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Cupronil Experiment


#1

I did a little experiment comparing a blue flux product with
Cupronil. I thought the results were interesting and so am passing
it along…

I was first introduced to Cupronil flux by Beth Rosengard. She uses
it exclusively and showed me her steps for incorporating it into her
solder process. I was already using a blue flux product from
Progress Tools and thought it might be essentially the same so Beth
gave me a sample of Cupronil to try out.

What a difference! Both products look almost exactly the same in
color and appear to have a similar water-like consistency, however
they respond quite differently to heat and general use.

The Progress Blue Flux creates large bubbles as it heats while the
Cupronil makes a nicer, soft white powder surface which is much
better for placing and controlling the solder. Also, there was less
jumping of solder with Cupronil and my paint brush stayed clean,
whereas the Blue Flux caused my brush to constantly be filled with
stiff white flux similar to the paste flux. With Cupronil, I can
easily pick up solder with the damp brush, but it is difficult to do
this with the Blue Flux because the brush becomes so stiff and bulky.

Anyway, I am a convert. It is a pleasure to use. I understand from
Beth that Lee Epperson is an Orchid contributor, so…thanks for the
good product!

Sally Jewett-Brocato


#2

Sally, Enjoyed your and glad to see continuing
experimentation. We never stop learning.

A bit of my own experience. I have been mixing and using Pripps flux
for years. It really works and the price is very cheap. However, when
teaching, which is my main function in life, I find students have a
difficult time learning to apply Pripps flux sufficiently so their
pieces are properly protected. So,…one day I added just a bit of
Cupronil I had in the studio. It turned the Pripps orange and when I
tried it, I found it covers large areas extremely well and gives
excellent protection. The moral of my story is…Cupronil can be
fairly expensive while self-made Pripps is cheap. Mixing them gives a
reasonable priced item that does a truly great job.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#3

Sometime back, when “firescoff” came out there was a long thread on
Orchid regarding Cupronil vs. firescoff. . I love Cupronil and it has
out preformed firescoff for me from the first piece I used it on.
Firescoff’s makers wanted jewelers to airbrush it on at one point -
way too much work for a flux/fire coat. Cupronil is and has been the
best most reasonably priced, and consistent product out there (other
than the yellow-green products that are all self pickling) since I
first used it in the 70’s. and yes, Lee is a wonderful person, not to
mention his expert jewelry making skills. I encourage everyone to
continue to support 4S and Cupronil, it beats grinding borax cones
then mixing with water, alcohol etc. one bottle of Cupronil is all
that’s needed- a quick spray or layers of it and no firescale, and
great flow indication. what more can one ask of a flux and firecoat?!

rer


#4
I did a little experiment comparing a blue flux product with
Cupronil. I thought the results were interesting and so am passing
it along... 

Sally, you’ve nicely described how they differ in initial use, but a
little more on the end results would be helpful too, if you can. What
metals were you soldering, for one, and how do the two fluxes compare
in terms of how well they address fire scale and fire stain, if used
with silver. How do they compare in how well they hold up for
prolonged heating, as might happen in a complex or difficult
soldering operation, and how easily do they clean up after
soldering?

thanks.
Peter


#5

I have just ordered a blue flux from Johnson Mfg. Co… It doesn’t act
like the blue flux described in the original emailfrom progress. It
behaves just like Cuprinol. I dip my piece in the blue flux and flame
off the alcohol. I realize this goes against a lot of peoples ways of
safety but I take all the usual precautions and never have had any
problems. It is still expensive but not nearly the price of Cuprinol.
Like all hazard chemical shipping the shipping costs end up more than
the price of the flux. They do have a four gallon quantity break that
makes it reasonable but you end up with a lifetime supply. Share with
your friends! Their website leaves something to be desired but if you
call they are friendly and l. The product is called
Luxi-Flux (gas corrective flux for jewelry).

http://www.johnsonmfg.com/temp/FLUX.HTM

Michael


#6

Peter, My experience with Luxi-Flux(see my earlier post) works well
on golds and silvers. I work in 22k, 18k yellow, palladium 18k white
and red as well as sterling silver. I end up with minimal if any
fire scale. Like all soldering if held to long the coating gets eaten
up. I use it mainly as a fire coat and use batterns at the joints. If
it is a large piece or if I know I am going to have a prolonged heat
I will double dip my piece first. It can also be painted on. As with
all things the cleaner the piece the better the coverage. If I am
just doing light soldering I will use just the Luxi-Flux.

http://www.johnsonmfg.com/temp/FLUX.HTM

Michael


#7

Once upon a time, I was at an Orchid Dinner in Tucson, and there was
given a bottle of Cupronil. I did not know its history, and was
thankful for the gift. I immediately began to use it, and although
others questioned me, I just continued to use it, and have not had
the curse of fire stain or fire scale.

Some long time later, I read right here on Orchid that Lee Epperson
was involved. By that time I had met Lee personally here in San
Diego at a location he regularly sells his incredible treasures. One
day I asked if he was the gent who gave me the original gift, and yes
indeed it was.

I knew it was win/win in all ways. I totally validate its value in
doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

For those using Prips and other substances, the easiest way to
properly place it, is via a nasal plunge type spray device. It
sprays a fine sheet all over your piece, crevices and all. Far easier
than a brush. Don’t forget spray both top and bottom. Easy to clean
out, and fits nicely into the hand.

Thanks Beth and Lee,

Hugs,
Terrie


#8
I find students have a difficult time learning to apply Pripps
flux sufficiently so their pieces are properly protected.
So,....one day I added just a bit of Cupronil 

I continue to experiment with fluxes, though I have always resisted
mixing my own. I even bought a bottle of Firescoff, and was very
impressed with it-- though not happy with the cost. I am definately a
convert to the use of spray-on flux onto pre-heated metal. I have
Cupronil and have had some difficulty getting it to apply right.
Well, when I used up the (very small bottle of) Fires coff, I had a
thought. I put Cupronil in the Firescoff bottle, which has a much
finer spray, more of a mist. Problem solved! My Cupronil bottle
sprayed large drops that tended to cool/wet my hot metal, then bead
up and leave bare areas. The Firescoff bottle sprays such tiny
droplets that it dries on contact with the hot metal and stays put.
I don’t doubt that some fluxes work better than others, but I really
think I’ve hit on something that may matter even more.

Noel


#9

Can you mix batterns and Cupronil to make it last a little longer?
Is there any benefit or disadvantage?

Suzanne


#10

Hi Peter-

I am hardly an expert on anything related to jewelry making since I
am still very much a novice, but here’s more detail on my experience
with Cupronil. I am working only with sterling silver right now.
Since I started using Cupronil I have not noticed any fire scale. I
had actually been thinking that this was because my soldering
techniques were improving, but I realize now that you bring it up,
it is probably the Cupronil that has made the difference. Ha!

I have been creating some fairly complicated pieces (at least for me)
that are using broom casting techniques that Beth Rosengard taught
me. These require multiple soldering operations to put the broom cast
pieces together and then more solder to connect with bezel set
stones. I am finding the pieces pickle nicely and clean easily using
a quick brass brushing.

Sally


#11

I’m a Cupronil user too, and have the same wish as Noel - to have a
finer spray. I’m using the bottle it comes in to apply it (which is
the same bottle Lee gave me years ago, but refilled). I think a
finer spray would really improve the coverage.

Can I buy a finer sprayer? Anyone have any suggestions as to where
to get one? I don’t have an old Firescoff bottle handy.

Ivy


#12
Can I buy a finer sprayer? Anyone have any suggestions as to where
to get one? I don't have an old Firescoff bottle handy. 

Ivy: I use my old eye glass cleaner bottles as they spray very fine.
Maybe check at a medical supply place and see if they have the small
bottles for nose sprays - think those are fairly fine spray. Or
check at The Container Store (don’t know if there is one where you
live). We don’t have one, but they are online and they have all sorts
of things and may have a fine sprayer. Ask your pharmacist - maybe
they have a supplier or will sell you one sprayer if they have it in
stock.

Good luck.
Kay


#13
Can I buy a finer sprayer? Anyone have any suggestions as to where
to get one? I don't have an old Firescoff bottle handy. 

Well, you could always buy one bottle of Firescoff, justified by the
need to educate yourself on what’s available and how it works (this
is my excuse and I’m sticking with it), try it, then re-use the
bottle. I was very impressed when I used Firescoff and often when I
washed it off, found that the silver was still shiny after
soldering. Otherwise, maybe tryvarious bottles… a sample-size
hairspray? I don’t know what comes in a really fine-misting bottle.

Noel


#14
Maybe check at a medical supply place and see if they have the
small bottles for nose sprays - think those are fairly fine spray 

By general standards, the Cupronil bottle is a fine spray. The
Firescoff bottle is an ultrafine mist. I think very few bottles
spray that fine. I hate to think of anyone buying bottle after bottle
only to have them turn out to be pretty standard sprays. Sounds
frustrating. The Firescoff isn’t that expensive-- and it does come
with a very effective firescale-preventer in it. Not that I’m trying
to sell Firescoff. But if you want that bottle…

Noel


#15

Berlin Packaging Co. sells any type of container,closure bottle,
tube, drum, spray top, chemical dispensing & storage, nalgene,
plastics, glass, etc. that one could possibly need in one place. I
have dealt with them for years. shipping is amazingly fast.
worldwide.


#16
By general standards, the Cupronil bottle is a fine spray. The
Firescoff bottle is an ultrafine *mist*. I think very few bottles
spray that fine. 

What about a perfume/cologne bottle? Personally, I prefer to brush
it on, but that’s just me.

Beth


#17
What about a perfume/cologne bottle? Personally, I prefer to brush
it on, but that's just me. Flux, or perfume? 

I don’t know, I don’t use perfume. But fluxes like Cupronil will bead
up and cover unevenly if brushed on cold metal, and destroy your
brush is brushed on hot metal. Brushing works OK with paste flux, but
it still seems to go on uneven (for me), plus I hate the way paste
flux makes my solder snippets move out of position as it boils before
it dries. To each his own!

Noel


#18

Hi Gang,

But fluxes like Cupronil will bead up and cover unevenly if
brushed on cold metal, and destroy your brush is brushed on hot
metal 

One way to keep from destroying brushes when working around hot
metal is to use natural bristle brushes. Any of the nylon or other
plastic bristle brushes don’t like heat. The bristles well melt
together if they get too hot. Natural bristles won’t melt together.
If they’re used on to hot a metal a little of their length may be
burned off but they’ll still be usable. The best thing to do is just
use natural bristle brushes in the shop, then you don’t have to worry
about grabbing the right brush. I’ve found my natural bristle brushes
at the hardware store, but I’m sure artist supply stores would have
them as well.

Dave