I like the look of hammered metal, but I wanted something different then what I saw being sold by many artisans. I experimented with my solder iron once before in a stained glass workshop taken many years ago, taking that information from the class to another level by soldering glass nuggets I found in a dollar store, making pendants for necklaces. This time I used the same tools on copper and brass metal, which I now want to share with you.
I create in my home studio; it is one large room with windows on every wall. It is my private place I feel most comfortable in when taking on new designs. I can stay there for hours; it has a full kitchen in one corner plus a bathroom in the other.
Basic Tools and Supplies
I started with a soldering iron, lead free solder and flux — all highly recommended. I purchased thin copper sheets from the hobby store, and I used tweezers to pick up soldered hot metal and a glass bowl of water to put finished soldered pieces in to cool down. Finally, I used stamps for stamping into hot solder for a design.
I used a table that’s safe protected from the heat and a fire brick to solder metal on. A silicon mat can be purchased from a home and cooking department store to cover your working space. Before starting, I cut my metal in a rectangle shape with a craft scissor, and I found an old paint brush in my drawer to apply the flux with.
Soldering the Metal
Holding the lead-free solder close to the tip of my iron, I saw the solder melt quickly. The iron was close to the metal, but not touching. I moved quickly and stamped into the solder before it cooled. Remembering to use my tweezers, I quenched the soldered metal into the bowl of water.
For this type of work, I was in a well-ventilated area with an overhead exhaust over my station, but a small fan in front of an open window directed out would work for small jobs. Wearing a mask and goggles for protection safety was my concern; I was working with hot tools and supplies that caused fumes from a chemical reaction from the flux. Important: It is not a recommended activity for young children or those with health issues.