I would appreciate the List’s assistance in explaining what
happened this evening:
I was soldering a sterling two piece bail and just as the solder
was about to flow, the silver fragmented explosively. I prepared
a second bail,and the same thing happened. This time, I smelled
something burning and discovered it was me (well, more correctly,
my pants) right in the crotch area. At that point, it ocurred to
me that it might be a good idea to put out the fire and regroup.
I was using 26 gauge sterling with oxy/propane. The bail was
being held in self-locking tweezers; it had been dipped in boric
acid/alcohol and the alcohol flamed off. I then scraped the boric
acid powder away from the seams to be soldered and applied
Batterns liquid flux. I was using pallions of hard solder. I used
a reducing flame to gently heat the piece to make sure the
Batterns would hold the solder chips in place as it dried, and
then went to a hotter flame to solder. I heated the whole piece,
but concentrated the flame on the heavier of the two pieces. Just
as the solder was about to flow, it became something like the
forth of July, and I was on my way to becoming a soprano.
I look forward to your insight, or even educated guesses, as to
the likely explanation, and your recommendations as to what
should I do to correct the problem (other than standing up to
solder). Thanks in advance.