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Copper solder


There was recently on Orchid or in a Ganoksin document a description
of how to use spent pickle to plate copper out of the pickle on to a
piece to cover the solder seams. I tried finding it, but can’t.
Maybe someone else can remember how or where the post is. Rob

Rob Meixner

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

A potential problem with using any gold-containing solder on base
metal is that, as the copper gradually colors, the solder is likely
to stay perky and bright (and very visible).

Judy Bjorkman


Using spent pickle to cooper plate is easy just put a piece of steel
into the pickle. Helps if it is heated first. That is the reason you
never use steel tongs in your pickle. Some stainless steels will not
cause the reactionso a plane steel nail will work great.


You are correct Judy.

I was assuming that they would keep it polished. Copper plating it
would help solve the problem or simply alloying your own copper
solder if it were that important of a piece would be best of all.



I’ve been working with copper for decades now. I break just about
every rule we are supposed to do when working with metal. Things that
I’ve accidentally (serendipity) come across in all those years. One
is the problem of copper solder.

The best and cheapest I’ve found is the stuff Rio sells. The copper
bearing solder. Yes it is grey in color, BUT!!! you can do
little tricks to deal with this. First I DO NOT CONTAMINATE MY
PICKLE! If by chance I slip up and solder something else like brass
or nickel, I don’t want it to plate with copper. My silver and gold
go into a different pickle pot. But I do charge the pickle with a
little copper first.

What you need to do is get a good bi sulfate pickle compound. I buy
Rio pickle by the 5 gallon tub. Next anneal a bunch of copper. put it
just like you would normally do, into the pickle pot and you have
enough copper now to do what you need to do.

Second, now you solder normally. When you put you piece in the hot
pickle, just leave it about 30 seconds, a minute at most. The solder
will remain copper colored. But like the other poster said I do use
higher heat with my work. I also use a hot just before boiling pickle

I also found if you need to do multiple solder joints, which can’t
be done at one pass, I tend to not pickle in between. I know everyone
here is going to get their panties in a twist over that one. It
happened late one night when I was trying hard to get a piece done,
when out of desperation and lack of sleep I forgot to pickle and I
soldered the piece just fine.

The black crap didn’t affect the solder joint. Maybe it is the
copper bearing solder doesn’t need flux, and will flow every where if
you are not careful. It works for me and I’m not going to argue with
blind dumb luck when it happens.

Aggie, blind, dumb and lucky


Back around 28 years ago I was one of the 4 folks who helped hammer
together, rivet and solder the 2nd largest hammered copper statue in
the world. Portlandia. She’s 3 1/2 stories tall. All hammered copper
with a ton of rivets and seams. More recently Tim and I made our own
copper topped kitchen counters as well as all of the drawer pulls so
I know a little about soldering on copper.

We just used phos coper rod. It flowed beautifully and is still
coper colored and invisible.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry

Jo Haemer


Jo, out of curiousity, what flux did you use with the
phosphorous/copper rod? Thanks.


Thank you to all who responded!
You solved my problems!
I wasn’t getting any sleep trying to figure it out. Now to do it,

Thank you again,
Veva Bailey


We didn’t use flux. Just soldered. It’s pretty tough to flux A 6 1/2
ton statue. The copper we used was18gauge and came in three foot wide
rolls. We used sawed off croquet mallets for hammers and auto body
anvils to fit the parts together.

On something smaller I’d use a good paste flux.

Jo Haemer