Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cascade Flux


#1

Hi,

Someone posted a recipe for flux which included cascade, borax, and
boric acid. Can someone please repost the exact measurements?

Many thanks,

Jeffrey Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation
PO Box 72839
Providence, RI 02907
401/461-6840
Fax: 401/461-6841
E-mail: @Jeffrey_Herman1
Web: http://www.silversmithing.com/silver


#2

I’ve tried the Cascade option and was unhappy with the results, the
Cascade has a small amount of TSP in it, hence it’s use, it’s better
to simply go with the Prip’s and use TSP:

Peter W.Rowe :

  {snip} The reason prips is not in the catalogs is that it's a
  simple recipe that you make yourself with boric acid, borax,
  and TSP, dissolved in water.   In a quart of water, dissolve
  60 grams or so, of borax, and 60 grams of TSP.  Add 90 grams
  of boric acid.   You can play with these amounts as you like. 
  The important point is that there are two parts each of borax
  and TSP to three parts of boric acid.  Note that it has to be
  actual TSP, trisodium phosphate, or another of the sodium
  phosphates (monosodium phosphate or disodium phosphate),
  rather than one of the other various cleaning agents sold in
  the paint departments of hardware stores which substituted for
  TSP.  Since TSP is a phosphate, it can cause water pollution
  problems (algae growth), which led to the marketing of the
  many substitutes.  But in most parts of the country, TSP is
  still available.  Just read the labels carefully.  borax you
  get in the laundry aisle, labeled borateem and sold as a
  detergent.  Or, some of the store brand cheap detergents are
  the same, for even less money.   Boric acid is sometimes sold
  as roach powder, or you can buy it in pharmacies or jewelery
  tools supply places. 

  They key to using this right is to apply it with a sprayer, to
  metal that you've already warmed up enough that the spray
  dries to a thin even white crust as it hits the metal, rather
  than going on wet and boiling away.  You put on a thin even
  white crust on all surfaces of the sterling, and THEN add just
  a little paste type (or other) soldering flux to just the
  joints.   Unless you heat the sterling WAY too hot, the prips
  flux glaze that forms when it's heated will protect the silver
  from any oxidation, even through several soldering steps if
  you don't quench the piece or otherwise wash off the flux.
  {snip}

#3
   I've tried the Cascade option and was unhappy with the results,
the Cascade has a small amount of TSP in it, hence it's use, it's
better to simply go with the Prip's and use TSP: 

I’ve been writing about prips flux here on orchid, and on the
rec.crafts.jewelry newsgroup for almost 9 years now, I think, and
I’d like to think it’s more frequent discussion here online might in
small part be due to my little writings on the subject. So
obviously, I’m hooked on the stuff.

But. the formula with cascade was, as I recall, called frips, in
honor of Fred 46enster, who’d come up with it as a derivative of
prips, which was named for 46reds colleague, Jack Prip. Now, the
thing is, Fred Fenster is the guy who first taught me about prips
flux, and at the time he did so, he too was, or seemed to be, totally
addicted to the prips formula. I still use prips flux in exactly the
way Fred taught us, way back in (gasp. has it been that long?) 1972.

So if it was Fred Fenster who came up with what he believes is an
improvement on prips, by using Cascade instead of TSP, then I’d be
very slow to discount it. 46red is a rather prominent and skilled and
knowledgeable smith, teacher, and innovator, not someone who’s
kitchen chemistry is worthy of quick dismissal.

On the other hand, I looked at a locally (Seattle) purchased box of
Cascade, and noted that it’s label, while not giving actual chemical
analysis, did mention a phosphate content that’s way too low for it
to be mostly TSP, as I believe the initial posts on this flux
suggested.

I believe that what we’re seeing here are regional differences in
the formulation of Cascade. Some states and locations legislate the
amount of phosphate that can be in detergents and similar household
cleaning products. Reducing the phosphate usually results in either a
more costly product, or a less effective one, so manufacturers seem
to market two or more different versions of various products of this
type. In states/locactions where they’re not limited in how much
phosphate they can include, they use the older phosphate containing
formulas. In areas where it’s restricted, the products then have a
different formula. So Cascade in one place may not be the same as in
another. If memory serves, Wisconsin (where Fred taught) didn’t
limit phosphates. Here in Seattle, where not only are our drinking
water supplies derived from mostly surface watershed sources (unlike
the deep aquifer wells in Madison Wisconsin), but surface streams are
also critically important to local fish populations, including
endangered salmon populations. So phosphate containing products are
hard to find indeed around here, and may be similarly so in Mr.
Woooley’s location, or that of others who’ve also had poor results
with this flux.

I don’t know the actual formulation of Cascade, normally, but would
not be at all surprised if a full phosphate version had a lot of TSP.
That’s an almost ideal cleaner for that type of use. I would also
expect, but don’t know, that it might also include various other
wetting agents, or sheeting agents to prevent streaking and enhance
cleaning of the dishes. I would expect such additives to aid in the
application of the flux, and help it to not pull away from metal that
might not be perfectly clean, etc. If that guess is true, then frips
flux might easily outperform traditional prips.

If anyone has a bit of the working version of frips, or just the
cascade product they know works, I’d appreciate a small sample to try
out and compare…

Cheers
Peter Rowe


#4

"Cascade flux " questions, or, Fripps Fabulous Flux

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long (health problems, SAD, etc!) to
respond to the person who asked about the original post (which I
made) and who couldn’t find it in the archives. The thread is called
"Fripps Fabulous Flux" and my post, which contains the recipe, is the
first in the thread.

Peter, I do have a bottle of the flux, which we made in Chris
Hentz’s class, but I don’t have the energy to ship it out (I don’t
suppose you live near Benicia…). Sorry about that too. Somebody
sent me an MDS from Australia that said Cascade contained 30%
phosphate, 5-10% sodium metasilicate, and 5% chlorine based bleaching
agent.

I haven’t been doing any soldering, but I may be going back to it
fairly soon, and I am now concerned about these ingredients. For
"ecological" reasons, I don’t use phosphates or chlorine unless I
absolutely have to. I know that Chris specified “the green box”, and
that he lives in Louisiana, but I have no idea if Cascade’s formula
changes by state, etc. What I am going to do is send your post to
Chris–maybe he knows the answer.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA


#5

The stuff we have, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and that I
tried had phosphates listed as 7% . . . must be the regional
differences mentioned earlier.

David Woolley


#6
 . Somebody sent me an MDS from Australia that said Cascade
contained 30% phosphate, 5-10% sodium metasilicate, and 5% chlorine
based bleaching agent. 

If that is accurate for the mix you and Chris made, then I think
that demonstrates my suspicion of different formulas for states that
might restrict phosphate in detergents. Locally, Cascade (which is
also in the same green box), says right on it that the phosphate
content is much lower than you list. 30 percent is about what I’d
expect if sodium phosphate were a main ingredient. Instead, the
locally sold boxes list it as something like 17 percent or so (I
don’t recall the exact number, but it’s being in that range is what
aroused my suspicions that it wouldn’t be the same.

   I haven't been doing any soldering, but I may be going back to
it fairly soon, and I am now concerned about these ingredients. For
"ecological" reasons, I don't use phosphates or chlorine unless I
absolutely have to. 

Remember that phosphate per se, is not a toxin ecologically. It
acta as a fertilizer. In some locations, this does nothing more than
make local water plants thrive. In some, however, it can change
ecological balances, and those are the areas where it’s a concern.
Chlorine, in low concentrations, is much less a concern. Once it’s
concentration is low enough, such as in most waste water where it’s
highly diluted, it will be quickly neutralized by sunlight and local
minerals in the water. Some levels of it are already occurring
there naturally. It’s higher levels that might cause problems. So
again, whether it’s cause for concern depend on local water drainage
patterns, and the local conditions. Whether you need avoid either
chemical will depend on your local conditions. It’s not automatic
that either are a concern. Check them out with local information
sources, and act accordingly. But avoid the knee jerk reaction of
assuming they must be bad just because they are a chemical in a green
box. Things just don’t work that way.

  I know that Chris specified "the green box", and that he lives in
Louisiana, but I have no idea if Cascade's formula changes by
state, etc. What I am going to do is send your post to Chris--maybe
he knows the answer. 

Or, perhaps I’ll just ask him in person, when I see him at the SNAG
convention. Chris and I have known each other since he and I were
both students at Cranbrook in the 70s.

Cheers
Peter


#7

I just checked a Cascade box and the Phosphate content is listed as
being 6.4 percent, the Phosphate content on a box ot TSP is listed at
7.0 percent being elemental Phosphate these Items were found here in
Tennessee so apparently there is a reigonal difference that no one
had considered when they concocted the fripps flux, It may have
worked well with the Cascade from their grocers shelvs but not so in
quite a few other areas. I wonder if a person in California even
knows what Phosphates are??

Kenneth Ferrell
www.shadras.com