My soldering iron arrived. I followed all the safety precautions and used my experimental slides for some experimental soldering. What I had done before involved electronics — think two seconds to make a bead of metal in a desired spot. For my current project, you want a long flow of solder. Quite a different thing My initial efforts are very rustic.

The thing about soldering is that there are many, many ways to do it wrong. You can get great gouts of solder instead of a smooth line. You can drop splashes of it onto your work surface. You can solder your piece to your work surface. You can miss bits. Fortunately, you can also fix it. However, every time you fix one part, it will spoil the perfectly good part right next to it.

Soldering takes three hands. Soldering jump rings onto your piece requires three right hands. Wearing gloves is one of the safety precautions, so you can imagine that holding those wee little rings in a gloved hand, or even a pair of tweezers and a gloved hand, is challenging. Then you need a hand to hold the slide, and one for the solder and one for the iron.Ah — that adds up to four hands, doesn’t it? So you can lay your slide down onto the work surface (see “soldering your piece to the work surface” above) and hold the jump ring in the right spot and then the solder and the soldering iron in your other two hands, and then you must hold the ring in place for ten seconds while it sets. Then, since the solder will have filled the hole of the jump ring, you must remelt it, at which point the jump ring will fall off.

Seriously, I think I will be able to develop this skill. #2 son was able to put the experimental slides into the order in which I had done them, showing that I have improved. The issue for me, I think, will be the fumes. I am in a well-ventilated area, but I still find that I am affected. A fan, perhaps, is needed.

I would like to show you a picture of my new toy, but the camera has disappeared. I think I know where it is. Pictures of my sons’ muscles have been showing up on it. I think that, now that they have the Door Gym #2 son got for his birthday, they are taking pictures of each other doing pull-ups and push-ups and other flexy things, and admiring their burgeoning musculature.

This is such a guy thing. I don’t think my daughters would ever have thought of doing this.

I probably shouldn’t have told you this at all, but at least I am not posting the pictures. When they wake up, I will rescue the camera from whichever bedroom it is in and show you a picture of my soldering station, and possibly even of one of my soldered things, if I have any by that time that aren’t too humorous. This is in no way like taking pictures of muscles. Actually, there could be body-building blogs where, just as we show one another pictures of that day’s inch of knitting or whatever, the athletes show one another pictures of the new half-inch they’ve put on their deltoids.

An unsettling thought.