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Argentium solder bubbling on flow


#1

I make jewelry from jump rings, and many of the ring joins are
soldered. I was very happy to start converting to Argentium rings
and solder a couple of years ago, as the rings didn’t need to be
fluxed. All was well until last July when I started to encounter a
problem that now occurs with nearly all the joins I make. Here’s my
process and some things I’ve tried in brief. Any suggestions or info
would be greatly appreciated!

Take Argentium wire solder out of plastic bag it’s stored in, cut a
piece and lightly go over with green scrubbie to remove the
discoloration. (Yes, the solder came discolored, especially the
easy.) One pass through the rolling mill to flatten a bit, then cut
up. Ring to be soldered is held in cross-lock tweezers, join at noon
position.

Touch solder pick to flux then to pick up a piece of solder. Join is
heated lightly with Oxy-Acetylene Little Torch (#4 tip), solder
applied to top edge of ring at join line, and flame returned to heat
join. The solder normally doesn’t melt at once, but takes a second or
two. Flame is removed just after flow of solder. The solder on the
underside of the join, that is, toward the inside of the ring, is not
smooth but has the appearance of fine sandpaper, or maybe fine
bubbles. It doesn’t pickle off, doesn’t tumble finish off, and cannot
be smoothed by reheating.

I’ve tried cleaning all my equipment, Grifflux (to pick up the
solder piece), My-T-Flux (to pick up the solder and applied to the
join), heating longer before I touch the solder to the ring. It
doesn’t matter if the ring and solder are fresh out of the package,
the surface is still rough.

Since I do not get the problem when I use regular sterling rings and
solder, I will in the short term have to hope that using regular
sterling solder with the Argentium will avoid the problem.

Thank you for any help!
Beth Kelly


#2

Hi Beth,

A few suggestions:

  1. Flux the joint. While it is neither necessary nor desirable to
    flux the whole ring (unless a charcoal block is being used), flux is
    very helpful at the solder or fuse joint.

  2. Clean the solder after rolling it in the rolling mill.

  3. Try fusing the rings:

    A. make sure the metal touches at the joint.
    B. Flux
    C. Heat the joint with a torch.

I think you will like the fused joint, as it is smooth, and quick
and easy to do, since it eliminates the steps of preparing, cutting,
and applying solder.

Please do let us know whether any of these suggestions is helpful.

Best wishes,
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#3

Hi Beth,

Take Argentium wire solder out of plastic bag it's stored in, cut
a piece and lightly go over with green scrubbie to remove the
discoloration. (Yes, the solder came discolored, especially the
easy.) One pass through the rolling mill to flatten a bit, then
cut up. Ring to be soldered is held in cross-lock tweezers, join at
noon position. 

You might want to try paste solder for soldering links in a chain.
No flux is needed, it’s mixed with the solder in the paste.

It can be applied directly to the joint. It stays where it’s put.

Past solder is available in hard, medium, easy, & extra easy. A
source of good paste solder is myuniquesolutions.com. Usual
disclaimers, just a very satisfied customer.

Dave


#4

Hello Beth,

I can’t say I’ve had the problem you describe with AS solder and use
it on all sterling. Have you tried fusing your AS jump rings?? Once
you get the hang of it, fusing is really fast. It’s very important
that the join be tight, but that’s important anyway. I believe
Cynthia Eid has given step-by-step directions for fusing - Google her
name and fusing Argentium. Here is the article she posted on Orchid

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/cynthia-eids-tips-for-soldering-argentium-silver

Give it a try. AS fuses very nicely. You can do it! Judy in Kansas,
who will be back in the flat lands by supper time.