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Hard Time Soldering


#1

Hello All,

I am a new member and I’m very thankful that there is a site out
there like this where I can hopefully find the help I need. I am new
to metalsmithing. I’ve spent the last six years creating bronze
sculptures. I loved it but I’m dying to try metalsmithing again. I’ve
had a few classes in metalsmithing years ago and now I’m slowly
trying to remember on my own. I’ve been having some trouble with
soldering. Sometimes it goes well and other times not so good. I’ve
run into this particular problem where I’m trying to solder two long
strips of 14 gauge square silver wire to a fabricated rectangular box
that a bezel setting will be solder to the top. The box is open on
the ends where I want to solder the strips. I’m trying to solder them
inside the openings at the end. It’s a tight fit. I’ve cleaned it,
pickled it. Probably too many times. For some reason my hard silver
solder will not flow. I don’t know what’s going on. I would really
appreciate any help at all. The solder flows on other projects, just
not on this. Okay, thank you in advance. I’ll look forward to hearing
from you.

Sue


#2
I'm trying to solder two long strips of 14 gauge square silver wire
to a fabricated rectangular box

Possibly you are just not using enough heat. You don’t say how large
the box is, but when I constructed a 5-inch by 4-inch by 2-inch box
out of 18g sterling, I had to use two torches to get it hot enough,
evenly enough.

Do you really need to use hard solder?

Noel


#3
Your piece is not getting hot enough. You need to heat your pieces
evenly and long enough to get the solder to flow properly.

It’s a tight fit. I’ve cleaned it, pickled it. Probably too many
times. For some reason my hard silver solder will not flow.


#4

Sue,

Since you mentioned that you are not having problems soldering on
other items I will have to assume that you are using a flux for
soldering.

Most likely your problem is in the amount of heat you are using.
When soldering heavy objects, especially Sterling you need to make
sure you heat a larger area and not concentrate only on the solder
joint. As the metal heats up the solder will start to ball up. If you
have the surrounding metal heated up enough without oxidizing the
metal you can then start directing your torch tip around the joint.

Remember not to concentrate on one area and to heat the heavier
pieces first and you should find the solder will flow easier.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
greg@demarkjewelry
www.demarkjewelry.com


#5

You don’t say really enough about your project - how long is long?,
how big is big? I’m unclear about the layout of this bezel thing,
exactly. That doesn’t matter a whole lot really, because your problem
is simple - not enough heat. I made what might be a similar project
once - a silver box about 4" x 8", and I used two prestolite torches
with big tips to solder it. You need to get the entire piece of
silver, bezel, base and all, up to about 90% of soldering temp., and
that can take a lot of heat. And you don’t want to concentrate on the
solder, because it just won’t go until the base is hot. You’ll just
boil the solder and ruin it. I wouldn’t use hard solder on a huge box
top - the heat you will need to flow it well can and likely will fry
(crystallize) your entire lid. I’d use easy, and then you must
realize that, like Kevin Costner, if you heat it {enough} it will
flow.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

Hi all,

Just wanted to thank everyone who gave their input on my soldering
problem. I agree I didn’t give enough info. and I will try to do
better next time. Instead of re-explaining my problem more thoroughly
I’ll just say that the advice given was very helpful. Although I
tried to heat the entire box, because of the size, 2 by 2’’, I’m sure
now that I wasn’t getting the entire piece up the temp. I know my
soldering will get better with practice and definitely help from all
of you!

Thanks again.
Sue


#7

Hello,

It's a tight fit. I've cleaned it, pickled it. Probably too many
times. For some reason my hard silver solder will not flow. 

First of all, I agree with all of the good advice you have already
been given. I, too, believe that perhaps you are not getting the
items hot enough and question whether you should be using hard
solder. I’ve run into similar problems in the past. You might try
cleaning the item well in a warm ultrasonic with fresh solution. I
hypothesize that the pickle has gotten into the metal and may
actually be prohibiting the solder from flowing. Give it a shot and
see. That’s what makes this metal work so much fun, all of the
experimenting.

Good luck.
James S. Cantrell CMBJ