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