I’m using Rio’s 14K White Gold ‘Easy’ Solder and am having trouble
getting it to run…It’s flow point is supposed to be
1450F./787C.—same as hard silver solder and Rio’s 14K yellow
Medium solder. Has anyone used this solder using heat transferred
from the metals (i.e., without putting the flame directly on the
solder)? The only time I ever put flame directly to solder is when
applying solder for subsequent sweating—never during actual
The piece is a ring with many tiny parts (disks) in 18Kyellow and
palladium white gold which are soldered to a 14K white palladium
pierced base which is in turn backed by a sterling silver liner
(which will be oxidized). In have done this rather complex piece
several times in sterling (not white gold) and 18K yellow gold with
no problems (of course you have to be careful the gold bits don’t
melt into the silver…). This is the first time I am replacing the
silver (except for the liner) with 14 and 18K palladium white gold.
It’s the first time I am using 14K palladium white gold (also
Rio’s). My torch is propane only, with a very large head—I am used
to using a large soft flame and enveloping the entire piece. I
solder all the tiny disks to the sterling-lined, pierced, 14K
palladium white gold base all at once before the ring is bent round.
Some disks are singles (3mm.), some are doubles (2mm disks soldered
over 3mm. disks), and a couple are triples (1mm. on 2mm. on 3mm).
All the disks are 18K (yellow and palladium white). Doublets and
triplets are soldered with ITT silver solder (1330-1490F) heated
from the bottom on a fine mesh.
The tiny paillons sweated to the back of the pierced 14K Pal
white gold strip did not run and bond when soldered to the silver
base. Only paillions placed at the ends of the strip (which got
direct flame) ran properly.
The paillons sweated to the back of each disk did not run when
soldering them to the above.
The weird part is that even when the piece was red hot (!), covered
with borax, and parts to be soldered pressed down with soldering
pick, it still didn’t make a good join. All in all, it was as though
the piece had not been cleaned properly. But first I clean by
abrasion, then I flame in boric acid to heat-clean, then I borax
with cone borax making sure that it covers evenly. I re-did the
process three times with the same results. I mixed fresh borax, used
fresh boric acid, new borax brush to make sure it wasn’t
contaminated, thoroughly cleaned the solder.
The first time I ever used white gold solder (on 18K pal-white
gold), the local supplier assured me it was Easy solder—only to
discover later that it was Industrial Easy—with a melting point of
2156-2282F!!! I don’t think Rio would make a mistake like
I’m afraid to use a more concentrated flame (I have small heads for
the propane torch and an oxy-acet Little Torch) because of fear of
melting the tiny doublets and triblets. I always do detailed work
with the propane-only large-headed torch and am not at all confident
experimenting with a hot, concentrated flame on a piece with so much
gold and work invested in it…:-(…Any suggestions…? (There are
still many more soldering steps to go: the join, addition of a bezel
after bending round, addition of borders…)
Thanks for any input!