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Using A Charcoal Block For Jewellery Making

A charcoal block is a traditional choice for a soldering surface and makes a great addition to your jewellery making workshop due to how versatile it is. On this page, we share with you its many benefits as well as a brilliant video of tutor, Kim Thomson showing the block in action!

What is a charcoal block made of?

Kernowcraft's charcoal block is made from a whole, solid block of wood (not pressed). It's soft yet firm, so it won't crumble but is soft enough to push pins or similar items into the surface.

How do I keep its shape?

Cracks can develop in the charcoal block with use, the best way to help retain the block shape is by wrapping the sides tightly with binding wire.

What's the difference between a natural and pressed charcoal block?

A pressed (or hard) charcoal block is an option that will last longer than the softer, natural block. They both share the same properties, however, you will not be able to carve or drill the surface of a pressed block.

What can I use my charcoal soldering block for?

Soldering

Charcoal is an excellent soldering surface as it reflects the heat back onto the metal being soldered for quicker heating as well as creating a reducing atmosphere (consuming the oxygen around the piece being soldered) which helps reduce fire stain. You can also stick pins into the charcoal block to offer support for pieces during the soldering process.

Casting

The charcoal block is so versatile that you can drill or carve shapes into the surface to use as a crucible in which to melt and cast metal! Take a look below at the letter K that Kim Thomson cast in her 12 Months Of Metal series available to watch on our blog.

Granulation

By drilling holes into your charcoal block, you can create the perfect moulds for melting metal into little spheres which you can then solder onto your jewellery designs - this technique is known as granulation.

To see examples of granulation and to find out more about this technique, read our advice page.

Watch Kim's video below from the 12 Months Of Metal series, where she shows you casting and granulation techniques using a charcoal block