art dolls

Trials and Tribulations of Solder

Hello lovely ones and fairy folk.

Today I thought I would tell you a tale of my relearning to solder.

I have been through practically every craft it is possible to do in one’s own kitchen. And a few that are probably not really advisable in a kitchen; glass beads for instance. Holding the blowtorch wrapped in a towel (it got real hot) between your knees while forming glass beads could have turned out dangerous. As it happens both me and the house got out unscathed. I have some sweet little beads as testament to a short lived ‘hobby on a whim’, and all the equipment that is required, should that whim ever return.

About the same time, but with a smaller blow torch, just your regular kitchen, melt the sugar on a crème brulee, type of torch, I played with silver jewellery making and had lot of fun soldering rings and pendants etc. whilst building up another selection of tools and equipment. This is leading somewhere, I promise, as the smaller torch and other stuff from silversmithing were suddenly just what I wanted for a particular bright shiny object/project I just had to do.

While whiling a way a bit of time on Pinterest I came across a photo of a wired doll’s bed. Oooh I thought, Princess and the Pea. I really want to do that soon. Delving deeper, I saw lovely pictures as you do on Pinterest and another came past of a bench, in wire and it would be prefect for my two little lovers to sit on and swoon with each other.

A short time later after a quick dip into a few storage boxes I had wire, borax, and the white thing that is fire retardant and you can solder on that without damaging what’s underneath.

A number of issues to be sorted

This is where a few things started going wrong.

  1. I could not get the solder to work on the wire I had. Ok a little bit of googling and I had a batch of copper wire on order.
  2. Once the new wire arrived I, excited, got everything out again and made up a nice cream consistency paste from the borax. Lit the torch and splutter. It went out, out of gas. Apparently the supermarket stopped selling lighter fuel gas over 5 years ago, who knew. Well I found some in the local news agent the next day so onward again.
  3. Everything in place, good strong flame, good layer of borax, flux….. Nope no good. Just wouldn’t work!
  4. Cutting a layer off the borax cone, to get a some new borax. The cone was at least 20 years old, and googling had given me the impression it didn’t go off, but I was not convinced. Nope the newer clean area of borax was not giving good flux either.
  5. Back to Amazon and an order of liquid flux. More twiddling of fingers while waiting for the flux to arrive. Ok big day and I have copper wire and new flux and….. no nothing, these bits of wire just did not want to join.
  6. Ok sand the areas to be joined then lots of liquid flux and heat way hot before adding the solder, what wait….. YES we have a join. Hurray.

Success at last

After that it seemed to be plain sailing and I couldn’t really remember why I couldn’t get it to work to start with, I found my flow again as the solder flowed to join my wire. The result – I made a rather nice garden bench. And a perfect size for two sweet ones to sit on.

Quickly after that came a bed for Sleeping Beauty, ready for the Number 8 exhibition. Its perfect for a princess to snooze in. And now I feel satisfied for a while. The Princess and the Pea is again on a back burner, but I feel ready for when she is made. As long as I don’t leave it 20 years again, I think I will remember how to solder. She will have a rather fine bed to toss and turn in.

Until next time, keep warm and don’t disturb the pixies.

Ally x

Ps. Sorry if there are terms you don’t understand, just google if you want. But it’s probably not all that important to the story here, which is basically don’t give up on your dreams.

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