Difficulties soldering bangle bracelet

OK - this is my last question for today!! Promise :slight_smile:

I am trying to make my first bangle bracelet!! Its simply 8ga half
round wire that I am trying to solder together. I am having a huge
problem getting the hard solder to flow though, could anyone give me
some tips on what sort of technique I should be using (for the oxy
acetylene smith little torch) - I also don’t know if the little torch
is capable of this operation anyway.

Thanks again!

If you have had previous success in soldering then your current
problem is almost certain to be not enough heat. Your flame is
certainly hot enough but the heat leaks away before the joint is hot
enough to melt the solder. Use a bigger flame and/or conserve what
heat you do have by the judicious use of fire bricks. If you can’t
use a bigger flame then try heating the fire bricks with the flame
before applying the it to the joint - this will probably do the job.
Don’t be tempted to spend too long heating the joint - it will
simply exhaust the flux and render it useless, so the solder won’t
flow even if the joint reaches the correct temperature.

Regards, Gary Wooding

Hi Lucy

Do you have the right tip on the torch? The smith little torch only
works well with tip #2 when using acetylene. It has the capability
for what you are doing.

Best of luck

Hello Lucy,

I’m sure several will respond to your question about soldering a
bangle. The problem is that the piece is so large that heat
dissipates quickly and you’re not getting the whole thing up to temp
so that the solder will flow. (This is assuming that you’re using
regular sterling and not Argentium.) You should try the largest tip
and really turn up the torch; however, you may not be able to get it
hot enough.

Here’s what works for me. I cut 1" thick slabs of a soldering brick
and cut one slab into 1"x1"x3-4" sticks. Form the sticks to form a
"U", then put another slab on the top. This forms a little open
ended box around the bangle. Now when you heat your silver, the heat
is contained and you can get the whole thing up to temp. You’ll have
to circulate your torch tip over the bangle and then when the metal
looks sorta red all over, direct the flame to the join and watch for
the solder to flow.

Don’t forget to flux generously to avoid fire scale.

Hope this helps,
Judy in Kansas, who enjoyed meeting a fellow Orchidian at the Holiday
Gift Show yesterday - got some gorgeous dicroic cabs too!

The smith little torch only works well with tip #2 when using

Smith little torch tip # 2 is a ruby tip, too small to do anything
other than the finest chain solders if that. #7 or rosebud are more

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery


You are having difficulties soldering such a heavy piece of metal
because the little torch was NOT designed to heat up the entire
piece. Silver needs the whole length to be warmed up before hard
solder will flow. With the equipment you have, use the largest tip
and keep heating the entire length in a back and forth motion. Each
time end up aiming the torch at the ends. Also square off the
bracelet at the connection area so the two ends are butted up flat
against each other. If you try to do it in a rounded shape, the
solder won’t flow and the heat generated by the torch will cause the
ends to move away from each other.

I find the ideal set-up is acetylene and air (b-tank) and a smith
handpiece( great for holding onto for hours without fatigue). If you
contact me offline I will give you an inexpensive online source that
we found to equip both our school torches and also our students when
they went to buy their own

Good luck
Ruthie Cohen
Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary

I guess this turns out to be a response to more than one topic. I
have used a Smith Little Torch for many, many years… with an
oxygen/acetylene set-up. I am so used to it, that I find it very
effective for metals from copper-gold. I also like the fact that I
can adjust the flame properties, if need be, without putting the
torch down…with the fingers on the hand holding the torch. The tips
can be changed easily with just finger-tightening. I never found a
wrench to be necessary. A wrench can be used… but as with all
threaded things… IMHO, it is better to tighten with a lighter touch
so as not to strip the threads.

As far as the #2 tip being the one that only works well with
acetylene, Jen… I think you might be talking about the Smith
Silversmith torch instead of the Little Torch - as the #2 Little
tip is very, very small and intended for pin-point-type of soldering.

There is a synthetic sapphire embedded in #2 now (according to Rio
Grande)… used to be a ruby. I routinely use a #4 and #5 tip for
most everything. A #6 or #7 should deliver more than enough heat for
Lucy’s project, I think. You are going to get some serious heat out
of them… and walk the line, as always, between clean soldering and
melting your metal. Again, as some have said, positioning can play a
key role in a stubborn project.

I use the paste flux, Stay-Silv, for copper and brass. I use it for
sterling as well, for the simple reason, that I have never
experienced fire stain with it at all.

I want to add… I am inspired, humbled, and grateful…by and for…
the beauty, innovation and mastery… of many of you who share your
thoughts, advice, and work here. For me… it is truly…a:

Walk With Beauty,
Anita Van Slyke-Swank

You are having difficulties soldering such a heavy piece of metal
because the little torch was NOT designed to heat up the entire

Interesting opinion. I advised the person who posted their dilemma
on how to use the “little” torch, I contacted her directly as I
wanted to help her resolve this more quickly as I can get quite
frustrated when I want resolution for a problem I am having on
technique. I got a nice e-mail back the next day, my advice allowed
for a successful outcome. In this case, size did not matter, it was
how the tool was used…she was a bit timid about cranking the torch
up, so the torch had the capability.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery

Thanks everyone for the help! it was truely appreciated!

The problem is solved now - it seems I was afraid to turn up the
flame - but now I have that baby burning - and soldering like a

Thank you again!