When I first started working in gold, one of the best lessons I received was from a fellow goldsmith named Richard Hoff. Richard was always busy restoring antiques and taking things apart to rebuild them.
One day, he took the time to show me a little trick to locate solder seams. Simply get a torch that has a gas and oxygen feed and turn up the oxygen until the flame is hissing. Now that you have an oxidizing flame, heat up the metal (without flux) and then quickly quench it in water. The solder seam and the metal around it will oxidize at a different rate so the solder becomes clearly visible!
This trick really comes in handy when you need to size a ring and want to cut it at the seam. It also comes in handy when you are recycling gold to use in another project and you want to cut the solder out so you have clean metal.
This is one of many tricks and tips we will explore in the Repair, Replace and Re-tip workshop coming up in March! Gaining an understanding for our tools and materials is very "Zen-like" and makes our life as METALSMITHS run smoothly with less risk and more PROFIT FROM PASSION!!