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Gold filled sheet

Hello everybody, thank you very much for all of your help in the past. Onemore question to run by you. I’m
interested in incorporating gold into my work but daunted by the price. Gold filled sheet, can it be soldered to silver? Can it be fused to silver in small pieces like gold foil? Is it suitable for bezel settings? Any thing I might be missing as far as learning about this before I start working with it?

Christina,

Gold fill works quite well and is a great pricepoint controller allowing a greater range of value conscious clientele. It can be soldered, layered, mechanically attached - riveted, too.

The only thing is; I would generally use matching gold solder. GF requires a light touch when soldering. It has its own learning curve.

I do retro inspired, slightly organic 50’s vibe mabé look earrings, mostly tahitian black ones. 14-15 mm and they look great in gold. A shallow thin 28ga GF bezel on a slightly thicker backing piece of 2 sided GF sheet. It’s necessary to preplate all the non gold fill exposed edges of the sheet. Enter the pen plater…

GF comes both single face gold with a visible, base metal back side or a GF sandwich with gold in both faces. Everything that will show, should have a gold fill face.

And if you want to use silver solder, use some sort of masking agent so that the silver silver doesn’t flow and cover the gold. I would also suggest easy solders so that you don’t overheat the gold fill surface - essentially burning it away to its base metal.

For some design elements, just using a pen plater might be a visual delight for your designs.

Eileen

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With gold fill you’re basically working with brass, so all heating temperatures must be lower than with gold or sterling. Also, when working by hand the sheet should only be bent into simple curves or there is a danger of the gold starting to delaminate from the base material.
Fusing is right out.

I have never worked in GF, but would like to give it a try. I am joining new store and would like to expand my line a bit. While I can sell in the $200 - $400 range, I am looking to hit a $100 point, so simple GF is in order. Following are some questions.

  1. Can you solder using a pulse arc welder (PUK 5.1 for example)?
  2. Can GF wire be forged and how much before it is damaged?
  3. How soft is it and can it be heat hardened?
  4. Does it work harden?
  5. I believe that it needs to be marked “Gold Filled” not GF or some other mark. Please confirm.

Thanks…Rob

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Rob,

It can’t be soldered with a pulse arc welder. The difference in the metals makes a mixed alloy pool.

When forging, stamping and fabricating, one needs to try, based on their own style and design. Some things work, some things don’t. The thicker the ga of sheet if it’s single clad, the more gold you have to manipulate. Thinner double clad material, not so much.

I had a stamp made for my GF pieces

14/20 GF (14 karat, 5% content or 1/20th Gold Fill) along with my maker’s mark. I read somewhere that in order to stamp the metal content you also need to have a maker’s or manufacturer’s mark side by side.

You can order GF materials similar to sterling or gold - half hard or whatever. Rio Grande has a couple of grades for hardeness.

Depending on the base metal will make a difference in hardening i think. I twist harden my GF ear posts after soldering.

Have fun!

Eileen

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Thanks! just what I wanted to hear, except about the pulse arc welder, I just bought one. I have a collection of stamps and makers marks. My sterling mark is either “sterling” plus my mark for bigger pieces or a combination of my mark and .925 for smaller pieces. 14K is just that. If I get into gold filled, I will have a stamp made or buy one if I can find one that is fairly small. Thanks again…Rob

Recently I soldered a number of yellow and rose gold clad wire pieces using 14K yellow and 14K rose plumb solders respectively. All the 14K yellow gold clad came out fine. About half the rose gold clad did not.

The plumb rose gold solder seemed to need more time under the torch to flow, and to be honest I do tend toward ‘if some is good then more is better’… The 14K rose gold clad pieces that did not turn out turned silver! All or parts.

Again, I was using plumb 14K rose gold solder, not silver solder. So I’m guessing that if you overheat gold clad, or at least rose gold clad, the tin or zinc in the brass core can come to the surface. Whatever the reason, I have half a dozen bright silver ‘rose gold clad’ hoops. So, especially for rose gold clad…

GF requires a light touch when soldering.

Neil A

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Wow guys thanks, Gold filled sounds a little bit more difficult than I anticipated especially with the delamination and the need to cover up the base metal that might leak through in the Solder. A question I didn’t think to ask is I can I solder a gold bezel to a silver base without too many complications?

Neil,

Ask me how i learned the same thing;

no, don’t.

There’s a learning curve the getting it perfect, everytime. I have complete respect for soldering mavens who do it perfect from the start. I wasn’t one of them.

Eileen

Cristina - first soldering a gold bezel to sterling isn’t difficult - but…, you knew that was coming… it is a cinch to do with 18k and higher. 14k and lower requires higher soldering skill because close to soldering temperature, the 14K and sterling alloy and the gold disappears. Using easy solder just makes it harder to control because you add another metal that lowers the melting temp of the 14k. Recommendation - Use 18K bezel, and medium silver solder.
About gold fill - I gave up on it years ago. Looks great for a month or so, then the brass starts to show, the gold wears off. Not a quality I want to deal with. Try bimetal from Hauser and Miller.

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Here’s an article I wrote about working with gold-filled products. It started out as a soldering article, but there were so many questions about the material that I just continued to build on it. Hopefully, this will help with your decision. Good luck!

# Soldering Gold-Filled: Tips for Success & Troubleshooting

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