Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Extra Solder Removal


#1

I’m stumped.

I would like your suggestions on how to get extra solder
filed/sanded/removed from a hard-to-get-to spot.

On a sterling silver piece of sheet metal, I have a bezel with a
90 degree angle and a small ball soldered into the corner just
outside the bezel. Unfortunately too much solder was used and a
little bit bled out onto the surface of the piece. Below is a
sketch of the area looking at it from above with less than 1/8"
from bezel to edge of the piece. The O represents the ball (duh)
and x represents the Xtra solder. I can’t really get the point of
a flat file into the corner and a piece of sandpaper doesn’t fit
really well either.

Would a sanding disk on a flexshaft be too abrasive and remove
too much of the ball and/or the surface of the piece? What should
I use to get that little bit off? A burr?

Dumbfounded in Dallas,

Sharon Chandler

  |
  |O
  |________________
                   |
   _____bezel______|
  |Ox

________|edge of piece

           Sharon Chandler

//////////////////////////////
The Craft Guild of Dallas
Preserving and perpetuating the skills
of Texas craftsmen for over 45 years
http://www.flash.net/~sdc/index.htm
///////////////////////////////


#2

Hi Sharon

There’s a couple of tricks that might help in this situation.

A curved scraper available inexpensively from almost any jewelry
tool supplier will suffice to bring down the level of the solder
without gouging the metal. Keeping the flat of the scraper
parallel to the sheet, press the sharp edge into the solder-flow.
Working carefully you should be able to remove most of the
solder.

A Scotchstone (Stone of Ayr) available through some tool dealers
works extremely well to finish resurfacing the scraped area to a
polishable surface. You can file/cut/carve the stone to almost
any shape and it is used wet for best results. I have used this
practice for years to remove small scratches and for flattening
and smoothing hard-to-get-at areas. Stoning seems to be one of
those techniques that has not been taught to todays jewelry
crafts-people…

Further refinement of the flat surface can be achieved by using
sections of rubber and felt wheels and hand lapping with them. I
sometimes take a small knife edged wheel (of either type) and
scissor it in half (from edge to edge through the center hole)
and use the flat produced by the cut to bring the stoned area to
a polish (using compounds with the felts). You of course can cut
different grits of rubber to abrade either or quickly or
smoothly… I know it’s hand-work, but isn’t that what hand
making jewelry is all about? :slight_smile:

I hate to say this, but I can’t help myself. Cut your solder
into smaller snippets, or roll it thinner before snipping it. The
advantage to using a minimal amount of solder is that it will
almost never flow outside the soldered joint. There, I said it,
please forgive me… :slight_smile:

         Jeffrey Everett

Handmade 18K, 22K, and platinum gemstone fine jewelry.
Diamond setting, rubber/metal molds, casting, lapidary
Die and mold engraving, plastic patterns for casting.
Cad jewelry design, cad/cam milling scroll filigree…
P O Box 2057 Fairfield IA 52556 515-469-6250


#3

Another suggestion would be to gently file off the extra solder
(or try re-heating without melting . . .)


#4

Sometimes, a think blade (aka razor) will work . … you could
try a knife . . . many times you can “flick” off the blob of
solder without hurting the part that is really soldered.


#5

There are some really tiny round or flame “Busch burs” that you
can use to remove the excess metal. I have some that are less than
.5mm and they cut well. You can use the highly polished tip of a
burnisher afterwards to smooth and polish the metal around the
bead. You need to hold the flex shaft handpiece firmly for
control (I wrap my fingers around it and my thumb sticks out
parallel to the bur and acts as a lever) and the piece in a ring
clamp.

Sometimes it is hard to judge the amount of solder to use.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton, Jr
http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#6

Sharon, I HATE when this happens!!! I like inverted cone burrs
for this. The problem is when you dig into the medal (sanding
disks are ruthless) and leave scars. The inverted cone burrs
used perpendicular to the base won’t cut into the flat base ( if
you’re REALLY careful), but will cut sideways. If you used a
really low melting solder, though, sometimes it "eats it’s way"
into the silver and results in pourosity and discoloration that
can’t be removed without compromising the flat surface. If this
happens, sometimes I’ll convince myself that I really meant the
piece to have a nice surface texture to it in the first place
(LOL).

                                           good luck!
                                Wendy Newman   goldsmith/
                                designer

#7

Sharon- I would try in the first place not to get too much solder
on the piece/ or let it flow where I don’t want it- but you
already know this. To do this (for next time) use Yellow Ochre
powder over all of the parts that you don’t want contaminated.
This is like fine dirt, you mix with water and apply with a
paint brush. Another solution is White-out (yes, the stuff they
use in the office to fix those boo-boos) - it gives off toxic
fumes when burned so only use it when you have to and be sure to
have a fan sucking the fumes out of the studio. Even though it
is toxic I still use it for very special applications, because
unlike ochre, Whiteout is Benzene and talc powder, once it drys,
it won’t come off until you pickle the piece- yellow ochre will
try to flow into your joints when you flux your piece- I don’t
have to tell you how bad this is. Now for your problem, There’s
not a whole lot more that you can do aside from un-soldering and
cleaning the pieces, and starting over. -unless you or someone
you know are good with a burr- use it to bring the solder down
to the surface of the metal, being careful not to go too deep,
and there’s nothing more painfull than seeing your bur go
skittering across the surface of your beautiful piece that
you’ve spent so much time completing. I hope this helps you, if
not I’m sure someone else in our little group here has some
better advise.

Goodluck!

Tim Goodwin
@tmn8tr


#8

Jeffrey: are you sure about scotchstone? I was told by jewelry
supply people that this stone is no longer available anywhere,
think it was Alpha said they couldn’t get it…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html


#9

I was thinking about my earlier reply to this solder removal
problem, and before there were burs there were gravers. A very
sharp flat graver would make short work of excess solder and
leave a nice smooth surface. And yes, stippling with a sharp
point tool in a flex shaft hammer can certainly recover some
messy areas.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D Hamilton, Jr.
@rick_hamilton


#10

SD Chandler wrote:

On a sterling silver piece of sheet metal, I have a bezel with a
90 degree angle and a small ball soldered into the corner just
outside the bezel. Unfortunately too much solder was used and a
little bit bled out onto the surface of the piece.

Ah Sharon, the ancient quandry of how to polish in corners. This
is an area where proper planning is critical - so you don’t have
to go in later to remove a lump of solder. If possible, when
soldering on a bezel, place your solder in the easiest spot of
the joint to reach and then “draw” it around the bezel with your
torch. Any leftover solder will remain in the original spot,
thereby facilitating cleanup. In the event that this may not be
possible, I’d start with a flat graver and slowly trim down the
lump (If you’re not comfortable with gravers, this may not be the
place to start). You can also sharpen the back end of a needle
file to a sharp flat angle to plane down the surface. Once the
lump is planed close to level, a flat needle file can be used to
further plane the piece level. This is a case where you may wish
to make a tool specifically for this task. If you have a bench
grinder you can easily fabricate a tool to reach this area. You
can later glue some sandpaper to it and use it to sand the area.
As you mentioned, a ball bur can be used to plane down the lump,
but care should be used. If you can mount sandpaper onto a thin
flat dowel that will work too.
Finally, once the piece is flat, I use camel’s hair brushes with
graystar and fabulustre at constantly different angles to bring
the polish back to the piece. I hope this helps, Mike


#11

A technique that I have used for solder removal a couple of
times is to flux and warm the piece with a torch. When the solder
begins to flow, a rotary steel brush is applied. The works pretty
well when…hmmm…say somebody has gotten solder onto a coin. If
it is laed or tin solder, a bristle or brass brush works well.
Don’t forget safety glasses.

E-mail: manmountaindense@knight-hub.com WWW:
http://www.knight-hub.com/manmtndense/bhh3.htm Snail: POB 7972,
McLean, VA 22106


#12

Hi Dave

I still have several, and I forget WHEN I purchased them. It was
probably in the 1980s. I’ll look around for you. Alpha is not
the last word in tool suppliers… :slight_smile:


#13

I would use a very sharp,pollished graver(anglette)to remove
the extra metal.A trick to clean up in tight corners is to
take an old burr,sand the end of it smooth,and pollish it.
This makes a great burnisher.It can reach into tight spots
and can be shaped to work in any space.

           Scott Hepner

#14

Jeffrey: thanks that’d be great. I was also told this by a local
guy who has a small mail order business that its unavailable
anywhere so if you find a source let me know, I’ve never tried
this technique before for lack of a source…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html


#15

Thanks to all for your help on my extra solder problem,
especially all of you who reminded me to use the right amount of
solder. I did use the right amount on three of four of the balls
on the piece, so I guess there’s hope for me yet. It was
encouraging to see the different solutions to the problem and I
will certainly keep them in mind for this and future needs.

A couple of questions arose from the thread that I would like to
have clarifcation on.

stippling with a sharp point tool in a flex shaft hammer
can certainly recover some messy areas.

Rick, do you mean dabbing over and over like the painting
technique called “stippling?” in order to give it a textured
surface?

and Mike wrote:

Finally, once the piece is flat, I use camel’s hair brushes with
graystar and fabulustre at constantly different angles to bring
the polish back to the piece. I hope this helps, Mike

Mike, I’m not familiar with graystar and fabulustre. Could you
expound (or pontificate, if you prefer).

Sharon

               Sharon Chandler

//////////////////////////////
The Craft Guild of Dallas
Preserving and perpetuating the skills
of Texas craftsmen for over 45 years
http://www.flash.net/~sdc/index.htm
///////////////////////////////


#16

I’ll defer to that description of stippling. You canuse a round
steel point, ore a round diamond set upside down into the steel
tip. Stippling gives a deeper surface texture as opposed to matt
finishes- also coarser.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton, Jr
http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton