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I am used to balling up solder


#1

My boss comes from the old school and he tells me that you should not
ball up solder with the flame when soldering. He says that this is
actually burning the solder and that it causes porosity. His
instruction is to flux the solder and place it on the piece, then
heat the piece until the solder runs (obviously flux the piece first
as well). His way is the way that I first learned to solder and I
don’t mind the extra time that this process takes, but sometimes I
find that I cannot get the solder to stick to the piece unless it is
balled up first. If the joint that I am trying to solder does not
have a flat surface for a flat piece of solder to rest on, it often
falls off when I apply the flame to the piece. However, when I ball
up the solder first, I can usually get it to stick to any piece.
Does anyone else agree that this is an improper way to solder and
that it causes porosity?


#2
My boss comes from the old school and he tells me that you should
not ball up solder with the flame when soldering. He says that this
is actually burning the solder and that it causes porosity 

I also am old school, different school. I can have porosity when I
solder when I don’t ball up the solder. I have spent most of the last
20 years balling up silver and gold solder before I read that it was
an issue. Still do it, but it depends on what I am doing. And I never
have cleaned my solder of tarnish. Do some experiments, do it both
ways, see what works. For silver soldering, I recently found that
cutting small pieces of wire solder allows me to align the solder
with the seam on a bezel, or placed against a bezel either inside or
outside works the best for me to get the best flow of solder when the
round shape touches both surfaces to be soldered. The best joints are
attained by right size flame and heating the parts to be soldered so
all parts reach the temp where the solder flows and the two parts
suck the solder into the seam by capillary action.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co.


#3
Does anyone else agree that this is an improper way to solder and
that it causes porosity? 

Well the answer is maybe. It is certainly possible to overheat the
solder when balling it up and burn out (vaporize) some of the alloy
(the zinc). This will make it harder (higher melting point). The
porosity is not coming from the overheating though, it is from the
absorption of oxygen while molten. If you take care with keeping the
heat low and keep the cooler part of the flame on the ball as it
solidifies you will not have any problems.

Jim
James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

Hello Annie, I think that however you decide to solder. if it works
well, you’ve done it properly. If the seam is porous afterwords, you
got the solder too hot and burned it, no matter how it was applied.
I’m of the old school and sometimes apply solder in a flat square and
sometimes I ball it up first. It all depends on the job. Have fun.

Tom Arnold


#5
However, when I ball up the solder first, I can usually get it to
stick to any piece. 

I don’t know if your boss is old school or not, but it is possible to
go through life without ever balling up solder. It is entirely
possible for you to learn to solder the boss’s way. Why not?
Learning more skills is always a good thing.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#6

I agree with your mentor, but to solve the problem, ball the solder
up first as usual, flux and heat the joint then apply the ball to the
joint. The trick is to not over heat the solder first. If you can see
small sparks coming off the ball, the the alloy is being burned off.


#7

Balling up solder is the preferred way to transfer solder onto a
pick and then precisely transfer it to your joint. Overheating, if
not melted properly, as Jim eloquently states, can create a poor
seam.

Here are a few suggestions to maintain the integrity of your solder
seam.

  1. Melt your solder, just to a balled state on charcoal and with any
    flux EXCEPT paste. Paste flux will make your nice charcoal gummy and
    sticky. You can continue the process with paste flux, I like Superior
    Six.

  2. Heat your pick and quickly dunk it into the paste flux.

  3. Prepare your work ready to solder. Joints should be flush fitting
    and tight.

  4. Solder ball transfer. With your heated pick, I bring my torch and
    keep my pick hot and and the little ball of solder also hot (but not
    brightly glowing) and transfer the ball onto the heated sticky flux.

  5. Heat your piece and then transfer the balled solder to your
    joint.

Solder ball vs. chip. The feature of a soldered ball is that solder
is already flowed once and ready to go. It’s a great way to solder.

For other hints on soldering:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/still-cant-solder

Karen Christians
Cleverwerx


#8

I pick up a pallion of solder with my titanium pick and heat it till
it balls up and then place it on the seam. I use paste flux. Easy,
fast, and fun.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co