We often mention the traditional techniques our craftsmen use to create the beautiful silver creations that leave our workshop - but each of these techniques, passed down and evolved over the centuries, is worth exploring. In this series, we’ll examine some of the techniques at the heart of the British craftsmanship taking place in our workshop every day.
Once a project has gone through the casting phase, our craftsmen will often be left with various pieces that will need to be assembled - and in order to do that, the technique of soldering comes into play.
Soldering is the process of permanently joining two pieces of silver together using heat to create an invisible joint. Our craftsmen use gas-burning torches to generate the heat in the piece until the solder melts.
There are four grades of silver solder, ranging from hard to extra easy - and each grade has a different melting point. Our craftsmen use each grade of solder in sequence, starting with hard since it has the highest melting temperature. By applying each grade in turn, the joints crafted at the beginning of the process are able to withstand prolonged heating as the craftsman performs the subsequent joins using easier grades.
In order for the pieces we craft to be hallmarked, we always use high quality silver solder, no matter what grade.
The workshop here at Grant Macdonald is built on a foundation of traditional techniques which we enhance with cutting edge technology, and our soldering process is no different. We’ve upgraded since the days of charcoal forges, and in addition to our gas torches, the craftsmen in our workshop have access to state-of-the-art laser beam welding, using a concentrated heat source in order to weld without distortion. Using an electronic microscope, we’re able to create high precision welds - which are crucial for delicate work, or projects where small pieces need to be joined together.
Discover other aspects of the Silversmithing process in previous installments of The Silversmith’s Toolkit, and see the finished products in our collection of the finest British craftsmanship.