[Beginners' Corner] solder formulas

Hi There, should anyone know how to making silver , gold,white gold &
Pt solder,(in hard,medium & soft) recipes? and would like to share
with us(orchid member) or anyknow where to find out this information
on the net or introduct a book which contain such data !

i shall appriciate if you folk there post this out .


Take a look through Jeweler’s Resource by Bruce G. Knuth (ISBN:
0-9643-5500-0) It gives a chart with the composition of various
solders for silver. Not for gold or platinum though. Regards,

Hanuman’s Note: And don’t forget to browse the Orchid Archive as
well :slight_smile:

Paul, Try United Precious Metals at 1-800-999-3463 they have solder
alloys. Here is a thought. A few years back a jeweler friend of mine
was very excited becouse he had found alloys to make gold solder and
was saving money by making his own solder. I asked him how long it
took to make an ounce of solder, roll it, cut it et al. He said only a
couple of hours. The upshot of it was that the refiners were charging
only a couple dollars a penny weight over gold price for solder. He
was making 25 to 50 an hour as a model maker and jeweler. It was not
cost effective for him to make his own solder. He had more work than
he could do in the shop most of the time and was trying to save pennys
and losing dollars. Make sure your are saving money. The refiners are
very effficient and very cost effective. Good luck and happy
soldering. Frank (usual disclaimer goes here)

Frank, you make a good case relative to the cost effectiveness of
making one’s own solder. I notice that several orchidians are
alloying their own gold and rolling it into sheet and wire, in the
belief that they save considerably over the cost of purcasing ready
milled gold. Before I embark on the challenge of alloying and
rolling the two 24kt gold pieces I have I would like some input. As
you point out, one’s time is valuable, and perhaps it would be
better for me to trade them in on some sheet and wire that is
already milled. Reading about the problems people have with gold
cracking during milling, and porosity, I am loathe to just jump in
and start smelting. Will appreciate comments on this. The specific
question is": Will I really be saving money alloying, melting and
rolling my own, or should I just have it done by the guys (or gals)
who know what they are doing.Thanks for all your help. Alma

Alma: I don’t recccommend making your own solder but I do make my
own sheet and wire stock. The milling costs do justify making your own
stock as well as the inventory cost of keep a large variety of gold
wire or sheet on hand. Also I always use the same refiner for my
alloys thus insuring that all my gold stock matches in color. I find
that I get much more precise sizes of wire when I do my own milling. I
use my drawplate which may or may not produce standard sizes. The
sizes are however constant and known. I use my own mill ( an Italian
mill of high quality ) to roll my own sheet. I can then roll any
quantity or size I need. This also provides a use for my casting
buttons when I do not have a casting. Much more efficient use of
materials to be able to change the form as I need it. Some practice
and learning are necessary to insure as quality product from your own
mills, but well worth the investment in equipment and learning time.
Frank Goss (helps to keep the material cost down and gives me
something physical to do away from the bench)

Will I really be saving money alloying, melting and
rolling my own, or should I just have it done by the guys (or gals)
who know what they are doing.Thanks for all your help. Alma  

I buy only 24K. This way I have no need to stock any other color or
karat. When necessary, I can alloy down 18K to 14k. My total stock of
raw gold in the shop including bench sweeps stays under 10 ounces
except when I might need a particularly large amount of gold for a
particular job. Alloying is easy and quick. The smallest amount that
I will make is about 5 dwt. There is really no maximum. There is also
no question about what goes into my alloys. I do not use solders with
cadmium any more. I also stick to plumb solders. On remelting my
scrap, I can be sure that there will be no lessening of karat value.
As for whether solder causes pitting, huhhh?? WHy when the molten
metal is completely mixed would the solder gather together to form
pits? Other flaws in the metal I have come to understand. This one
escapes me, however. I worked in a trade shop in my first six years
on the bench. There, we did no alloying. All alloying was done by
Hoover & Strong. When well stocked I think that we were sitting on 10
ounces of 5x1.5mm square sizing stock in both white and yellow, 5
ounces of 2x1.5mm half round sizing stock in both white and yellow, a
couple to fifty ounces of 8 ga. sheet in white and yellow, a little
18K yellow bulk, a little pink and I can’t remember what else. Gold
was a lot cheaper back then, but i suspect that they still could have
used that money packing their inventory a little better. I thought
that I might save some labor by buying prefab sheet recently from
large unnamed supplier recently when I needed the metal overnight. I
was a little more than shocked by the price. It was something like
25-30% higher than market. Quite a premium for the convenience in my

Bruce Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler

Alma, I once made all my own alloyed gold and loved doing it. I was
able to create wonderfully supple and beautifully colored alloys.
Once I got busy though I found it to my benifit to buy more of the
metal already milled. However, I found it irritating that I would
always have several ounces of gold and platinum sizes that were never
used. So now I buy large round, square and sheet stock (usually 2
gauge and 2mm thick plate) and then roll and draw down to the sizes I
most often use or need at the time. I wouldn’t trade the knowledge
and familiarity of the metal that I learned when I alloyed my own
products for the world. In my ideal world I would do everything from
scratch but you reach a point where you have to draw the line if you
want to keep up with orders!

Larry Seiger

Alma. There is one advantage to being able to make your own gold
sheet and wire is that you can produce what you need on the spot
instead of waiting for an order for metal to be processed and
delivered. This can be very useful in the fury of a creative burst
or in meeting some impossible deadline. I don’t have cracking or
porosity problems making yellow or pink sheet and wire out of 24K and
refiner’s alloy. (I use a refiner’s alloy for mixing the carat and
color I want.) I don’t have problems reusing leftover scraps of
solderless sheet and wire either, but I do have problems when I am
making white gold or using casting scraps. Making a small ingot and
rolling it out might make 15 minutes which makes sense for me.
However rolling out ingots larger than one ounce don’t seem worth the
time invested, though I will still do it in a pinch.

Anthony Toepfer
Keene, NH

Hello Bruce! Many jewelers feel the time spent alloying and rolling
are better left to the refiners. Horsepucky! I suppose we sound like
dinsaurs, those of us that do! I also purchase solder alloy and make
in 3 to 5 dwt amounts. It takes about 20 minutes to pour and roll.

I dont, have to buy gold sheet or sizing stock.I make my own.I send
all my scrap and filings to the refiner and get 24k back and alloy
what I need.Just got back nine ounces and that should last me a bit.I
make sizing stock and sheet according to my needs so I have very
little metal inventory hanging around.I still have to keep a large
supply of findings and odd stuff I just have shipped next day.I roll
white also.Platinum. I buy sizing stock for reshanks and sizings.Most
platinum customs I do are cast and I farm the casting out.
Regards J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio

Frank, you make a good case relative to the cost effectiveness of
making one’s own solder…

Dear Alma, All these arguments have merit. I’ve been in this field for
thirty years now. Along the journey, there was a period of about ten
years, during which I felt that to be a more “pure” craftsman, I would
be more intimately in touch with my medium if I was in charge of ALL
it’s transformations from raw material to finished work. I researched
every source of I could find on the subject (There is much
more readily available these days than back then). I
experimented. Most of the time I got a workable product. After a while
I began to be able to manipulate the results with some confidence. I
learned A LOT from the experience of alloying my own metals and
preparing my own solder. You will not regret the time spent on this
kind of learning. Gold and silver are not totally lost in failed
alloys. You can always refine it again. Go forth and discover.

Ken Weston

Ken, Good to hear. And by the way, when you speek about the various
gold alloys, and when you get the feeling for it, you can acheive the
colour that you want personally. I never regret any minute which I
spent on alloying my own metal. Lerned me a lot.

Kind regards
Niels L�vschal, Jyllinge, Denmark
phone (+45) 46 78 89 94