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Copper colored solder

Hello, And I am thanking one and all in advance (the eternal
optimist). I was soldering my first bracelet today. Basically 22 ga.
copper jump rings soldered using ox/acetelene and Griffith flux. The
solder is the 1’ wide “copper colored” solder from Rio (a hard
solder). The problem is two fold: A) I was using very tiny pallions
of solder but quite often they would not “melt” cleanly to form the
little spinning globule. I cleaned the solder by “scuffing and
shining” on my buffer to make it shiny. I also had it on a fire brick
for melting and I used a stainless steel bike spoke, sharpened to a
point (as I cannot find one of the three titanium picks that I
bought) to pick it up. All too often there was a “fluff” that refused
to burn away, and often it would snap, crackle, or pop, and then
disappear. I probably did a “no-no” by using some of them anyway, and
it worked, but… why were some so difficult to melt into a ball? B)
I use a Smith Mini-torch and “eyeball” my tip according to the stock
that I am using. I think I know my tip/ heat range/ gauge
combination. And, I know if I adjust my flame they may not be so apt
to blow away, but with 25-30 jump rings to solder, one should not
have to readjust the flame each time picking up a pallion. The
problem comes in by using very small pallions in that the "whoosh"
from the torch can sometimes blow them away. I try to use little
nooks and indents in the brick as stops, but that doesn’t always
work, esp. when they “pop.” I know experience is the best teacher
that I’ve got available, but just looking for all of the collective
insight and knowledge as to how to not re-invent the wheel for
soldering. By the way, for what it’s worth: watching the the two
sides of my bronze melt and then join together the first time ( and
keep a perfect arc w/no collapse) was as good of a “high” as any I’ve
ever had in my 52 yrs. on this Earth.


Recently made a post myself on the same subject, or nearly the same
subject and have pretty much the same observation. I am also using a
Smith Little torch for this project.

  1. Getting pallions to stay put, I use Pripps, but, I put on the
    pallion, coat with Pripps and heat slowly to let the moisture bake
    off. The crust holds the pallions in place. Balling like silver does
    not happen for me, I have to heat my project to the point my solder
    melts to get a good flow.

  2. Crust, some of mine did the same thing, it comes off easily
    though. It almost seems like an oxide that formed. Sometime the crust
    that forms has to be sanded, but I have not had that big of a problem
    with it yet. One thing I have noticed is that, the smaller the
    pallion, the more likely it is to crust. Made one piece of 28 gauge
    solder, and it was useless. I also tried filing my mix, that was
    really a bust.

  3. I have not tried the solder from Rio, I tried several other
    makes, but 1 fellow on here suggested that he added about 10% silver
    to his copper to get it to pour well for casting. It made a fair
    solder, I am up to 13% in my experiments. Seems to work ok, but the
    guy who suggested Rose Gold may have the ticket. Being cheap though,
    I am going to beat the alloy idea to death first.

  4. Making little balls of copper, I would try the copper silver mix
    for this, it balls very nicely off on its own.

I do have one question though, how do you harden up 22 gauge copper
after soldering, mine always goes soft, everything I have done so far
is fairly thick, like 20 gauge and up.

Good luck to ya…


Hi Micheal,

It sounds like the pallions of solder crackle and pop because they
are over-heated and the zinc or other volatile element is boiling or
burning. Picking up pallions after melting them into a ball is the
quickest way, but is not good for the hard high temperature solders.
Try having the solder pick coated in flux, then heating the solder
pick to melt the flux and pick up the pallions without melting them.
With the torch held further back and using more of the flame wash
instead of the direct flame, they should stick to the melted flux
without melting themselves. They do tend to drop off as the flux
cools, so they must be carried swiftly to their destination.

Pallions blowing away is a constant hassle and I find that if I
spread them out on the tile, then starting with the furthest pallion
from the torch, trap the selected victim with the pick, and pick it
up as just mentioned without melting it.

Placing the pallion onto the object:- have the object hot enough for
the flux to be melted, or nurse the pallion until the flux melts,
then press it through the flux and into contact with the object on
the seam. As long as the pallion is in firm contact with the object
it cannot melt into a ball, but will melt when the object is hot
enough for the solder to flow into the seam. The pallion can be held
in place with the pick while heating the object, but this is not
practical if multiple pallions are used. I find that if each pallion
has been pressed into contact with the object, most of them will stay
in contact. Any that are not will ball up; let them solidify, give
them another press, then continue heating the object.

Hope this helps.

Michael, I can offer the following advice, for what it’s worth.

–There is no need to use oxy-acetylene; it’s much hotter than
needed, especially since you are using 22-gauge wire and tiny
paillons. Acetylene alone (or even propane) is hot enough.

–If you must pre-clean the solder, wiping the sheet with alcohol
should be enough. If there was buffing compound on your wheel, you
probably added greasy material, rather than removing it. Maybe that
would explain the difficulty you had in getting the solder to melt

–If the Rio copper solder is the one I think it is, you’ll notice
that Rio says that the join will be greyish in color (which is true
of every “copper” solder I’ve seen), i.e., they’re all greyish, in
the end. Personally, I prefer the gold color of brazing rods, if the
join is going to be at all visible. It’s a little trickier to use
because its melting point is higher, but practice makes perfect!
Incidentally, I use the smallest-diameter brazing rod, hammer it out,
and cut it into paillons with my aviation snips. Don’t get the
copper-colored brazing rods; they are grey inside.

–Why not try fusing the copper jump rings? Set up more than you
need, and if you have some failures, you’ll still have enough to use.
I like Grifflux, but you might also try the black flux (available in
welding stores) which is meant for higher temperatures than the
silver-soldering fluxes.

–Have you gone into the Orchid Archives and searched for copper
solders? Lots of info there, including the pre-1980 penny

HTH – Judy Bjorkman

Generally with that gauge and diameter wire I rely on a very slight
hammering on the face of the jump ring while it is lying flat on a
flat steel surface. This I do after the piece is soldered. My guess
is two fold in regards to the hammering: A) it may harden slightly
due to the hammering, B) the “flat” surface created by my hammering
gives it a rigidity similar to the “ribbing” effect as in automotive
body work, air plane wings, or machine castings. I could be wrong,
as I say, this is from my experience and I could be “off base” (GO
BREWERS) in my thinking. Thanks for the interest. If anyone would
like to look at my site, I’d be pleased… and feedback
(constructive) is always appreciated.