I know this is not the first post by a frustrated solderer in this
This soldering problem(s) is making me think seriously about going
back to doing just lapidary. Making intarsia seems like a cakewalk
compared to this, and making intarsias aint easy. Or, maybe I should
stick to cold connections. It just seems that no matter how carefull
i am, its a crap shoot as to whether the solder will work or not.
About 50% of the time it works beautifully, no problmes. Maybe 25% of
the time I can try again and get it the second time. But there’s that
last 25%. I have read many jewelry books, scoured the forums, etc and
I think I am setting it up right, but I have problems with solder not
flowing completely, or flowing where its not supposed to flow, or
pieces moving around when I’m sweat soldering.
I just ruined a piece that I have got around 20 hours of work in. It
is a cast SS orca about 1 x 1 1/2 inches, and around 3/16th thick,
with the back hollowed out so the piece is fairly thin. There is a
depression in the center where I wanted to solder a bezel for a small
stone. I made the bezel (18k gold) and soldered it to a SS base to
make a cup. Then I tried to solder the bezel cup into the depression
in the orca pendant. I premelted a small amount of easy solder in the
depression and set the cup on top and heated it up. I used a piece of
binding wire and a third hand to put a small amount of force straight
down on it so it WOULDN’T move around. I have seen things 'float’
around when sweat soldering. Well, it moved anyway, and made quite a
mess. I spent another 3 hours grinding it out, cleaning it up, and
basically tried it again. This time the solder wouldnt go into/under
the bezel. Eventually the bezel melted in one place and I have given
The point is, I scrupulously cleaned the pieces to be soldered,
fluxed copiously, and used heat control to bring up the entire piece
to temperature at the same time. What the &% am I doing wrong! I am
using ‘magic flux’ from Rio Grande and solder from them as well.
This is supposed to be an anti fire-scale and flux. It is water
based. Come to think of it, it seems a bit thin, not a paste per se.
Has anyone used this? I also have some ‘Ready Flux’ as well, but it
doesn’t seem to work any better on average.
What else can I do? Any further advice would be appreciated. I want
to make another orca and try again, but not until I know I can solder
Frustrated in Ventura