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IT solder basics


#1

Ok, I have been doing a search, on line, to find out more information
on IT solder but can’t find much about it. What is the melting
temperature, what does IT stand for? I know it has a higher melting
temperature than hard solder. I want to be able to solder first
before enameling on my piece but I need more before I do
this. If someone could point me to a website or give me more
I would be grateful.

Roxan O’Brien
www.desiginsbyroxan.com


#2

Not sure what the extra hard solder’s IT stands for, but here’s what
you wanted to know with regards to melting temperatures:

Formula         Melt and Flow
#56 Extra Easy  1115 F 1205 F
#60 Easy        1155 F 1310 F
#65 Medium      1240 F 1325 F
#70 Medium      1275 F 1360 F
#75 Hard        1365 F 1450 F
# IT            1345 F 1490 F
EUTECTIC        1435 F 1435 F

Source: http://www.myuniquesolutions.com/page6.html

K. David Woolley
Fredericton, NB
Diversiform Metal Art & Jewellery


#3

Roxan,

You can purchase eutectic solder at Thompsonenamel.com. This is the
only kind of solder I use when I enamel…it works well!!! It has a
melting point of 1460 F.

There is also additional in the Ganoksin archives. Below
is a cut and paste from an old Ganoksin message - Beth Katz, July
2008.

There are differences between the Eutectic solder and the IT
solder. First of all, if you are going to enamel OVER the solder
join, then you must think Eutectic solder. The Eutectic solder is
formulated so that there is no zinc; it is made from only silver
and copper. By combining these two metals, you create a lower
melting point for either of the two metals alone. The 'formula"
utilized is usually a combination of 71.9% silver and 28.1%
copper and produces the lowest melting point when these two
metals are combined. The interesting thing about a Eutectic
solder is that there is no so called "mushy" state, but goes
instead from a solid to a liquid once it reaches the proper
temperature for the flow point. 

If you do have a solder, with zinc, as in the IT or in hard
solder, when you enamel over the solder, you are most likely to
have bubbles form in your enamel. You can, of course, use the IT
solder where the enamel is not going to be covering that spot. 

I would suggest the use of the Handy Flux only, and not use any
black flux. You do need a flux that will stand up to the
temperature you need to flow the solder. The IT is designed to
flow at 1490 F. When you talk about the pallions not melting,
your solder may be very dirty. Clean with a bit of sandpaper on
both sides before cutting and make sure the flux is in contact
with the solder as well as the base. 

Good Luck,
Aimee Domash:-)


#4
....more on IT solder but can't find much about it.
What is the melting temperature, what does IT stand for? I know it
has a higher melting temperature than hard solder. I want to be
able to solder first before enameling on my piece 

Roxan, use hard solder instead. IT (aka enamelling solder) is a bit
like medium solder in that it balls up and doesn’t flow as well as
hard. Plus you shouldn’t be taking the enamel over the melting point
of hard solder anyway, as you risk overfiring. I just thought IT a
waste of time.

Peter W Rowe was generous in sending me detailed about
using Prip’s flux to protect the silver from firescale, using a
simple cheap airbrush /atomiser. He advised that a thin coating is
better than the thicker paste that was giving me problems - thanks,
Peter!

As long as you minimise the firescale (or remove it from the
sterling after soldering), you should not get muddy colours.

The esteemed Sarah Perkins uses eutectic solder for some purposes
with good results, but of course this has a much lower melting
point. Sarah taught a most wonderful week-long workshop here a few
years ago, and if you ever get the chance to study with her, DO IT!
She has so many techniques in her repertoire that she had our heads
spinning with ideas.

Tamizan


#5

I do not remember what “IT” stands for, but it is a solder composed
of gold and silver only. It is specially used for enamel work because
it provides for the best adhesion. It is very easily made. Just
combine gold and pure silver (not sterling) in required proportion.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6

Thanks everyone for the on IT solder for enameling. I
have gotten a lot of great ideas. You guys are great.

Roxan O’Brien
www.designsbyroxan.com


#7
Just combine gold and pure silver (not sterling) in required
proportion. 

This cannot possibly be accurate, as IT solder is dull gray, not
"green" gold. People do others a great disservice when they post
"that is really dis

Noel


#8
Peter W Rowe was generous in sending me detailed about
using Prip's flux to protect the silver from firescale, using a
simple cheap airbrush /atomiser. He advised that a thin coating is
better than the thicker paste that was giving me problems -
thanks, Peter! 

you’re welcome, Tamizan

A search of the Orchid archives will also find all the same info I
sent in that email. Search for Prips, possible for a misspelled
Pripps, as well as Frips, a variant from Fred Fenster using Cascade
dish washing powder instead of TSP.

Peter


#9

Leonid,

I do not remember what "IT" stands for, but it is a solder
composed of gold and silver only. 

I’m pretty certain it’s COPPER and silver, not gold. While you might
make a high melting solder with gold and silver, the stuff sold to
silversmiths as IT solder does not, I’m positive, have any gold in
it. Just as an added illustrative point, I’d note that IT solder,
while not as commonly carried in the stocks of various supplies
dealers, doesn’t cost any more than other types of silver solder
when you do find it. That rather suggest is isn’t likely to have gold
in it, doesn’t it…

Peter Rowe


#10

David,

Your question on the forum was what does “IT” stand for when
referring to silver bearing solder.

Someone had written to the Jewelry Artist Magazine, with this same
query. I was contacted by Tom and Kay Benham who write the “Ask The
Experts” column for this publication, and was asked if I could give
any on the question.

As it turned out, the answer was published in the January 2009
issue. To quote some of my response " It is not common practice to
use this Intense Temperature as a name for the 80% silver formula for
the solder as “IT” is much easier and faster. The periods after both
letters have been dropped in common usage. The solder itself is
composed of 80% silver and other part (20%) of the formula is made of
other ingredients".

Please note that the “other part” of the solder does contain zinc,
which is why this formula (IT) should not be used when the intent of
your project is to use vitreous enamel over that particular spot to
which IT solder has been flowed. The zinc does not allow the enamel
to adhere properly; there is a chemical reaction which makes the
enamel bubble, chip or flake. This reaction may not happen in the
immediate time frame, but will more than likely happen in the future,
so it is prudent not to use IT for that particular application. IT
solder, can however, be used safely for the attachments of findings
before enameling is to take place and where enamel application will
not directly be touched by the enamel. IT solder melts at 1345 F and
flows at 1490 F.

When enameling over any join that you wish to hide, please elect to
use the Eutectic formula which contains only silver and copper as the
metals. The Eutectic melts and flows at 1435 F.

If you would like a photocopy of the entire article, please email me
with your request.

Beth Katz
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com
Paste and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmiths


#11
This cannot possibly be accurate, as IT solder is dull gray, not
"green" gold. People do others a great disservice when they post
"that is really dis

Gold IT is only slightly greenish, silver IT is perfectly white.
Whatever you are using under the name IT solder, is not IT solder I
know.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#12
I'm pretty certain it's COPPER and silver, not gold. While you
might make a high melting solder with gold and silver, the stuff
sold to silversmiths as IT solder does not 

Gold IT is gold and silver; silver IT is like you said. I know it
for a fact because when I worked for Tiffany’s in 70th, it was
mandatory to do primary joints in IT. Jewelers do not like it,
because it does not flow easily, and if one is not careful, one can
melt the piece; but it stronger than hard solder, and it matches
better with 18k yellow.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13
Gold IT is gold and silver; silver IT is like you said. I know it
for a fact because when I worked for Tiffany's in 70th, it was
mandatory to do primary joints in IT. Jewelers do not like it,
because it does not flow easily, and if one is not careful, one
can melt the piece; but it stronger than hard solder, and it
matches better with 18k yellow. 

Thanks Leonid, for the explanation. that clears it up completely.
The problem I had was simply that I’ve never heard of a gold solder
called IT. I’ve only seen that designation with silver solders. But
when working with gold, an alloy of gold with just silver certainly
would be high enough melting to qualify for that name, especially if
without any copper.

On the other hand, I can see some advantages. A gold/silver alloy
would provide a joint that would not be subject to any later
cracking, since that sort of alloy is very ductile/malleable. And
problems with oxidation during soldering would be minimal…

Do you happen to know what percentage of silver would be added to
the gold for use on 18K? Given that suppliers I know of don’t sell
such a solder, I’d enjoy making some up to try…

cheers
Peter Rowe


#14
Do you happen to know what percentage of silver would be added to
the gold for use on 18K? Given that suppliers I know of don't sell
such a solder, I'd enjoy making some up to try... 

The easiest way is to add some fine silver to 18k plate you working
with.

Not exactly IT, but resulting solder is close enough. For pure IT
experience, find out from your refiner the melting point of your
plate and mix gold and fine silver to obtain alloy with melting
point comfortably bellow. Gold and silver alloy melting points are on
the straight line from pure gold to pure silver.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#15

Hi, Folks…

IT solder is a high temperature solder that a lot of enamelists use.
It melts at 1490F, allowing us to use it on pieces that will be going
in and out of the kiln. It is 80% silver, 16% copper, 4% zinc. (This
is according to Linda Darty’s book, The Art of Enameling).

Cheers!
Barbara Louise Bowling
www.LouisesLeap.com


#16

I have never heard the term “IT” referred to gold or gold bearing
solders. “IT” has always been used, in my experience, when discussing
silver solders.

When I worked in shops at the bench we used the term “Weld” to refer
to high temp. gold solders…

This appears to be a semantic discussion at this point.

Thanks, Beth, for the explanation of the term “IT”!
Andy


#17

Hi All,

I do not remember what "IT" stands for, but it is a solder
composed of gold and silver only. It is specially used for enamel
work because it provides for the best adhesion. It is very easily
made. Just combine gold and pure silver (not sterling) in required
proportion. 

It could be a total disaster for the person using IT to solder joins
when planning to enamel over that area in their piece… IT
solder contains zinc. When you put the zinc into the formulation of
the solder, to help make the solder flow more easily, vitreous enamel
will totally react. Read chemical reaction. The enamel will flake,
chip or disintegrate at the point where it meets the IT formula of
solder. Not a pretty picture. The IT contains no gold.

The solder that you are referring to as having only copper and
silver is referred to as Eutectic. Eutectic contains no zinc. You can
enamel happily over that type of solder. If you want to make, for
example a pod form, you form your item and solder the seams with the
Eutectic formula, you will have no chemical reaction because the
metals contained in that solder are only copper and fine silver. The
binders, which are present in paste solder, have no bearing on the
compatibility of the Eutectic formula and the enamels since what we
are looking at is the metals that are used to make the Eutectic
solder.

The IT stands for Intense Temperature. The initial I and T are the
first letters of each word. I do have another recent post on the IT
formula, as well as addressing the Eutectic features and
applications; please check the archives.

Beth Katz
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com


#18
The solder that you are referring to as having only copper and
silver is referred to as Eutectic. Eutectic contains no zinc. 

Perhaps not in the jewelry world, but ordinarily, eutectic refers to
an alloy of any two metals where the melting point is as low as
possible, and both components solidify at that temperature when
cooling. A eutectic tin-lead solder is very common, for example - 63%
tin, 37% lead. So maybe the solder you refer to should be called
copper-silver eutectic?

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#19
..... The zinc [in IT solder] does not allow the enamel to adhere
properly; there is a chemical reaction which makes the enamel
bubble, chip or flake.... 

Beth, this happened when (long ago) I tried enameling directly on
brass. Unfortunately, the high temperature required for fusing the
enamels also makes the zinc fume out of the brass, giving the
bubbles and generally bad effects to which you refer.

Then I thought, well, how do the Chinese (or anyone) produce the
jewelry pieces which appear to be enameled brass? I think they coat
the brass with something first, but I really don’t know how all that
is done. Any comments?

Judy Bjorkman


#20
Perhaps not in the jewelry world, but ordinarily, eutectic refers
to an alloy of any two metals where the melting point is as low as
possible, and both components solidify at that temperature when
cooling. A eutectic tin-lead solder is very common, for example -
63% tin, 37% lead. So maybe the solder you refer to should be
called copper-silver eutectic? 

Yes the solder she is referring to is the silver-copper eutectic,
melting point 1435 F. The term eutectic is generally misused and
misunderstood by many in the jewelry community.

FWIW

Eutectic

adjective relating to or denoting a mixture of substances (in fixed
proportions) that melts and solidifies at a single temperature that
is lower than the melting points of the separate constituents or of
any other mixture of them.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts