Seashell in SterlingIn the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time working on prong settings, truthfully somewhat tense in getting the prongs done.  I would make the prongs, prepare the base, and use my center punch to make a little indentations for each prong.  Then I would solder each prong on – one by one.  It got tricky because as I went to solder each one on, I needed to avoid melting or unsoldering the ones I already put on.  And once I had a few of them on, I had more to lose and would try to stay calm, but…

When I went to Penland I asked our studio assistant, Marlene True, about it.  I explained what I had been doing.  She smiled and said – let me show you another way.  She approached it by drilling holes in the base making sure to select a drill bit where the prongs would fit very snugly in the hole.  Then she suspended the piece on a tripod, put a little bit of flux and a snippet of solder right beside each prong, heated it from below, and got them all done at once.  Sweet.  The beauty of this approach is two-fold.  First, you are done so much quicker.  I was having to pickle the piece in between each soldering.  Secondly, because the torch is underneath the base, you don’t have the same worries about melting the prongs.  This piece was made the new way.  I am now soldering prongs angst-free.

Thank you, Marlene True.

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