Soldering Tips and Techniques
Warning: Soldering irons are much hotter than working with a glue gun. Keep kids and animals far away. Also keep your fingers away. Use needle nose pliers to hold objects. The wire heats up and your fingers will burn. If you accidentally touch the tip of the iron... you will get a really bad burn. Treat immediately.... but don't forget to unplug the iron so the cat doesn't get it.
Warning: Solder and the flux let off fumes.... especially if you ignore warning and are using a lead based solder. Ventilate while you are working. Open the windows, and if possible, put a small "nail salon" fan next to your work and blow towards the window.
Your work area
You want to work in a clean area so that stray fibers or cat hair do not get in the solder.
As with working with a glue gun, keep a small bowl with ice cubes and a bit of water near by. Always! Your fingers will appreciate it when you accidentally touch something VERY hot.
Cut a small square of sponge, about 2". Wet it down and put it on a plate. (OK, fold a Scott towel into a square and wet it down and put it on a lid.) Use this when you first start working with the iron and after you've left it alone for a while. You wipe whatever goop (whether you can see it or not) to start with a clean tip and even the temperature on the tip. You can also get the dead flux off your tip, etc. Then remember to re-prime you tip again.
Solder and Sculpey Clay
If the solder comes in contact with the baked sculpey, the sculpey will burn, and if the heat is there too long, it will not only burn, but deform too. Sculpey will burn really easily. I've burned it in the oven before.
I suggest doing your soldering FIRST, then apply the sculpey. The soldered parts SHOULD be okay in the oven because at the temp it takes to fire the sculpey, is too low for the solder to melt.
Do not use lead bearing solder because by heating it up in the oven you could release fumes that may not be so healthy. :)
This page was last updated 04/22/08