind of complex soldering setup? Were you going to say something to them? Oh, go ahead I was gonna say, and a lot of what I do in kind of these more complex things is not like someone taught me, it's just a matter of trial and error. I'm gonna do it this time and then that seemed kind of slow, is there a way to do it faster? Like I said, I learned how to solder where everything from... I learned how to make chain where everything after that first initial grouping was done in the third hand. And I was like, this is too slow. How can I do it faster? So, don't be afraid to kind of try things out. As long as you're following those basic rules of soldering and again, those are in our pre rec video, which again is free for everybody to watch. As long as it's clean, the fit's right, you've got our flux on there, you can place your solder where you need to, and you can get at it with your torch to heat it up. Just try it and see. There's really a lot of flexibility in this process, in kind of terms of what makes sense for you.

Class Description

Go beyond the basics of handmade chain making and discover your own creative voice.

There’s no need to buy boring, store-bought chain. In Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chainmaking, you’ll learn the basics of creating your own handmade chain (including how to get comfortable soldering with a torch) and how to take the basics of chain making and add endless variations to create designs that are uniquely yours.

Designer and metalsmith Megan Auman has built her own jewelry line by discovering her signature style in chain making, and now she wants to help you do the same!

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Make and solder jump rings into a basic link-in link-chain.
  • Create variation in your chain making through wire gauge, link size, shape, and more.
  • Hone in on your aesthetic to find a style that’s uniquely you.
  • Finish your chains so they’re sturdy and stunning.
  • Turn your chain making explorations into amazing earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing, or you’re looking to inject some creativity into your jewelry designs, you’ll leave this class with the skills and ideas necessary to create your own unique chain. Plus, you’ll explore your ideas by creating a series of chain-link statement earrings - perfect to wear, share, or sell!



Megan' an excellent instructor and lays things out very clearly, with a lot of good tips based on her extensive experience. I've experience making wire wrapped chain and have taken a beginning metalsmithing class before, and this class had some good refresher information. I particularly appreciated seeing her techniques and process for streamlining production.

a Creativelive Student

Megan is an awesome teacher! She is genuinely enthusiastic about sharing her metalsmithing skills with us. I am really looking forward to trying my hand at designing and making a chained necklace on my own soon.

Vernell Bevelander

Another excellent class! Thank you Megan!