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Gold Soldering


#1

Dear Friends, I need some hand holding. Plan to make a 14k solid gold
piece with a14k gold bezel that is 20mm x 7mm. How do you go about
soldering. I have worked in silver all these years and have done some
gold , but not a big piece. I have an acetylene tank—just straight
acetylene. Can the job be done with this tank? and what size smithtip
should I use?

I know that gold takes the direct heat for solder flow, but do you
still have to slightly heat the entire piece? Any help would be greatly
appreciated. Lisa


#2

Gold solders a bit differently than silver. It has much lower coefficient of thermal conductivity (how fast it wicks heat away from a spot and distributes it across the piece). You clean and prep it in the same way. It has been my experience that gold solders don’t wick quite as well as silver solder (and that’s just my observation), so make sure your seams/joins are tight. You play the flame across the piece to get it all hot, the you concentrate on the spot you are soldering because the heat won’t conduct away like silver. On the plus side you can get away with working closer to previously soldiered joins because the heat stays put on the spot you are working - well, to a point. I can’t comment on what size tip to use because that depends on the size of the piece. In that respect, its much like silver. Acetylene with just air (prest-o-light, Silversmith) gets plenty hot to solder gold. It also has been my observation (and may just be me) that gold doesn’t give as clear signals when its fixing to melt on you as does silver - guess its the color … and the fact you can get it hot fast because the heat does not travel to the rest of the piece. Good luck!