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Anyone make their own solder?

Hi Guys,

Just curious.

Anyone make their own solder? I was given a list of recipes last
year, and I’ve been toying with the idea.

Regards Charles A.

Yes, I have always made my own yellow gold solders, 9ct and 18ct.

no reason not to give it a try if you already have the recipes.

I find my own solders to be much better than bought solders as I
know how they will react.

Can you share this list with us?


I have. Gold and Silver.


YES a lot, and I will whenever possible pay someone else to do it!

I have done it for years and years- pastes, sheet, and powdered
solders. I can control the colour if I’m reclaiming scrap or doing
an order for someone for a custom coloured gold (one of my
specialities is non-traditional coloured high karat golds). Whenever
I make a quantity of sheet in any karat or colour it is handy to have
a matching solder. Since I do a lot of work in fine silver with
bezels, plaques, granules, etc in yellow gold I use yellow silver
solder which is easier to make than to find (particularly in other
than a single melt point which is generally hard from the two vendors
I know of that manufacture it). It is an easy process regardless of
the material/metal or colour you are making and the components are
probably already in your studio, if not readily available depending
on the form you wish to yield. I don’t make wire solder though
because I don’t want to contaminate my mills. I don’t allow anything
other than precious metals in my mills (unless its a dedicated mill
for patterning, base metals, tooling, etc, or in the main area of the
studio for that matter! Like my old friend DX Ross, we both believed
that even small amounts of ferrous metals, particularly grindings,
polishings, and other particulates have no place in the studio!).

If you want to make your own i would encourage you to experiment.
Just write your procedures down and use a scale to measure everything
(don’t eyeball it- even if you are good at it!), including zinc oxide
pastes- should you be making pastes with zinc oxide! The beauty of
pastes is that you can make a variety of melt/flow points which come
in handy for multiple solder operations. Beth Katz, of My Unique
Solutions has been making pastes for years now primarily for
sterling soldering and .999 silver in at least 5 grades- I found them
very versatile when doing pieces involving more than 4 joins per work
piece. It is also easy to colour silver pastes yellow (gold)
increasing the usefulness and lowering the risk of burning through
silver when trying to attach gold bezels etc. -particularly good for
teaching students to join the two metals using a hard yellow silver
solder in any form.

I hope you will try your hand at it- it is fun, economically viable
and always available when you need it and exactly in the grade,
colour etc. you need. Once you get good at it you may find yourself
with saleable products that excel over the standard solders and
temperature grades sold by vendors. If you choose to make pastes you
can purchase a wide variety of syringes with varying capacities and
tip sizes that make application really precise to voluminous- another
consideration when marketing a consumable like this. The most
difficult form of solder manufacture is making powders- deciding
whether you want to add agents to keep the ingredients mixed,
particle size standardisation, and shelf stability are all factors to
consider- if making sterling or white gold solder, even low karat
yellow or red, pink or orange and the relative hues you can make
keeping the metals from tarnishing is one thing to think about- how
you approach that is also widely variable. Ther are so many additives
to choose from that cost becomes an issue (or not!) as well as
packaging options, instructions (if you are going to sell it) and
providing consistent results all play into the end product’s
feasibility- but for your own purposes having a small amount of 22kt
yellow powder works well for me as it’s easier to use less when
joinig two pieces of the same colour and karat instead of the
"puddling" method. Joins come out cleaner and less solder is used, it
is sifted over the pieces of sheet, etc using enamelling sifters and
the result is a sturdy join with no excess to clean up after the
fact. It is also excellent for making " insta- mokume-gane" billets:
the powder ensures a good strong join between layers without the risk
of “de-lamination” that can happen with eutectic bonds that aren’t as
complete as you may have thought they were when you unwrapped the
foil from your material (It doesn’t show like a paillion or paste may
either !).

Good Luck- now go play!!!..rer

I have tried it just to have done so but to be honest is it woth
bothering unless you want to make an enamelling solder or the like.

The silver filigree workers of Malta make their own solder, I’ve sat
at one of them’s bench and done a bit of filigree work but couldnt
see myself trying to make a living doing it, you need a particular
kind of dedication to do that all day.

Nick Royall

Can you share this list with us? 

Yeah okay, some of the elements are. fun :-\

This list is verbatim, there’s also a listing of 9 carat, but not
everyone views 9 as gold, so I’ll leave it out.

18 carat extra hard yellow: Au 75%, Ag 12%, Cu 8%, Cd 5%
18 carat hard yellow: Au 75%, Cu 15%, Zn 1.8%, Cd 8.2%
18 carat medium yellow: Au 75%, Ag 9%, Cu 6%, Zn 10%
18 carat easy yellow: Au 75%, Ag 10%, Cu 3%, Zn 12%

14 carat extra hard yellow: Au 58.5%, Ag 25%, Cu 12.5%, Cd 4%
14 carat hard yellow: Au 58.5%, Ag 8.8%, Cu 22.7%, Cd 10%
14 carat medium rose: Au 58.5%, Ag 4.9%, Cu 25.6%, Zn 2.0%, Cd 9%
14 carat easy yellow: Au 58.5%, Ag 15%, Cu 9.5%, Zn 5%, Cd 12%

Regards Charles A.

This list is verbatim, there's also a listing of 9 carat, but not
everyone views 9 as gold, so I'll leave it out.

Please do share?



I would like to try my hand at making my own 14k hard solder and 14
ultra easy solder, both in yellow and white, Do you have any specific
instructions on how to do it?

Thanks, Steve Cowan Arista Designs LLC


but not everyone views 9 as gold, so I'll leave it out. 

Carat is gemstone weight, karat is gold metal fineness!

IMHO only the unscrupulous sellers and ignorant buyers believe
something that

is 62.5% NOT gold is gold. 9 kt does not look like gold. Does not
wear as gold.

And is all round crap.

The ignorant or unscrupulous will tell you that 9 karat gold is
better wearing than 18 carat gold. This is simply not true.

The simple scientific fact of the matter is it that 9kt is NOT
harder wearing/more durable than 18kt carat gold. Metal durability is
measured by what is called the Vickers scale where more durable
metals receive a higher Vickers score than less harder
wearing/durable metals.

9 karat gold has a Vickers scale rating ranging from 80 - 120.

18 karat gold has a Vickers hardness ranging from 135 - 165.

Thus science shows 18 karat is more durable than 9 karat gold.

Use 18 kt and you have credibility for quality metal fineness.
Quality stores DO NOT stock it!

18 kt yellow is also a most wonderful alloy to work.

Use 18 kt and have metal quality and respect from goldsmiths.


Check out Herbert Maryon"s book - many recipes for creating your own

Metalwork and Enamelling

I really like working with his “Best” 18 K yellow solder.

Regarding 9 ct. gold, I always ask my clients if they would drink
water that was only 37.5 % pure water. the rest unspecified liquids
! That gives them something to think about.

Steve Holden

Carat is used by UK, AUS and Arabic countries (excluding Egypt), and
"is" about metal fineness for those places. You say potato…

Australian standards say that 9 carat, or more correctly 375 parts
per thousand, “is” considered gold. It is not illegal, or
unscrupulous, and people wanting to buy 375 gold are not ignorant in
doing so. However in a country where the gold standard is set at 10k,
what you say is true. There are some places where the gold standard
is set even higher, and they would not consider 10k gold, as gold.

Other locations that consider 9 carat gold. gold are Northern
Europe, United Kingdom and Russia. There are probably more but I
don’t have the to hand. Just a FYI Germany can use 8
carat as gold :wink:

I wouldn’t say 9 carat is crap, it is difficult to use. especially
if you want a deep red gold. 9 carat has its uses, especially if you
like to experiment with metal colours, it allows you to play, because
it uses less fine gold to alloy the metal.

I totally agree that 18 carat is the best for durability, but I
treat jewellery more of an art form, so I use what materials I deem
necessary for the project. I will not stamp a piece to deceive a
customer, the customer knows exactly what they are getting, I hide

Regards Charles A.

Regarding 9 ct. gold, I always ask my clients if they would drink
water that was only 37.5 % pure water. 

Would you drink water that was only 75% pure?

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY

Al, I drink beer and wine. I’ve seen what fish do in water.

There’s a Terry Pratchett quote that goes something like “The water
was reputed to be the purest, as anything that has passed through so
many kidneys already has to be well filtered” Steve Holden

Regarding 9 ct. gold, I always ask my clients if they would drink
water that was only 37.5 % pure water. the rest unspecified
liquids ! That gives them something to think about. 

That’s a bad analogy.

People would be wanting to drink 100% water, and even the purest
gold isn’t 100% (Perth mint 1958 made the purest gold). Water isn’t
100% water either, but when you start asking analogous questions like
this you open yourself up to a lot of rubbish.

You should ask them something jewellery related, otherwise they’ll
think you’re being smart. Just keep it simple and give the customer
what they want.

Regards Charles A.

9 kt does not look like gold. Does not wear as gold. 

Richard, my experience with 9 kt gold is a little pinkie ring, set
with a small lapis cab, which I have worn 24/7 for the last 30 years.
It looks like gold to me (and to anyone else who sees it). The shank
is somewhat worn, but not worn out yet. I love it, and simply do not
care if I get “respect from goldsmiths” for wearing 18k gold.

Judy Bjorkman


just because 9 kt (ok ct is used also) is legal does not make it

Where I was trained, we did not call 9 kt crap we called it sh*t

Did a quick google could not find one quality jeweller who uses 9 kt
Cartier, Tiffany, etc all 18 kt.

Ignorant customers, my clients are shocked to find the 9 kt is over
60% copper, just the average person in Australia.

Educated customers KNOW 18 kt is the international quality standard.

Unless of course we are dealing with Asians to whom anything less
than 22 kt is not gold.

So for credibility 18 kt is the minimum.

Just set a 50 ct solid opal (open back of course) in 22kt for a
sophisticated European lady. She could not understand that 9 kt is
called gold.

Each to their own.


I wasn’t going to weigh in on this but I thought, sitting at my
bench, making up some wedding rings for men - all on consignment -
with 9ct gold inserts, for a stockist of mine, that I would like to
state the case for lower carat golds.

These rings are used as “samples” so people can see how their ring
would look; the feel and heft of them and the workmanship of the
particular jeweller/silversmith etc.

Rarely do you make up a ring that is exactly what a customer wants
and also miraculously fits; yippee when it does.

As all the pieces I make for stockists are on consignment, i. e.
paid for when and if sold and not before, to construct up to 1/2 a
dozen rings at a time with 18ct gold would be poor business sense on
my behalf. The samplers are often returned to me after a few years,
and I then re-cycle them or re- work them to create a new design.

If the customer wants it made up with any carat gold he/she chooses,
I will gladly purchase the materials.

If they chose a higher carat, I would enjoy working with a beautiful
metal, and take a picture at the finish. This is just good common

Cheers, Kathy.