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14K White Gold Solder


#1

Hi Folks!

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
soldering…

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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
that…:-)…!

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!
Janet


#2

Janet,

I could be wrong but I think that you are using a reducing flame.
This is oxidizing the white gold. You would have better luck using
the little torch with an oxidizing flame. You need to paint the piece
with the flame so that you heat the whole piece as gold will heat
much different than silver. I hope that this helps. You can call me
if you want a detailed explanation.

Thanks Lornie Mueller GG CGA (30 years on the bench)
Lithos Jewelry
http://lithosjewelry.com


#3
I could be wrong but I think that you are using a reducing flame.
This is oxidizing the white gold. 

By definition a reducing flame is one that does not have enough
oxygen to combust all the fuel present in the flame and will try to
gather oxygen from the surrounding environment and will be less
likely to oxidize the solder. Naturally aspirated propane air
torches which is what I think she is referring to are in fact
oxidizing, cool flames and this is more likely the problem. Both gold
and silver solders need a neutral or reducing flame and a good
quality flux for best performance.

Janet, I think you may need more or better flux and a more reducing
flame.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4
I could be wrong but I think that you are using a reducing flame.
This is oxidizing the white gold. You would have better luck using
the little torch with an oxidizing flame. You need to paint the
piece with the flame so that you heat the whole piece as gold will
heat much different than silver. I hope that this helps. You can
call me if you want a detailed explanation 

I ham compelled to jump in here to comment that reducing flames
remove oxygen from the scene of combustion, including any metal
oxides that may be present. Oxidizing flames add excess oxygen, and
therefore “oxidize” metals that may be in the flame. (That is if
they are capable of reacting with oxygen at all.) This is the
opposite of what is stated in the foregoing quote.

By the way, it is possible to have oxidation or reduction reactions
in chemistry without the presence of elemental oxygen, because these
kinds of reactions are generalized to simply mean the transfer of
electrons so as to maintain an internal balance. You chemistry
professors out there can explain it better than I!

-Richard Davies


#5

Hi Lornie,

I could be wrong but I think that you are using a reducing flame.
This is oxidizing the white gold. You would have better luck using
the little torch with an oxidizing flame. You need to paint the
piece with the flame so that you heat the whole piece as gold will
heat much different than silver. I hope that this helps. You can
call me if you want a detailed explanation. 

Thanks for writing, but I’m afraid I believe each of your points is
backwards…:-(…

  1. An oxidizing flame oxidizes; a reducing flame does the opposite!
    That’s why I would not care to use a torch with oxygen…and why I
    love the propane-only—never have fire scale…:-)…In any case,
    the piece was well protected by a good layer of cone borax (best for
    the relatively high, prolonged heat needed) and thus hardly needed
    pickling even after prolonged heating…

  2. I usually use a very large, soft flame in order to envelop the
    entire piece in the heat to heat it evenly and melt the solder by
    heat transference rather than by direct flame. This is necessary
    with silver because of the way silver transfers heat. The opposite
    is true of gold, where you need a more concentrated flame aimed at a
    more specific area. This is where I thought the problem may be, as I
    was nevertheless heating the entire piece evenly—partially out of
    habit, and partially because I’m a firm believer in the theory that
    you get better diffusion and consequently a better join if the
    pieces to be joined melt the solder rather than the flame…But in
    the end I thought it might be wishful thinking trying to do this
    with white gold solder…But then, a hotter flame concentrated on
    such a smaller area could easily melt the doublets and triblets…

J.