They may not solder well, but they fuse nicely!
In fact, the really weird part is that this last ring didn’t even
want to fuse. The metal would melt like aluminum around the slice or
crack where I was working, but wouldn’t close as if it was full of
rouge or some other contaminant.
I gave up on working on silicon based alloys years ago
I am opening up a retail location on the 25th of this month. I’m
running very scared at the moment and don’t want top give up any work
right now. Trade work has been crappy in recent years, but I think I
have reached my limits.
You don't mention if these are silver or gold rings
These are yellow gold rings. I have been running into this more and
more. I assumed that I had dirty fingers for a while and was getting
rouge into the joints or something. That’s the way that these rings
I had a client that was selling weird platinum alloys a couple of
years ago and I was running into some of these same types of
problems. Strange oxides or other contaminants and lower melting
points. I no longer do these peoples work so it is not presently an
I also avoid cobalt alloys whenever possible.
We share a number of methods. I see nothing controversial about
quenching a ring sizing while hot. I was taught to hold the ring in
my fingers to avoid overheating the stone. As for flux, I’ve been
trying more and less flux. Batterns seem to have no effect.
I have experienced many of the same problems you mentioned,
particularly in new, "discounted" pieces coming from the discount
retailers (i.e. Kmart, Walmart, etc.), and I am no longer taking
them in for sizing.
That’s a good thing to hear. In my new shop, I will have to develop
a policy pretty quickly.
You are probably working on alloys containing silicon. The
silicon when heated forms a silicon dioxide layer on the surfaces
of the metal and is resistant to wetting by the solder.
This sounds right. It is a good description of what is happening. I
have been using Batterns flux, which I understood to contain florides
… ooops! I just took a look at my bottle of Batterns only to
discover that my Batterns is in fact Griffiths floride free flux.
This may be key to my solution. I’ll quick get some real flux. I
wasn’t avoiding florides in flux from a fear of HF as some may. It
was just ah … sloth … I’ll have to take care to read the bottle
next time that I make a purchase. If it doesn’t work better, I’m
afraid I’ll be telling people where to cram their junk jewelry.
Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler