Soldering is an important process that fuses two pieces of metal together. “Solder” actually refers to the material that binds these pieces together, and those who take solder certification classes will learn a variety of types of solder joints. Here are some of the most common:
A butt joint consists of two pieces of metal joined at each end. Basically, you’re soldering two adjacent pieces of metal together.
As long as the edges are clean and flat, the solder will adhere to the surfaces. A butt joint is ideal for closing jump rings in jewelry, but its relatively low strength means you can’t use it for any type of project that requires material to bear weight.
A butt joint can be reinforced by soldering a supportive piece of metal either over or underneath the butt joint. This type of joint is known as a strapped butt joint. If you solder supportive pieces of metal on either side of the butt joint, it’s known as a double-strapped butt joint.
A scarf joint is very similar to a butt joint in that you’re soldering two pieces of metal end-to-end. But while a butt joint involves the union of two flat pieces, in a scarf joint, each piece is cut on a diagonal. As a result, the fused part of the joint has more surface area, which increases adherence and makes for a stronger joint.
A step joint is similar to both a butt joint and a scarf joint. But instead of connecting pieces with flat surfaces or a diagonal cut, a step joint involves two pieces that are cut in a pattern that resembles a stair step. The pieces are then united and fused with solder, making for a stronger joint.
In a lap joint, two pieces overlap. Solder is applied to both pieces. This approach creates a stronger joint, though this strength depends on how much each piece overlaps the other. The more they overlap, the stronger the joint will become.
The side seam joint is similar to the lap joint but stronger. One piece of metal is folded over, which gives the joint a total of three layers instead of only two. You can find this type of joint on the side seam of tin cans.
In a pipe joint, adjacent pipes are “telescoped” together so that one fits inside the other. The two are then soldered together, which forms a watertight seal, as well as a secure, strong connection.
Manufacturing jobs are still in demand in the United States. Those with the right technical certification can find a career in many different industries that rely on soldering and other skills.