Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hot Connections Jewelry--A Review

I received a review copy of Hot Connections Jewelry, The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques by Jennifer Chin. 

Chin writes that she "conceived of Hot Connections Jewelry as an easy-to-follow resource for people who have experience making jewelry  with beading, wirework, or cold-connection techniques and want to expand their skills to include soldering in their creative repertoires". I  think she has achieved her goal and created a great guide to soldering with much more than soldering in it.

The book is profusely illustrated with color photos as well as very detailed sketches.  

There are six sections. Each section contains an overview of the subject, lessons, and projects. There are also gallery photos in each section.  Each gallery photo includes a short description of how the item was made. I found these descriptions very useful. The jewelry throughout the book is modern in style with clean lines, and graphic shapes. 

Section One covers the nitty gritty details on how soldering works, choosing and using torches, metal, and workspace.  I really like the annealing color chart that was included in the section on using torches, as well as the review of safety procedures.  Lesson One is on annealing sheet metal. 

Section Two details basic fabrications techniques such as sawing, shaping, and riveting, among other techniques.  There are step-by-step lessons on each technique.  

This section also contains the basic soldering overview including solder and flux, soldering tools, soldering methods, and pickle. The solder and flux section has useful charts on solder melting points & uses, and silver solder melting and flow temperatures.  Soldering methods covered are chip (pallion) soldering, wire (stick) soldering, pick soldering, and sweat soldering (tinning).  

Chin discusses standard pickle but also gives a recipe for the less toxic version of pickle made from vinegar and salt.  I was glad to see the vinegar/salt recipe as I feel it is an excellent pickle, less toxic, and much underused.

The first soldering lesson on soldering a seam is in Section Two. The first three projects are also in this section: riveted collar ring, ribbon earrings, and fizzy pendant.  If you went no further in the book you could take what is learned in these three projects and create a multitude of projects of your own. 

Section Three covers forming metal: scoring & bending, forging and dapping. The three projects in this section are my favorite: domed petal earrings, forged chain necklace, and retro bracelet. 

Section Four explains textures, patinas and finishing. I was happy to see embossing with a rolling mill included. I recently purchased a rolling mill and will be using it just as soon as the new workbench is constructed. I know I'll be referring back to this section in the future. 

Section Five is on adding stones and beads.  Making a bezel and setting it, as well as flush settings are included. One of the projects is a cabochon brooch.  This project refers to instructions in lesson 20 later in the book on making a simple spring pin latch. 

Section Six is on advanced techniques such as making clasps, hinges,  marrying metals, solder inlay, and lamination inlay.  After reading this section I really want to started mixing metals using these techniques.  

This book is a great reference for someone new to soldering.  I really appreciated the inclusion of instruction in pin and hinge making, marrying of metals,  as well as use of the rolling mill as these subjects are not often covered. The writing is easy to follow and the book is arranged in a pleasing manner that is attractive and easy to read. The back of the book has the project templates, a ring sizing guide, circle divider, resource list, metric conversion chart and index.  


My Life Under the Bus said...

Another one to add to my list sounds like it has great basics!

Leslie Todd said...

It does, and I'm looking forward to expanding my skills with some of the lessons.