Any tips for soldering Argentium jumprings into a chain? I am
using Argentium Hard solder, but it doesn't want to flow until the
underlying metal looks melted.
Are you successfully using this solder and your Argentium Sterling
(AS) on other projects and it works but doesn't seem to work here or
is this basically your first go at it and you're having problems? I
ask because it sounds like a flux problem to me. If that is the case
I'd advise checking the archives for at least one if not more
discussions we've had about fluxes and AS. There's also a post on my
blog entitled "Marty's flux tests" that might also be of interest.
But if you've soldered with these materials elsewhere and are
suddenly running into troubles that theory doesn't hold up so well.
There are a couple things I think worth mentioning though they don't
directly address you problem.
1: AS Hard solder has a working temp very close to that of Medium
grade regular sterling solder so you might want to watch the heat a
bit (it definitely sounds like you're overheating your chain links).
2: AS Hard grade solder has had a tendency to "ghost" (leave little
solder chip "scars" due to partial melting). In other words it can be
a little bit tricky to learn how to get the same results you're used
to elsewhere. In other words you might be getting some solder flow
but not complete melt. Contrary to one's intuition more heat is NOT
the solution here, but indirect heating might be.
Assuming you decide for whatever reason that you don't want to
investigate the flux angle on this problem (IOW, experimenting with
fluxes to find one that produces better results for you) I'd suggest
going in either of two possible directions. Either drop down to
Argentium Medium solder (there's really no good reason not to, the
joints are just as strong and the color match is virtually
indistinguishable from the Hard) OR work on the fusing angle. I think
Cythia Eid has reported quite satisfactory results with fusing AS, as
have others (Marty again? See his blog at
I tried reheating the fused links and separating them, but they
broke into pieces.
Two things come to mind here. The first is that if your AS is
brittle (once cooled) then that's a very good indication that you've
SERIOUSLY over-cooked it in which case you might need to back off on
the heat a good bit (probably means don't heat so much and for so
long). The other is that AS does not like to be moved about when it
is very hot (reddish or pink in color), it will come apart in just
the manner you've observed. If you're trying to separate those links
you might want to consider sawing out the faulty joint. I realize
this may not be a suitable solution in some cases but I've found it
worthwhile on occasion.
Hopefully some of the above will help you in addressing this
problem. Be patient. You're learning to use a new alloy so some
un-learning and re-learning is par for the course.
in The City of Light
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