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Solder Savvy: A Deep Dive Into the Art + Science of Soldering - Part 1

Soldering is a fundamental metalsmithing skill, but arguably one of the hardest to master. Nothing is more frustrating than having a joint fail or worse – melting a piece you have spent hours on. Don’t let your designs be limited by intimidation! Through this intensive course, students will learn what is needed to achieve consistently strong, seamless joints and gain confidence to tackle their toughest projects!

This 4-week course is split into two modules, at two sessions (weeks) per module. Each module will focus on a specific aspect of soldering, from choosing the right equipment and supplies to cleaning up once the solder job is done (see below for a list of topics covered in each session). Be sure to register for both modules for an all-inclusive soldering overview. Safe practices and safety equipment will be addressed throughout.

Each module comprises a combination of lecture, demo, and Q&A, with opportunities for those already using torches to share their trials and triumphs. Color handouts will be provided, but notetaking is highly encouraged throughout this information-packed course.

Whether you are thinking about buying your first torch or want to take your soldering to the next level, this comprehensive curriculum has something to offer makers at all levels.


Part 1 (module one) Topics:

Session 1 - Choosing the Right Torch + Safe Operation

  • What is soldering, and how is it different from brazing, welding, or fusing?

  • Safety Overview (ventilation, PPE, fire, explosion, leaks)

    • Choosing the right ventilation for your space

  • Torch Types & Tips

  • Fuel Gases & Compressed Air/Oxygen

    • Transporting & Storing Bottled Gases

  • Strikers

  • Regulators & Hoses

  • Torch Holders

    • Demos:          

      • Torch Setup

      • Leak Testing

      • Turning the System On & Shutting it Down

      • Flame types and applications


Session 2 - Soldering Station Supplies + Setup

  • 3 Things Solder Needs to Make a Good Joint

  • Oxidation & Firescale (and how to avoid them)

  • Pickles (traditional formulae and citric)

  • Fluxes, Pre-Fluxes & Anti-Fluxes (which is best for which metal or application)

  • Furniture, Fixtures, Props and Jigs

  • Tweezers and Picks

  • Clamps and Bindings

    • Demos:    

      • Soldering Station Setup

      • Side-by-Side Torch Comparisons

      • Side-by-side Flux & Pickle Performance

      • Customized Setups for Specific Tasks


Click HERE to read up on Solder Savvy: Part 2. 

Meet the instructor

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Kristin Mitsu Shiga is a metalsmith and educator who has been tinkering together her life in the arts since 1991. In addition to showing internationally, her work is featured in numerous publications, including Art Jewelry Today, The Art of Enameling and several of Lark Books' "500" series.  From a long line of teachers, Kristin has built a thriving metals programs in New York, Oregon, and in her current home on the Big Island of Hawai’i. You can learn more about Kristin’s work as a maker from her segment on Oregon Artbeat or on her studio’s retail website at okinajewelry.com.


Materials & Tools

This course will be demonstration focused and does not require student to get supplies prior to class. The instructor will provide an extensive document highlighting all the tools and supplies that will be covered in class, which will sent to students during the class. 


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