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Difficulties learning how to solder hinges

I am trying to teach myself how to solder basic hinges to box using
Tim McCreight’s book and you tube by Nancy Hamilton. After many
attempts I am still unable to get it to work.

My box is copper with silver tubing knuckles. Could this be about
the copper oxidizing too quickly? I am using graphite from
mechanical pencil. Not tight fit, but best I can do with size. I
filed little notches at eachend of the knuckles and also put white
out on other side of it to help thesolder flow /not flow properly.

There is some solder flow but then the whole hinge falls off. One
teacheronce mentioned filing a 45 degree bevel around the ends of
the knuckles. How would one do that on such a tiny piece? Unsure how
to hold it.

Suggestions for a novice hinge maker would be welcomed. Jamie

Hello Jamie

Copper really sucks heat and the surface oxidizes fast when heated.

When copper is the larger mass, as is this case, you are dealing
with a difficult situation. (It would be easier if the box were
silver.) You don’t say how large the piece is, but the bottom line is
that you have to get a lot of heat on it to flow the solder. If your
copper box is larger than an inch square, you may need two torches.
and maybe so even if the box is smaller!

I use slabs of kiln brick to build an oven enclosure with an open
front, that allows access for the torch. The oven holds the heat. To
somewhat control that oxidizing problem I have had success with a
heavy application of flux (I use Battern’s) on the joint. Also, I
’tin’ or sweat solder the easiest silver solder I have on the silver
part (Argentium-easy flows at the lowest temp). Then hit the whole
thing with lots of heat, as fast as you can, keeping the torch on
the copper. As soon as the solder flows, take the torch off.

My soldering silver onto copper is relatively small (cuff bracelets)
but long, so the oven approach is the only thing that has keep the
heat high enough for the solder to flow.

Good luck,

Judy in Kansas, where Roma beans are coming on, but the tomatoes
have quit. for now.

Jamie- What kind of solder and flux are you using? -Jo

For hinges I prefer to use yellow ochre as a solder stop. I wonder
if the thickness of the white out is keeping the parts apart. I
would also mix up some prips flux and make sure the copper is
completely coated. Fire scale on copper will travel under the flux
if it can find a part that is not coated. It sounds from your post
that you are doing everything right. You may want to check your
flame size also. a larger softer flame to bring all of the parts up
to heat at the same time.

Gerald A. Livings
Livingston Jewelers