Even application of commercial Pripps

Hello to all,

After many years of engraving only, I’ve re-entered the full time
work force. I am returning to my roots, and fabricating silver
pendants, sometimes on a much larger scale than I’ve been used to.
Although the techniques and heat-related issues have come back with
practice, I am still having a couple of issues I believe the group
can answer.

I have been looking at ways to eliminate the small amount of fire
scale that I sometimes get on larger and heavier pieces, which have
a bezel and trim soldered to a back plate. I have purchased a small
amount of commercial Pripps flux to give it a try, and have been
happy with the results, but have some issues in trying to get an even
application. I am using a small pump spray sort of bottle, and store
it upside down in a jar with a small amount of water. I haven’t had
any issues with the sprayer clogging, so that part is working just
fine, thank you. I am spraying it on the warmed metal surface, but I
don’t get an even application on the first spray. Subsequent
applications will eventually cover the surface of the metal, and I
proceed to flux (Hoover & strong paste flux}, and add my solder,
heat as usual. What seems to be happening is that the Pripps and
paste flux bubble up prior to the paste flux melting, but my bezels
do not fall back onto the plate in an even manner, and my soldering
is sometimes incomplete. It’s almost as if the multiple applications
of Pripps has allowed some sections to remain “lifted” and not settle
back to the plate before the flux liquifies and the solder flows. I
have a little torch, acetylene, and just started using an annealing
tip for those big pieces, so I don’t think it’s an issue with heat,
but rather an issue with the multiple layers of Pripps. Any

Our pieces often have silver beads as part of the designs as well,
which we make by melting small bits of silver wire. I have noticed
that some of the balls come out smooth, and others have a wrinkled
appearance, often in the same batch. I use clean silver wire, and
flux each bit. I heat the bits one at a time, just until the ball
forms, withdraw the heat, and allow to cool slightly before
quenching in water. What seems to happen with the wrinkled ones is
some sort of slag that covers the surface until the ball comes up,
then it covers the ball as soon as the heat is removed, and a shiny
wrinkled skin appears. i can sand it off, but I don’t know what that
is, or if it can be prevented. Any insights here are appreciated as

Orchid rocks, and I know some of you may be able to help me out!

Melissa Veres, engraver & silversmith


Perhaps you are applying too thick a coat of paste flux. I used to
have the same problem, and now use Reo’s self pickling flux (liquid,
not paste), and have less problems with the flux boiling and
bubbling up.



I used to spray a LOT of Prip’s Flux—in fact I bought it by the 4
gallon case, and had a wholesale account for it. I found that if I
cleaned the surface of the silver, to degrease it, prior to fluxing,
I could get the flux to stick and cover in one coating. Scrubbing
with a scotchbrite pad or powdered pumice and water worked the best
for me. (I don’t do this much anymore, now that I use Argentium

Additionally, I will recommend that you do not add the paste flux,
but simply use the Prip’s flux for both soldering and firescale
prevention. There will be less bubbling, as well as less firescale.

Cynthia Eid

Heat your base plate to straw color, dip your silver into the flux,
put silver onto your soldering board and burn down.

To burn down heat you silver till the flux turns to a dark brown

Place your bezel or another piece of silver that you are putting
together and the pieces will not wander off the base plate.

Let me know how you make out.


Pripps and other firecoats will sometimes bubble up and cause the
effect you are describing. Try heating your bezels on a screened
tripod from below. Use a solder pick or similar tool, held
horizontally, to press the bezel ring down onto the backing plate
while everything is at temperature. This can be repeated at different
positions on the clockface, with a brief interval in between heatings
to keep the backing plate from melting. For small bezels, you can
also reheat with cross-lock tweezers in place to cinch up gaps.

John Walbaum