Soldering and brazing processes rely on a filler metal added to the joint to form the junction between the base metal parts. Soft soldering uses a filler that melts at a lower temperature than the workpiece, often a lead-tin solder alloy. Brazing and hard soldering use a higher temperature filler that melts at a temperature which may approach that of the base metal, and which may form a eutectic alloy with the base metal.
Filler alloys have a lower melting point than the base metal, so that the joint may be made by bringing the whole assembly up to temperature without everything melting as one. Complex joints, typically for jewellery or live steam boilermaking may be made in stages, with filler metals of progressively lower melting points used in turn. Early joints are thus not destroyed by heating to the later temperatures.