For some of you, the answer is yes! Here’s why:
Third hands (or arms) are made of steel which has a much higher melting point than the jewelry metals, silver, gold, brass, and copper. That’s a good thing or it wouldn’t be helpful in holding elements while we solder. However, third hands act as a heat sink meaning they can draw a lot of heat away from your piece and into themselves. Often, when solder refuses to flow properly it is because of the third arm drawing away too much heat from your soldering seam. You can use this feature to your advantage –for example, you can protect a previously soldered seam from reflow by clamping the third arm over it – but you need to know how to position the third arm properly when you do need your solder to flow unimpeded. The key concept is to position the third hand as far away as possible from your soldering seam. Here are a few examples:
That’s all there is to it! So, be mindful of where you place your third hand and it will never again ruin your solder flow.
To learn more about how to always solder successfully, please take a look at my book Soldering Demystified.
You can also join me this August for Soldering Demystified Boot Camp.