Week Twenty-Four…Soldering Jump Rings

Several weeks back I realized that I needed closed jump rings for some of the tutorial projects I wanted to complete.  At the time I didn’t know what a closed jump ring was.  I mean I had done a lot of chainmaille and that required a lot of opening and closing of jump rings, but I figured that isn’t what the tutorial was asking for. 🙂  After I did some research, I figured out that a “closed jump ring” is a jump ring that has been soldered closed which creates a stable ring to use in anchoring wires and different wraps without it coming apart. (At least it shouldn’t come apart of if it was soldered correctly, but that is a different issue. 🙂 )

Here is a picture showing what I mean…

Back of closed jump ring on the finished piece

When I discovered in Week Nine (https://thejourneyoflivinglife.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/week-nine-findings-and-metalsmithing-basics/) that I needed closed jump rings and didn’t have them I went ahead and made a clasp with regular jump rings to see if the the closed jump rings really would be necessary.  I can tell you with a clasp especially they really are necessary.  You might be able to sneak by with other projects depending upon what the jump ring is used for but a clasp will usually have a lot of weight tugging at it in general and it will make the jump ring want to open over time and in the case of my clasp that means the weaving could slide right off.

Here is a picture of the clasp I am talking about…

Bell Woven Toggle Clasp from Week Nine

All of that to say that I think when a tutorial calls for a closed jump ring it would be good to listen. 🙂

I looked into purchasing some closed jump rings and quickly realized they were more expensive than I wanted to pay.  They weren’t too expensive in general, but since I have the equipment to make my own jump rings and usually like to do things myself if I can I didn’t want to pay the amount asked for.  Jump rings are time consuming and require a lot of effort to make in general (see my Week Sixteen post), so the cost is well justified for nice handmade rings if you aren’t wanting to do things yourself.

I already had the jump rings, but I didn’t have anything to solder them with.  I had tried to solder some jump rings about three years ago with my husband’s soldering iron, but that did not go well at all and I was convinced I would never learn to solder.  When I did my research on making closed jump rings I found a great video from beaducation.com on using soldering paste to make closed jump rings.  I had no idea what it was, but I knew that the video showed a process that I was pretty sure I would do.  I have gathered the items I needed to complete the process and this week I finally sat down to try it.

When I first sat down to solder there was that momentary thought of “Can I do this or will this turn out like my first soldering attempts?”.  I quickly got over that and just dove into trying it.  (Yes this is extreme growth since the beginning of my challenge where my doubt would keep me locked up for a few days before I would start trying something, yaaa for progress!)

Here is my soldering set up…

Soldering Tools

Once I got started and applied the solder paste to the jump ring things went pretty well.  The only issue I really had was trying to figure out where my flame was going and making sure it was heating the ring and not my fire brick.  It was pretty much a trial and error thing, but they all turned out.

Here is a picture of the soldered jump rings…

Closed jump rings before cleaning

Normally when people solder they use a pickling solution to clean off the fire scale, but I used a product called Penny Brite.  It was really simple to use and it turned out really well.

Here is a picture of my cleaned jump rings…

Closed jump rings after cleaning with Penny Brite

Once my jump rings were cleaned I realize two things.  The first was that I had misplaced my solder on one of the jump rings and it didn’t seal. (The top left ring in the picture above didn’t close.) So I need to remember to make sure that I place the solder over the place I want to close and I use enough solder to close it.  The second thing is I realized that the silver color of my solder was there to stay.  I had purchased silver solder paste because that is what the video was using and I didn’t know there were different types of solder paste.  There actually is copper solder paste that will match the color of the copper wire I use more closely than the silver, but I found out through a wire jewelry group I am apart of that the color isn’t exactly the same.  Someone in that group mentioned that if you add something stainless steel to your pickling solution you can copper plate the solder to match the color better, so if you use pickle you might try that.  I haven’t used the pickle solution before, but I thought I would share that tip for those who have.

Soldering the jump rings was my main project for this week because I was unsure of how it would go, but since it went well I had time to make something with my closed jump rings.

The project I chose to make is the Be Mine Heart Pendant using the tutorial by Nicole Hanna.  I think hearts are my favorite shape in wire working and I was excited to make one.

This tutorial uses a weave called 6/1.  The weave is beautiful, but very time consuming for me.  I found my base wires kept getting tangled even thought I was bending the ends out to know which was which.  I did get a little faster as I went, but it still took me a couple of hours to do the rounds required for the pedant.

Here is a picture of the 6/1 weave I am talking about…

6/1 Weave

Apart from the weave being a little slow this piece came together really nicely.

Here are some pictures of the completed pendant…

Completed Be Mine Heart Pendant
Completed Be Mine Heart Pendant
Right Side View of Be Mine Heart Pendant
Left Side View of Be Mine Heart Pendant

When I finished the pendant, I wasn’t quite sure I liked it and I wasn’t sure why.  After thinking about it, I realized that I like the back part of my jewelry to be more hidden and there aren’t many places to hide things on this piece.  I realized that is something else that is probably a part of my own personal style.  It is always exciting to see my own tastes and preferences emerge, especially since I have spent the last six months submerged in other people’s designs.  I am looking forward to the day when I sit down with the wire and see what comes out…and hopefully it will be much more than wadded wire. 🙂  That day will be coming sooner than I think and I will have the confidence I need to conquer any fear of trying something new and unknown…especially since there isn’t a guarantee that I will succeed.  Learning to fail well is something that I have embraced more during this challenge as well and I am so thankful that the Lord has helped me to grow in that area as well.

Two more weeks to go before this challenge wraps up!  I am trying to figure out which tutorials I will finish up with.  We shall see…

I hope you have a blessed week that is full of love, laughter, and creativity!






2 thoughts on “Week Twenty-Four…Soldering Jump Rings

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