One of the most difficult aspects of soldering is to heat the piece properly so that the solder will flow. For jobs involving small items, such as soldering the seam on a jump ring, this entails concentrated heating in a localized area,

Most times, though, you must heat the entire piece of metal, especially when working on silver. The same is true when annealing: The entire piece has to be heated to restore the metal’s workability.

The best way to heat the entire piece evenly is from below (it is more difficult to do so from above). But this may not always be possible-for instance, if the piece has a large flat base that rests on the soldering block.

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To solve this, you can elevate the work a few millimeters above a soldering surface by taking some binding wire and making a loose nest.

Flatten the nest to offer a large, stable surface on which to rest the work. (If the piece will not rest on a flat surface, you can easily shape the nest to fit.)

Place the nest and the work on a refractory (heat-resistant) soldering pad, which is preferable to charcoal for this process.

You can now aim the flame so that it bounces off the heat-reflective surface upward through the nest, toward the underside of the piece.

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This method of indirectly heating from below, combined with intermittent direct heating from above, works well to warm a piece of metal evenly at the bench.