I read that if you try to solder an IC directly to a PCB, the heat from the soldering iron tends to destroy the delicate IC — unless you have elite-level soldering skills. (Hint: I do not have such skills!)
For my current project, my plan was to solder IC sockets to the board, do all of the other soldering work, and then insert the ICs into the sockets once I've put the iron away. Presumably the worst an iron can do to a plastic IC socket is maybe melt it a little bit. It's unlikely to completely (and invisibly) destroy it like an IC.
However... I'm using a matrix board. Almost every single connection requires another hoop of wire, and several of these need to connect pins on opposite sides of the ICs. Having got part way through the project, I'm becomming concerned that once I finish platting the board with its tangle of wire, I might not actually be able to physically insert the ICs for the amount of wire in the way.
The other option is to insert the ICs now, and continue soldering, hoping that the IC sockets will save me. Realistically, how much protection against thermal damage is a socket going to give? I mean, it's designed to make a good electrical connection, so it probably makes a reasonable thermal connection too. On the other hand, maybe it has more thermal mass, or a larger surface to dissapate heat? I don't know.
(The ICs are DIP-14, in case that makes any difference to anything.)