I'm a cancer survivor and felt very uneasy about learning a new skill that was adding to my toxic inputs. The whole idea is to reduce them! I had thrown out all non-stick cooking pots that were lined with anything teflon-like. I had switched to Mrs. Meyers’ cleaning products. I use pure, simple soaps and very few cosmetic products or makeup (usually none). I avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible. I use glass in place of plastic containers. Et cetera. After going to all that trouble and expense, it makes no sense for me to turn around and start snorting lead fumes!
But, I still wanted to make a little tin matchbox holder (shown above), so I searched online for anything that might substitute for soldering. I read about an artist that said he used Gorilla Glue Gel exclusively to assemble his metal sculptures. I decided to try it. (You can use a particle filter mask to avoid inhaling glue fumes but this doesn’t work with solder fumes, which have much finer particles.) Unfortunately, the glue couldn’t hold the tabs. They popped apart after just a little stress. Maybe I wasn’t applying the glue correctly. Oh well, mask or not, I wasn’t too thrilled about the glue fumes anyway
I don’t remember where I stumbled upon metal foil embossing. It may have been on Pinterest. I saw mostly DIY-from-old-cookie-sheets examples, and didn’t think much of it until months later, when I saw the pewter work being done by some South Africans -- Elitia Hart and Mary Ann Lingenfelder. Wow! Very inspiring!
Anyway, to solve my box problem, I decided to just leave off the tin tabs altogether, and wrapped aluminum embossing around the edges to hold the sides together without solder. I think it will work for this item, but my next design is for a trinket box, which it needs to be much sturdier. It should have tabs for reinforcement. If anybody out there knows of a non-toxic or low-toxic alternative to soldering, please let me know!