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Why wouldn’t you use hard solder with 22k? It’s solidus is
around 1850 degrees F.

On bi-metal the layer of gold (no matter the K) is so thin that
if you overheat, the gold starts to alloy with the layer of
silver. At least this is the info that I was given by the
company and by my instructor. Gini

Hi, I’m new to the Orchid list (By the way, why is it called that?).
I’m not new to jewelry making though. I’ve been doing it for 27
years. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the questions and answers,
I’ve learned a lot already. I know I have a few questions I’d like
ask sometime. By the way on another issue, I used a hand held
propane canister torch for years, before I got a “little torch”. :slight_smile:
Although I certainly wouldn’t use one if I didn’t have to, it
definitely works. In fact I had a Vietnamese student that had always
soldered with a torch that was fueled by air that was generated by
pumping a pedal of some sort with his foot. He had the darndest
time getting the hang of oxygen and acetlyene. I don’t know how I
got off on all that. The whole reason I’m even writing was to
comment on the question of the silver sheet fused to the gold. The
sheet metal is called “Bi-Metal”. Hauser & Miller in St. Louis, MO.
sells it. There tele. # is 1-800-462-7447. It comes in 18kt yellow
gold on sterling, and 22kt. gold on sterling. They both only come in
20 and 24 gauge thickness. The max size they sell is 3" x 12". I’ve
used it for enameling. You have to be careful though. If you fire
it too many times it starts separating. Otherwise it’s pretty cool.
It has a lot of possibilities.

Hope that helps. ~Poppy Vincent~

Poppy - I was curious about your use of the bi-metal in enameling. I
had used it once or twice but I used it after I had rolled the sheet
thinner than when received from Hauser & Miller. My experience was
that the gold side didn’t hold up through even one or two firings?
Are you buying the bi-metal with the greatest gold thickness (if my
recollection serves me they have two different thicknesses of gold
bonded to the sterling - that might be only in the 18k/sterling but I
think it is also the 22k/sterling) - and how many times have you been
able to fire?? Have you used it for cloisonne? Would love to hear
your comments. Sherry

The concept of Bi-Metals was introduced a few years ago by Shining
Wave Metals with the 22K/Sterling combination. Although more
expensive it is bonded in a different way. This product is fused in
traditional Mokume-gane techniques. That means the layers are welded
and hot forged. The HM product is rolled under heat and pressure to
form the bond. This is not near as strong a bond. You might find the
original bi-metal more amenable to your manibulations. This, is of
course, available from, 800/876-3434.

These Bi-metals are available: 22K/sterling, shakudo/sterling,
shibuichi/sterling and copper/sterling. Plus
a variety of other more traditional multi layer mokume combinations.


Hi Sherry, I am just learning to enamel. In fact I’m hoping to
learn a lot more through this newsletter. I never seem to do anything
easy. It seems if it’s not difficult I’m bored. Anyway, having
enameled close to nothing, I tackled this 3"x4" dragonfly pin. It has
quite a few stones on it. I enameled the head and the wings. I used
the 18kt on silver bi-metal. I guess it was the thickest, I can’t
remember. I think its the gauge of the silver that changes not the
gold. Anyway, I used the bi-metal as the base for the whole bug and
soldered 18kt bezels on it. then made a head out of 14kt. I soldered
some of it together with 18kt hard solder, but found that IT melted
easier which surprised me. Like I said I’m new to enameling so I
think I got carried away. I’m sure I fired that thing at least 12 to
15 times, I don’t know maybe even 20! On my very last firing (Of
course) I took it out and there were dark grey stripes going across
the wings. I thought I was going to die. Of course I was mildly
hysterical for a couple of hours. I had spent several weeks on this
thing. It was going to represent my work in “The Made in Illinois
Catalog”. I could not figure out what in the world happened. I
called Sarah Perkins, who had been my teacher. She said she had never
used the stuff, but it sounded like the silver and gold had separated
and the oxidation from the silver had bled under the enamel. She saw
no hope and suggested I start over. You’ve got to be kidding, no way.
So I prayed, and I’m sure it was the Lord because I’m too stupid to
have known what to do. I had used transparents up till that time. I
decided to use an opaque lemon color, and sprinkle it in a somewhat
matching look on both wings to cover the black. Voila! It turned out
awesome! It looked even better than before I screwed it up. The
opaque on the transparents gave it a depth it didn’t have, and created
a subtle crackle that resembled wings. You can see him for yourself
at I also had a hard time with the bi-metal in
the fact that the gold seemed to want to melt away from the edges.
Although I was doing a lot of soldering using a very high heat solder.
I think I’ll use it again, but not in anything that’s near as
complicated. So I’m sure your eyes are glazed by now. I’m sure that
was way more than you needed and I’m not
sure if it was any help at all, but I hope so. ~Poppy~

I can attest to that. Check out this fabricated piece which required
considerable manipulation and multiple solderings.

I used the 22K/Sterling from Reactive Metals and recognizing the
potential risks, I was (somewhat) prepared for failure but pleasantly
surprised with the outcome.

Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix