Anti-Flux/Solder Inhibitor

Looking for something to use as solder inhibitor which will NOT reliquify when exposed to either water or alcohol (e.g., not rouge or ochre or chinese white or whiting, etc.). Preferably something I can make myself as those of us outside the US do not have easy access to commercial products normally used by US goldsmiths. Does anyone know what Stullers settings antiflux pen uses? Please do not post here about the health hazards of white out, as there already are hundreds of threads on this subject in the Archives :wink:. Does the water-based white-out reliquify after drying when coming in contact with wet flux? I assume the flammable one doesn’t (is that true?) but it does not seem to be carried anywhere here in Israel nowadays… I need it for a teeny tiny area and fear the flux will necessarily reach it via capillarity. (For most jobs I have always found the materials listed in my opening sentence to be adequate.)

Janet in Jerusalem

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Hi Janet,

not an answer to your question…but, on a related note…i was soldering multiple, closely arranged joins, and i found success using two things that came in an inexpensive paint brush set, as application tools…

…one was a very, very, very, tiny metal, bud bur-like tipped, scribe-like tool…not being a brush, is seemed to pick up less liquid in both the orchre and the flux, and not flare out with pressure, but picked up just enough to precisely and neatly apply both…i did the ochre first, and let it dry fully…then, did not allow the flux to touch it after…

…and there was also a very, very, very tiny fine tipped paint brush that worked very well also, with a steady hand and much patience…i kind of found it meditating…(a comfortable seated position and stong optivisors were helpful too!)

i will take a picture soon…

here are a few photos…

the scribe measures 1mm at the base (widest part) of the bud shaped tip and comed to a softened ball point

i have placed a .50mm and .70mm twist drill beside it, for scale…which made me think that if i rounded the rip of the twist drill and mounted in s pin vise, that might work as well…but the twist may pull water up…

and i also placed my teeny tipoed brush in the pic for scale as well…

i make teeny tips for my giles wax pen with twist drills…



That’s an interesting idea–decreasing the capillarity to get less water in the flux. Reminds me of when I first started filigree (over 40 years ago). Yemenite jewelers used a feather (from pigeons) as a flux ‘brush’. It probably had the same effect of reducing liquid in the join area. They were the smallish feathers you occasionally find in the street. They would remove the bottom longer ‘hairs’ so you just had the feather’s tip. I wonder if they used that because it was handy and free or if they felt it worked better than a brush. I think I’ll try going back to that…:-)… Meanwhile, I’ll give your suggestion a try. My dad was a dentist prior to becoming a mathematician, so I have tons of burs and bur-like tools of every possible shape :slight_smile: !

Janet in Jerusalem


Janet that is a great idea for a flux brush. When I do filigree and sometimes by the time I get to the far end of a piece the flux has given up. I use an old pair of tweezers to get a small drop of flux, and place it where I need it so that if it moves, mostly it does, I can use the same tweezers to push the wires back down gently. Here in Florida we hve one or two birds. In fact it’s the only place I’ve seen the birds walking on sidewalks, get to a street corner, look both ways before crossing then continuing. I wish people were as smart. (egrets)



How about using a graphite pencil? I never used it but heard it somewhere in the past as a solder resist.


I have used graphite as a solder resist. I generally don’t use solder resists.I rely on good torch control. The only time I use it is when soldering together a hinge. I line up the tubes with an old blackened drill bit and use graphite between where the tubes touch each other. Graphite doesn’t take up as much space as yellow ochre does so the hinge is nice a tight. I do use ochre on the opposing hinge parts that I do not want solder to flow to.


Hi Janet Pepe Tools sells this Earth friendly product Bench Basics Smart Pickle

Best wishes

Graphite does work as an anti-flux. Just need to be sure the pencil you’re using is actually graphite and not a waxy concoction of whatever. The nice thing about graphite is that it won’t contaminate a seam.

I’ve had luck keeping white out from wicking into flux by heating it first.

If you discover a solution please let us know.

Good luck!


The label says “sodium bisulphate.” Same thing as swimming pool Ph Down and Sparex.


It’s sodium bisulfate. which man here have told you to get at a pool supply store. It will be vastly cheaper. I thought about this product until I read on the container what it was. BTW sodium bisulfate is the swimming pool acid that gets put in pools to equalize the ph.

Go to a hardware store and you can buy liquid graphite. use a small artists brush to paint where you want it. Or you can use Janet in Israel’s little feather idea for a brush (I love that idea)


What is liquid graphite used for (by normal people…)? I’ve never seen it in any hardware store in Israel…

Janet in Jerusalem

Thanks but I’m looking for a solder resist, not a pickle :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Jo! I was hoping you would respond :grin:… Yes, this is a situation like hinges. Consider an area less than 2x2 MILIMETERS (not centimeters). A tiny tube will be soldered to a base and solder must not flow to a wall which 0.50 millimeter away. What do you use as a medium for the graphite? Or if you buy it as a liquid, what do they use as the medium (to keep it in place)?

In the end it turns out stores here now seem to be carrying the flammable white-out again. Perhaps they found out that the water base didn’t work as well (?)… I went into one store and they had three different brands of flammable. Last time I looked a few years ago, no stores had it! Worked very well. I only need it for truly exceptional circumstances–like tiny hinges.

Does the graphite really take up little enough space so that there is no play between the hinge joints when the piece is cleaned up? On teeny hinges I often have only three hinge joints (unhealthy for a hinge), so it’s important that they fit tight.

Janet in Jerusalem

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FWIW, there is no liquid graphite. It only seems liquid because it is such a finely divided powder that it often sold in a little squeeze tube with a nozzle. You squeeze the tube to squirt the graphite into the hinge or whatever you want to lubricate. Ask the folks at your local hardware store for graphite lubricant.


I have a “hinge” on my buckles that carries the tongue on a tube. I paste flux first. When it’s dry I use yellow ochre fairly thin so it flows into the tube. If you move it after the ochre is dry it will crack internally and allow the solder to flow in so I’m very careful to set it up before the ochre is dry. Then I have no problems with solder flowing into the tube.


This particular job is waaaay too tiny for paste flux :-). Also way too tiny for ochre. See my reply to Jo.


I must have had a rectal-cranial inversion! Jo would know! I got to meet her when she was in ABQ for the Rio symposium. Great jeweler!
I was thinking about the powdered graphite used for locks. As a powder it’s uncontrollable but I wonder if you added a drop of thin oil like the Foredom handpiece oil and then used a tiny brush or a needle - maybe a broken 6/0 blade to put a tiny bit in that .50mm distance between the tube an the piece that you don’t want solder on? Just enough oil so it isn’t powder. Heat slowly until oil is gone. We used oil and yellow ochre when it absolutely positively couldn’t be allowed to flow!

It’s used as a non greasy lubricant in mechanisms. I came in contact with it when we lived in San Francisco are. Our very expensive front door handle/lock came apart. I was able to get it back together, but it wouldn’t work. Along comes one of my hubby’s work mates and he has this tube of liquid graphite. Yes it is a really fine powder, but when we tried squeezeing it into the lock, it wouldn’t work. So being me I tore it all apart. I looked at the parts that didn’t want to turn. Once I put a bit of the graphite on it it worked. Problem was most of it would shake off as I put the damn thing back together. So I got out one of my flux brushes, and made sure they were well cleaned. I got some of the graphite made into a slurry with water, and painted it onto the parts. Once I put it back together this time, the graphite had held long enough to be jostled back into place. I spent two days to save $100, and missed out making a piece of jewelry that I would have made nearly $500. Chalk it up to Danish stubborness.

BTW liquid graphite is used to loosen up hinges.

Aggie in Orlando

Janet-I use a mechanical pencil with a softish 2B lead. I use Graph Gear 500 pencils that take a 0.3 mm lead for jewelry. renderings. I also find them useful for getig into tiny spaces for solder blockage. Attached find an image of them along with some erasers. All can be purchased online from Amazon or Blick Art Supplies. I use the Nano diamond leads because the regular 0.3 leads break so easily.

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