Copper solder

I don’t know about you teacher, but we were always taught to use
easy silver solder, then plate the piece in a bath of
contaminated pickle when the piece was all finished. <<

Hey, what a GREAT idea! Knew that a contaminated pickle bath was
good for someting.

Thanks Tim.


Carol said,

But has anyone worked with solder paste? What is the
difference, if any??? <<

I’ve never used ‘copper paste’ solder, but I use sterling paste
all the time. It is great for soldering chain links.

Basically paste solder is a combination of powdered solder, flux
& a liquid vehicle, usually glycerine. It’s sold in syringes, 1
oz for sterling & 1 dwt for gold. Many suppliers furnish 2
hypodermic type needles, 18 & 20 ga, with each syringe. When it’s
extruded from the syringe, it’s very easy to control the amount &
location to which the solder is applied. Because its kind of
’stickey’ it tends to stay in place a little better than chips or
pallions. Mostly I use it for soldering jump rings & links for
chain. For most other soldering I like chips, balls & pallions.

Paste solder is generally available in Easy, Medium & Hard. It
may be available in other temps, but I’ve not needed it so I
haven’t looked for it.


You can buy it from Rio Grande. However I once ordered the
minimum quantity and now have more than a lifetime supply. I
would happily send you some, and if you are really nice you could
reimburse me for the postage.
If you are interested, contact me off list. Michael Parkin

Helene, do you need a copper-colored solder, or just any hard
solder that works on copper, regardless of color? For a copper
color, I got a great idea off this great list a while back, and
it works fine: take a pre-1981 penny, hammer it out thin and
cut it into paillons of any desirable size; flux and solder.
This is (so far) the only “solder” which I’ve found that is
actually copper in color. The copper solder (phos-copper?)
advertised in several jewelry supply catalogs, even though it is
99% copper, still yields a grey seam. If you don’t care about
seam color, then any brass solder or silver solder should work
fine for copper. Another person on this list suggested that the
diffferent seam colors could theoretically be part of the
piece’s design. Good luck, and thanks again to all you helpful
folks! Judy Bjorkman @JLBjorkman

Is there a solder I can use on copper that won't turn gray?  I'd
like to do some work in copper but the only copper solder I know of
turns gray and says it shouldn't be used on visible joints. 

Check the Orchid Archives for previous discussion on this. I have
found that the pre-1981 copper pennies, pounded out and cut up into
paillons, are the best color match. But their melting point is very
close to that of pure copper, so plan carefully.

Judy Bjorkman

I have had some success with a type of solder called Fos-Flo #7. I
bought it at IJS in Albuquerque. It’s advertised in their catalog as
producing a light copper colored seam when used correctly. In my
experience it’s a pretty good solder but you have to be very careful
not to overheat the stuff. If you overheat it it tends to, well, I
call it “flash”. You still get a fairly decent join but it leaves a
silver colored stain that’s a bear to get out. However, IF you
control your heat carefully, it won’t “flash” on you and it does
produce what I think is a light copper colored seam as advertised.
It just takes a little practice with the torch, solder and some
copper to get it right. Here’s a bit of data on it:

Melting temp: 1310F or 710C
Flow temp: 1350F or 730C
Composition: 92.75% copper, 7.25% phosphorus

I use good old handy-flux with good success. Hope this helps or at
least provides another option for your consideration. I don’t work
for IJS or anyone else for that matter. This stuff just works for


I have made solder to fill holes torn in a large piece of copper by
makeing an alloy of 90% CU and 10%AG I worked very well and the color
difference was negligible…Owen

Alternatively you could use standard silver solder and then copper
plate the solder. Wrap some iron around your soldered copper piece
and dump it into an old (i.e. nice and green from pickling copper)
pickle solution. I use vinegar and salt pickle. The solder is then
copper plated.

Plating idea from one of Tim McCreight’s books… thanks Tim!


    I have had some success with a type of solder called Fos-Flo
#7. [snip] ... I use good old handy-flux 

Fos-Flo doesn’t require any flux at all for copper to copper joins.
Phosphorus is the de-oxidiser.

Brian Adam

Have been struggling to find the best solution (and quickest,
neatest and yet durable) solution to the “soldering copper w/ no
apparent silver seams”.

Tried to no avail to use the pre-1980 pennies. The piece I’m working
on is VERY large and the temp I’d have to bring it to is dicey when
soldering a large copper bezel to large copper sheet. Experimented
and didn’t like the results.

Sooo…back to plating in the pickle or rose gold solder. To avoid
using the rose gold solder for a copper project, I went back to the
plating solution. While holding the silver-solder- joined piece in
the pickle w/ copper tongs, I slowly immersed a pair of steel
tweezers into the pickle, right up next to the join. NOTHING! Yikes!
Rose gold solder? This project is too big to use all of that gold
solder! Tried again using the street sweeper “bristles” I’ve picked
up while walking Scooter. Viola!!! Beautiful bright copper-plated
solder seam! It pickled away the next time it was heated and immersed
in the pickle w/out the steel bristle, but now know what I’m going to
do when whole piece is complete. You could actually see the pickle
acid working the steel bristle, and watch the plating happen.

Thanks again, Orchid contributors, for the stimulation and answers.

Kay Taylor

Tried again using the street sweeper "bristles" I've picked up
while walking Scooter. Viola!!! Beautiful bright copper-plated
solder seam! 

You can get the same results by wrapping a few turns of binding wire
around your finished piece and tossing it in used pickle. It would
probably also work to hold the piece in your steel tweezers, unless
thay are stainless steel. But the binding wire is best, in my

BTW, Indian Jewelry’s Fos-flow #7, which is intended for copper, is
the best match I’ve found but is still more gray than it is


Hello Orchidans

I have a problem and need some suggestions.

I am trying to back a copper bracelet, but the bracelet has a void
where it tried to crack apart.

The end of the bracelet had 3 magnets which has been removed and
that is what caused the problem.

Is there a copper colored solder that I am unaware of?

Is there a way to conceal the edge without using silver colored

The silver color on the cracked area is where I have taken off the
silver solder but I haven’t polished that area yet.

Any suggestions?

Veva Bailey

Sorry for the size, but something just wants to attach the 222
pictures instead of these four.

I would try rose gold solder. Should be a descent match in color

You might try either one of these.

They might work for you. I’ve tried the first and it works fairly

Once it flows it needs some more heat to turn to a copper color. It
is not quit a match but very close. The second in new and I have
never tried it.


You can find solder

Linda Minor

Veva, I suggest you go to Rio… they have copper solder.

Also, at your local welding shop you can find phos-copper which is a
combination of phosphorous and copper. It comes in 2’ lengths but be
careful there are different alloys. Get the phos-copper number 0. It
has no silver in it… the other numbers 1-3 all have various amounts
of copper in them. Also get a can of 'Stay-sliv" flux. it is very
high temp flux and will not burn away as the copper solders. All of
the fluxes that I know of for soldering silver will be long gone
before the copper solder flows.

Cheers from Don at the Charkes Belle Studio in SOFL.

I’ve used copper paste solder occasionally. You can usually find it
at home improvement stores. Good luck.

You can weld it and fill any cracks with copper melted from wire.
You need to find someone with a laser or micro-TIG welder like
Orion’s. I have one, and this is a normal job.

They might work for you. I've tried the first and it works fairly
Once it flows it needs some more heat to turn to a copper color.
It is not quit a match but very close. The second in new and I have
never tried it. 

These are references to Rio Grande’s catalog. Here’s what Rio has to
say about the first suggestion:

please note:  Because this solder is grey in color, it is not a
good color match on visible joints. 

And here’s what they say about the second suggestion:

It has a light brassy color that blends well with just about any

But thanks, Charles D., for the suggestion about applying more heat
for a better coppery color. And thanks to Rio for being detailed
about\ the color of the solders.

Judy Bjorkman

Hi everyone,

I saw a ditty in a magazine about copper plating silver solder very

After soldering dip a handmade Qtip made of a small bit of steel
wool into a bit of old blue pickle, and dab it on the silver and it
will turn a matching copper shade. Works really neat!

Marilyn Cook