Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Soldering PMC or Art Clay Silver Cuff links

Personally I use the complete cufflink mechanisms from Cooksons (NVU-101 you can find them here)

This is what I do for my fine silver (PMC/ACS) fronts onto the Cooksons cuff link mechanisms.
1) File off the little bump so you have nice flat contact
2) Burnish the area on the PMC that you'll be attaching the cuff link too
3) (If using paste) Blob paste onto the cuff link finding
3b) (If using Pallions) Clean and flux both pieces and the solder pallions
4) Hold cuff link finding onto cuff link with cross-locking tweezers (at an angle where you won't burn yourself while heating the piece)
4b) (If using Pallions) put solder pallions at join point
5) Aim the heat at the block around the fine silver cuff link gradually bringing the heat more onto the cuff link. Don't aim the heat onto the solder itself until the the fine silver is hot. The solder tends to melt when the fine silver is around the Salmon red colour.
6) Remove heat when the solder flows BUT continue to hold the cuff link finding in place as the solder will still be fluid until the metal cools a bit.
7) Pickle & polish as normal

Here's what they look like finished - hope that helps :)

Nic x


  1. Those are amazing! I wish I was as far along with my PMC as you- you are so inspiring! I doubt I'll ever have a kiln but I do enjoy the torch work. Have a great week! Sending smiles your way!

  2. I am an amateur silver smith and I have been trying to solder a silver bale to a pendant I made out of bronze PMC. When the piece first came out of the kiln it had some serious cracks which I then managed to fill with silver (it looks wicked), but I have not been able to attach the bale. It just breaks off. Any suggestions? Otherwise, I'm just making a bezel for it and that's that.

  3. I have soldered silver to bronze (and vice versa) I used easy solder and made sure it was a quick solder.
    lond sustained heat may result in your silver & bronze melting into each other...
    Hope that helps
    Nicola x

  4. Hey Nicola,

    I hope you are well : )

    I have just been trying to use the Devcon Epoxy Adhesive for my cufflinks that I have made......but am finding that if I don't use enough I can take them off easily....but use too much and it is too much on the piece!

    So if you have any tips on that!! but after reading this and watching your videos soldering doesn't seem as scary!! Cooksons seem to have a good little kit : )

    I was just wondering.....In the videos are you using Silver Solder Paste? If so they have it in a syringe but it comes in different strengths Hard, Medium and Easy.....Is there a particular one I should use for cufflinks as I am a little nervous about soldering but then the epoxy isn't going too well!!!!

    Thanks Again for your help
    Di xx

  5. I am very keen to solder some cufflinks can I ask if the paste you are referring to is the art oil paste? As the instructions in the leaflet say it should be fired in a kiln.

  6. I'm using easy solder paste in the vids (lower melting point so less risk of damaging the cufflink fitting by overheating)
    Nic x

  7. Fab thanks Nic, have a good christmas xx

  8. You're welcome & you too xxx

  9. Thanks so much for your video and instructions you make it look so easy. How do I clean of the excess solder once I have soldered the cufflink findings?

  10. Hi
    Could you advise how I can clean up the extra solder marks after I have solded the cufflinks, or is it a case of not using too much solder?

  11. It's really a case of using a little less solder. If you burnish the area on the cufflink where the solder will sit, it makes the silver clay less "sucky" with the solder as it melts (technical huh? Lol)
    As far as cleaning up excess, if you have any of the rubeflex burrs from Cooksons etc the blue coarse one will grind away the silver quite quickly. (Then the brown, then the green to polish away the marks.
    Nic x

  12. Hello there! very interested to hear your view on what type of solder to use when soldering sterling silver backs onto the pure silver cufflink fronts.

    Also any hints and tips for attaching cufflink chain would be great to hear! i have a friend who has 4 children and I have promised her some double cufflinks and finding it a challenge! :)

    Many Thanks

  13. Easy paste or pallions will do the job nicely :)
    Have a look in the video section (it shows me doing the job you're after)
    Nic x

  14. Hi there, I wonder whether you can advise me.....I'm making a pair of double cufflinks using a "sausage" of clay folded over on the back of the cufflink charm, to which I will attach the (sterling silver) connecting chain. If I make the cufflinks fully and fire it all together in my kiln at 750 degrees C, will the sterling silver chain melt into the silver clay? Or will the chain links melt into each other? I've never fired charms with the findings already attached, and am loathe to try anything out until I can be sure of the results!! Thank you very much.

  15. The sterling chain needs to be added after the fine silver is fired.
    I'd suggest you up your firing temp to 850 as it tends to make for a stronger end result :)
    As a rule the temps and times needed to scinter silver clay would leave sterling brittle (weaker) and very oxidised.
    In the case of the chain you're thinking of, normally chain contains soldered links which would at best reflow the solder and leave you with solid weaker chain and at worst melt all over your piece and wreck it!
    Afraid you'll need to solder it on after firing :)
    Nic xx

  16. Thanks for the advice Nic, very much appreciated!

  17. hello,

    I was wondering if anyone could help. Ive soldered sterling silver chain cufflinks (with disc base) onto the back of a pmc piece and the disc soldered without a prob but the chain came away - im supposed to get these cufflinksto a client this week!! Can i solder the chain back onto the disc or is there a better way of doing it? Any advice woudl be appreciated as im close to having a nervous breakdown over this as the clients hubby insisits on chain backings:( Please help.

  18. Im new to PMC but its my boyfriends 21st bithday coming up and i want to give him something really nice. I was thinking I would make him some cufflinks and i would preper to solder them together as it will be better than just using some kind of glue. Anyway, Im a student and i cant really afford to spent £30 or more on silver paste solder when i may not really use it again. my dad has some solder (he uses it mainly for electrical stuff) I could cut up into pallions but I dont know if i need a different type than the standard type of solder? is there anything you can reckonmend?

    Lydia Barton

    please help!

  19. Hi,
    That would make a lovely present but the sort of solder you use with a soldering iron isn't suitable and would contaminate your silver potentially leaving it pitted (and too weak a join too).
    I belive Metal Clay Findings do some embeddable cuff link fittings, you could call Palmer Metals and see if they do them.
    Happy Making
    Nic x

  20. Ah okay I thought it would probally need to be a different kind of solder. Just looked them up on the internet and they do have embeddable cufflink fittings. Thank you very much!!
    Lydia x

  21. Hi Nicola, I am New to pmc, being used to working in sterling silver sheet and wire. I have never used sterling silver findings such as cufflink backings before. I am about to make some fingerprint cufflinks and I wonder how you deal with the fire stain that will inevitably occur upon soldering the sterling finding to the fine metal front. Do you 'live with it' or do you take the time to file off the fire stain from the visible surfaces of the finding And polish up to a smooth finish? (strikes me as hard hard work on a cufflink backing!). With regards, Ann

  22. Hey Nic

    Hope you are good :)

    I am quite excited am just ordering some items to give soldering a go! :)

    Can I please ask is there something I should put on the pmc part that is not being soldered will it be effected by the heat at all - or do I just use the soldering paste and there you have it! :)

    Also for cufflinks and jump rings and bails is it only really the Easy Solder Paste you need as I see it comes in other grades

    Sorry if it's been asked already!
    Kind Regards
    Di x


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