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Anti-flux and pickle

Hi all. I’m new here. Tess Headley. This group is wonderful…like
having a superb mentor. I’m designing a choker composed of box-like
segments. To assemble them I will align them face down, with the tab
of each inside the body of the next, all fitting perfectly flat.
Then I plan to solder a plate onto the back of each segment, locking
them all together. I’m patting myself on the back for a great,
smooth and sleek design. Here’s where I need some help: I obviously
have to keep the solder off the tab, or the links will become fused.
What’s the best anti-flux method? Whatever I use will leave a
certain amount of residue forever. Second question: How do I pickle
after soldering? Although the segments will fit snugly, they will
not be watertight. I won’t be able to rinse out the pickling
solution. I greatly appreciate all suggestions. I’m making my
prototype links in silver, but final piece will be in 18K gold, if
that makes a difference. Thanks in advance.


Tess: my favorite antiflux is white out. The stuff you use for typing
correction. In comes in a pin type applicator or a bottle with a
brush. Acetone usually removes any residue and it works even after
repeated pickling. Watch out for the fumes when you heat the piece
they can be toxic. Use good ventilation. Frank Goss


Couple other things I forgot to mention in my previous post…

Steamers and heated ultrasonics used in their “normal” manner will
also aid in the removal of flux, and anti-flux.

You can also use the methods I mentioned: injection with a hypodermic
needle, setting the beaker in the ultrasonic, or putting the beaker
into the vacuum bell jar - for rinsing with hot water. (After using
them to accelerate the pickling and neutralizing procedures.)

I can just about guarantee you that if you use these methods on all
three stages - pickling, neautralizing, and rinsing - you will have
no residues of any kind!

I realize that they are time consuming, and I do not not recommend
them as a “standard” routine - but when you need them for a
particularly difficult/intricate piece… they have never failed to
work for me.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School

What's the best anti-flux method? 

It may not be the best but it works for me…Whiteout correction
fluid. Make sure you let it dry completely after applying it and
before heating!

   How do I pickle after soldering? 

Your first job is to keep as much acid out of the boxes as possible
and next provide an easy escape route for the liquid that will be
inevitably trapped. Try to fill the void with tap water before you
put it in the pickle this will keep a lot of acid out. I use my
vacuum casting machine to fill hollow areas with water before
pickling and the same machine to such out the trapped water when
done. However, if you don’t have a vacuum machine you need to have
some sort of way to get the fluid out. Drill a weep hole in an
inconspicuous area where the liquid can drain or if the design
allows, pierce a design in the back so that it has a large decorative
area that acts as a drain.

Larry Seiger


If you use yellow ochre or “White Out” as your anti-flux, most of it
will come off in the pickle. You must use hot pickle - and you must
leave the item in it for a sufficient length of time. Sometimes, as
long as fifteen minutes or more if there is a lot of flux to
dissolve. That is one of the common mistakes my students make. If you
do not remove all of the flux, it will get in the way later. (When
you do another stage of soldering, when you are filing, rubber
wheeling, or polishing.)

To neutralize the pickle, we keep a crock of water containing about 2
tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in it - right next to the pickle

After pickling, it is shop rule that you must drop the piece into the
neutralizing soda solution. Then rinse and dry. This keeps the
rolling mill from being etched, clothing from developing holes, and
crystal “crud” from getting all over the benches from dripping
pickle. (We use “Sparex” type pickle - sodium bisulfate.)

If, as in your case, we have a piece that may not be completely
neutralized, because it is hollow… we have a couple of other
procedures we run through.

You can obtain hypodermic needles and syringes at your local
feedstore. You can then inject the baking soda solution into very
small openings…

On some pieces, we will put the baking soda solution into a beaker,
drop the piece into it - and then put the beaker into the

On others, we will do the same thing, but put the beaker into the
vacuum bell jar, and bring up enough vacuum to get the solution to

Drying is accomplished by using a heat lamp, combined with a small
computer fan, that I have arranged over ceramic tile.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
704 W. Swain Rd.
Stockton, CA 95207
209-477-6731 Office/Fax
209-477-6535 Workshops/Classroom

P.S. These same processes can be used to “force” the pickle to work faster or
get into places it might not reach normally…

Tess, you can soak your pieces in water plus baking soda. If there
seems to be water remaining inside, the pieces can be held in a small
flame until steam begins and ends.

Marilyn Smith

As regard to White-Out as anti-flux: it’s best to use the water
based product if you can find it. There’s no problem then with toxic
fumes and it comes off in the pickle pot - no acetone. It’s just
become hard to find in office supply stores. Gini


Welcome to the group.

Yellow ocher is a standard way of preventing solder flow. Basically
you are making the joint dirty. I have also used with great sucess
good ole White Out. Do this under ventilation though.

With regard to the pickle problem, I have used toothpics with great
success. Soak them in water first so they swell up and then jam them
in the holes. Of course I can’t see what your piece looks like, so I
don’t know if your area is too large.

Go ahead and pickle, try to shake out any excess and soak again in
water with some baking soda. I use a syringe with a very tiny tube
attached. Do this a few times and suck the remaining water out with
the syringe. I also find that warming the piece on a heated surface
works well. It is enough to steam out the remaining water. Instead
of hot plate, I use a pancake griddle which allows me control the

I look forward to hear what other people on the list come up with.
This kind of question often sparks excellent bench tips.


Try rubbing the area you want to keep solder off with garlic.
Personally, I coat everything that will be heated with a saturate
solution of boric acid and de-natured alcohol. Where I don’t want
solder to go, I paint with either yellow ochre and water or with
typewriter correction fluid.

David L. Huffman

To avoid toxic fumes when using ‘white-out’ or similar products, be
sure t he product label says “water-based”. Then you will have no
problem with toxic fumes when you apply heat.


Hello Tess,

I believe that a lot of people use Yellow ocker or other
trademarks,but some graphite powder does exactly the same.Even liquid
paper good be a good help.

For the second question,I would use regular pickle (sparex or
whatever).After this proces is completed,take it out the pickle and
submerge it in a bath with soda and water to neutralize the
pickle.Rince it with clear water as far as you can and then proceed
with heating up your entired piece very slowly (!!! watch it).Do not
apply to much heat at ones and try to keep the small opening upwards
to give the steam a chance to evaporate .

Good luck and work savely . Regards Pedro

Gini, I believe that plain old lead pencil works as an antiflux…I
have not had any problems with it…Susan Chastain

I agree one can’t find it… I have lookede all over and still can’t
find it… How are you and what are you making now??? Just came from a
carol Webb workshop… Boy does she have energy… I was so tired… We
got up early and worked till 10:30 plus every night but one… long days… interesting… cal

I’ve enjoyed all the suggestions on this thread (especially the
garlic!). I use the water-base Whiteout – another advantage is that
it can be “revived” with a little water, in case it dries out.

I have a related question: can anyone suggest something that would
keep very high temperature “solder” (i.e., brazing rod braze) from
flowing into certain areas? The anti-flux materials suggested for
the usual hard solders tend to have broken down by the time the
brazing temperature reaches about 1800 degrees F.

Thanks in advance! Judy Bjorkman @JLBjorkman

    can anyone suggest something that would keep very high
temperature "solder" (i.e., brazing rod braze) from flowing into
certain areas?  

G’day Judy; try clay, or ferric oxide (rust!) Brazing doesn’t flow
unless the job is freshly surfaced and fluxed (borax works, but I use
a propriety flux from the BOC [British Oxygen Company] which is much
better; see your welding company) Cheers,-- John Burgess;
@John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Hello A very inexpensive way of keeping your solder flowing into areas
is the use of a single pencil.Just describe a circle with a pencil
around the soldering area and the solder will not pass this
line.Since it is not easy to draw on a polished piece,you have to do
the soldering before you polish your item.Although,there is a
limitation for this use because you can not reach into small area’s
and therefor the use of yellow oker or other media is much
prefferable. Still,enjoy making nice things !!

Regards Pedro