Hi Larry, I wish I had discovered this stuff earlier. Would have
improved my technical development and reduced frustration along the
First, the mixture is boric acid and denatured alcohol. This is
used as a dip, or brushed or dribbled on larger pieces or assemblies.
The boric acid doesn’t really dissolve, but is in suspension then the
bottle is shaken or stirred. After applying a decent coating, recap
the bottle and touch the piece with a flame to burn off the alcohol.
Be careful of flaming drops of the mixture (fireproof work surface,
of course). This process results in a fairly effective (but not
perfect) oxygen barrier to prevent firescale, especially on sterling
silver. Not necessary for fine silver or higher karat golds, except
maybe to preserve a finish.
Boric acid can be obtained, off the shelf, at larger and more
traditional drug stores. If you’re unable to locate it, usually in
the eye care section, don’t hesitate to ask the pharmacist to order
it for you. This also works for specialty items like glycerine and
Okay, now you’re ready to solder. You might want to use your poker
to scrape the joint to be soldered to clean the boric acid powder
from the seam, although it has never really caused me a problem.
Apply flux to the joint, apply solder and fire it up as usual. Choice
of flux is a totally different thread…
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)