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Gold solder, damnit!


#1

Hey: someone posted that you could make gold solder by adding some brass to
your gold. Well, I tried it. I’m using 13.5kt gold I rolled from begged,
borrowed melted down crap mall jewelry. I cut a piece of that and basically
mixed about 60% brass with that and rolled it out real thin. Well, it
didn’t work very well in fact I ruined the little ornament I was making
because the solder just wouldn’t flow nice and I hit fusing temp and curled
the gold, a total loss. I can’t afford gold solder as I saw a piece of 14kt
solder at our local horribly undersupplied little shop here and it was 28
damn dollars for a tiny piece. What I need is a simple reliable and cheap
way to make a medium solder that will flow easily. Gavin says throw some
fine silver in with the gold. I’m hoping someone out there has a method
they actually USE rather than experiment on us poverty stricken fools out
here. I need simple proportions of mix.One thing I did try for bezels only
so far was mixing 50/50 medium silver solder with my gold and it worked
well on bezels, but wondering if there’s a more purist way of doing this.

Also, has anyone much experience with soldering gold ornamentation onto
silver? Why is it with repeated soldering small pieces of gold start
sinking into the silver? Nice effect if you wanted it. I’m finishing up a
piece now and have little gold left to screw up with…help! Dave

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


#2

What I need is a simple reliable and cheap
way to make a medium solder that will flow easily. Gavin says throw some
fine silver in with the gold. I’m hoping someone out there has a method
they actually USE rather than experiment on us poverty stricken fools out
here. I need simple proportions of mix.One thing I did try for bezels only
so far was mixing 50/50 medium silver solder with my gold and it worked
well on bezels, but wondering if there’s a more purist way of doing this.

Dave,

I have not tried this, but here is some that might help. I got
this out of Harold O’Connor’s book “The Jeweler’s Bench
Reference”.

14K medium gold solder: .585g fine gold, .115g fine silver, .185g
copper,.115g cadmium

14K “simple” gold solder (he does not say easy, medium, hard, just
"simple"): 2g 14K gold, .5g fine silver

Also, has anyone much experience with soldering gold ornamentation onto
silver? Why is it with repeated soldering small pieces of gold start
sinking into the silver? Nice effect if you wanted it. I’m finishing up a
piece now and have little gold left to screw up with…help!

Lots of experience with this. The 14K gold is only .5833 gold, the rest is
other metal, including alot of copper. You know how copper sinks into
silver when you solder? It’s the high copper content of the 14K that’s
causing the problem. (silver solde r= silver and copper) The copper from
the 14K combines with the silver and makes silver solder. I don’t think
there’s a solution except to use a low melting temperature solder, if you
insist on using 14K yellow. And even then, if you heat it one second too
long, it sinks! So frustrating! I suppose you could try getting or making
an alloy of 14K that had less copper, but it might not look like 14K as you
know it. Try soldering 18K or 22K to sterling - it’s much easier because
there’s so much less copper in these alloys. But more expensive.

Kim


#3

Dave,

I solder regularly with gold pieces onto silver, mine do not sink. I believe
you may be overheating your pieces, ie, the silver. I use silver solder to
solder gold to silver, generally medium.

Don’t know way to make solder, but mine is not that expensive to buy.
Perhaps you should check suppliers. If you need a little bit, I will gladly
send you a piece. E-mail me directly please.

Good luck

elizabeth


#4

At 10:04 AM 11/21/96 +0000, Dave Stephens wrote:

Hey: someone posted that you could make gold solder by adding some brass to
your gold. (snip). What I need is a simple reliable and cheap
way to make a medium solder that will flow easily.

Dave, I have no experience making solder, nor do I really want any – the
commercial solders work so well. But I sympathize with your problem:
getting started in this business can be horrendously expensive if you’re not
an heir to a jewelry empire. I’ve researched several old-standby books and
have concluded two things: 1) it’s probably better to stay away from cadmium
(fumes are seriously bad for your health), and 2) making gold solder sounds
like a real pain, at least if you follow Oppi Untrach’s recipes. I quote:

“When gold solder is prepared, the copper and silver are melted first under
a cover of carbon boride flux, the lower melting metals are melted
separately under a zinc chloride flux, then all are combined with the
molten gold under a carbon boride flux, covered to exclude atmospheric
oxygen, and poured into an ingot mold.”

If that seems like something you want to try, let me know and I’ll forward
complete But Untrach suggests something else that strikes me
as worth a try in your situation. He says some smiths use a gold alloy two
karats or more lower than the gold they’re soldering instead of ready-made
solders. “Thus an object of 18k is soldered with 16 or 15k gold; 14k with
12 or 10k. The lower gold melts at a lower temperature, and its color can
be chosen to match that of the gold being soldered.” Since you mentioned
you’re working with scrap anyway, do a little experimenting.

Good luck,

Rick Martin
MARTIN DESIGNS


#5

Dave,

I solder regularly with gold pieces onto silver, mine do not sink. I believe
you may be overheating your pieces, ie, the silver. I use silver solder to
solder gold to silver, generally medium.

Don’t know way to make solder, but mine is not that expensive to buy.
Perhaps you should check suppliers. If you need a little bit, I will gladly
send you a piece. E-mail me directly please.

Good luck

elizabeth

Elizabeth: thanks for the offer, guess I should try to be a big boy and
order some real solder, it just seems to me that piece I saw was
overpriced. Yes, its probably partly due to overheating as I do fairly
sizeable pieces sometimes and if a thin piece with gold ornaments on it is
already soldered and then I’m soldering on a bail to the whole honking
thing it has to be pretty toasty to solder the bail and the gold sinks in.
I’m trying to plan these things out better now I understand what the 14k is
doing to the silver…Dave

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


#6

Dave, I have no experience making solder, nor do I really want any – the
commercial solders work so well. But I sympathize with your problem:
getting started in this business can be horrendously expensive if you’re not
an heir to a jewelry empire. I’ve researched several old-standby books and
have concluded two things: 1) it’s probably better to stay away from cadmium
(fumes are seriously bad for your health), and 2) making gold solder sounds
like a real pain, at least if you follow Oppi Untrach’s recipes. I
quote:…

Good luck,

Rick, thanks, yes I just dug out that fat book of Oppi’s and read that same
stuff last nite including using lower karat gold for soldering. I think
maybe I’ll fake it through with combing with silver solder this time around
but guess I should bite the bullet and buy some real solder. Yes its
expensive but I’ve almost got all the tools I need, my kiln controller
showed up today which will make casting less of a pain and ordered two
brand new clean crucibles too. Thanks for taking the time to research my
question…Dave

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


#7

14K “simple” gold solder (he does not say easy, medium, hard, just
"simple"): 2g 14K gold, .5g fine silver

The 14K simple solder above is the one I was refering to and I do and
have used it with success in the past.Flow is between easy and medium.I
roll it into strips/sheet and it is ductile not as brittle as some
commercial solder is…Gavin


#8

Kim Keyworth wrote:as you

know it. Try soldering 18K or 22K to sterling - it’s much easier because
there’s so much less copper in these alloys. But more expensive.

I join 14K gold and sterling silver quite often just by fusing the two
without solder…Works for me.I flux and heat to the point where the
sterling flows to the gold a bit sort of like granulation…Gavin


#9

14K “simple” gold solder (he does not say easy, medium, hard, just
"simple"): 2g 14K gold, .5g fine silver

The 14K simple solder above is the one I was refering to and I do and
have used it with success in the past.Flow is between easy and medium.I
roll it into strips/sheet and it is ductile not as brittle as some
commercial solder is…Gavin

Thanks Gavin! I’ll try that. What I ended up doing was combining 50%
medium silver solder with 50% 14kt gold. Works but the color is a little
lighter. Someone posted to add brass to the 14kt which I did. It didn’t
work well at all, but now I’m susupiscious about the “brass” I used as when
I melted the stuff together the gold melted first. I think brass has a
lower melting point so I think there’s some other metal in there. I got the
brass from the hardware store. Dave

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


#10

*Dave,
Brass is used in silver solder not gold…Gavin