Well, I’ve finally done it. I sent off (nearly) all of my old
sterling scrap and stock and replaced it with Argentium stock.
I’ve read and re-read Cynthia’s article and Trevor’s blog (thank you
I’ve been working with the new product this week and have some
observations and questions I don’t recall in the I’ve
been able to read.
Spent paillons often have rounded corners but look as though they
have not really melted at all while the joint has been soldered. They
do seem to melt better if I actually hit them with the torch about
the time they’re ready to go, just as Trevor said. I’m using Rio’s
Argentium sheet solder.
An average paillon of solder travels much farther in a seam than
the standard alloys did, even while the paillon appears still intact!
This also leads me to want to snip the paillons much smaller than I
did with the regular silver solders.
The soldered seams do not show the fillet I’m used to with regular
sterling and the joints are more obvious - almost porous/pitted. I
must be doing something wrong here but it certainly isn’t a lack of
available solder (see above). Could it be that I’m OVER-heating the
solders by keeping the flame on the area too long, expecting the
solder to visibly melt and flow? I’ve worked with very low light as
well but don’t see the flash in the seam I’m used to with regular
When fabricating something with a bit of size, say an inch 1/2 or
more in one dimension, is it reasonable to think a Meco Midget’s
flame will properly expose the Argentium Sterling to enough oxygen to
develop its protective oxide layer? I am just beginning to use the
Oxy/Propane Meco and am not proficient with it at all. Using a more
oxidizing flame increases the danger of my seriously over-heating or
even melting the stuff. I am instead relying more on my dirty old
acetylene/air torch to be sure the metals get plenty of heat and
oxygen without spot-burning. Maybe I have too many variables going
here and should stick with the acetylene until I get the Argentium
quirks figured out then switch torches?
It seems the Argentium is not as forgiving as regular sterling in
that a freshly filed/sanded surface doesn’t seem clean enough to
allow solder to flow - even the flux seems to bead up as on a dirty
surface unless I degrease these freshly abraded areas. I notice this
with either fuel.
Most of the other features have been “as advertised” and so far I
love not having to coat with firescale preventative and that it
polishes up so nicely. I agree with Trevor that the finish process
seems to go more smoothly after heat precipitation. I’m using my
(just cleaned) toaster oven.
I’m looking forward to great happiness with the Argentium Sterling.
However, if anyone can shed some light on my difficulties and
shorten my learning curve in the meantime, I’ll be much indebted.