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IT Solder


#1

In several of the threads it is stated to solder with IT. I hate to
be the ignorant one but what is IT??? Thanks alot, Karen in Calif


#2

IT solder is used to solder fine silver that will then be enameled.
It’s melting temperature is very close to the melting temperature of
fine silver. Many of my class mates cursed it when I was in school.


#3

I.T. solder is a very hard solder-especially good for use in
marriage-of-metals fabrication because it has the unique quality of
being able to fill minute spaces, unlike other solders. Dee


#4

Dear Karen,

I think it has to do with the phrase, “It melted when…” Seriously,
IT solder is a grade above hard silver solder. IT is most often used
by enamelists and others to solder fine (pure) silver.

Pauline


#5

Ahh, now here is one I can help with!

IT solder is an extra hard solder… i.e. it is closer to the melting
point of silver. It is commonly used in enameling as it’s melting
point is higher than that of the glass enamel.

It’s available from Allcraft I believe (I can check on that).

Sadie


#6

Hi all,

IT solder is about 95% silver, so its melting temperature is quite
close to that of fine silver [1740 F., if I remember rightly]. This
makes it appropriate as a solder for things that will be enameled. I
need some of my structures to take 1650 F. without coming apart, and
this stuff does the trick. In addition to enameling, it has some other
uses. 1. If you are building a fine silver structure and want a REALLY
invisible solder seam, use IT. This also gives you another step above
hard solder if you have a lot of joints close together and you need
to keep the first joints stable while working on the later ones. 2.
Learning to use IT [it does take practice] will teach you more about
soldering silver than anything else. When I have students who have
only ever used easy, or perhaps medium, and are afraid to try hard
because they melted something once, I teach them to use IT. After
that, hard solder is a cakewalk! A couple of tips: build a little
fireplace with firebrick around the piece so that you can heat the
entire thing evenly by bouncing heat back onto it from the bricks. Use
a good quality paste flux like Superior 6 or Dandix [both fluoride
free]. Don’t use IT on anything except fine silver. I get my IT from
Hauser & Miller in St. Louis.

hope this helps,

Anne Hollerbach


#7

Karen There should be something about it in the archives, as we had a
lead on it about half a year ago, but shortly IT solder is a siver
solder harder than hard, it is mainly used for enameling, will melt
around 721 degr C and flow around 810 degr. C

Merry Christmas from Denmark, where we just two nights ago had the
first frost and not a single sign of snow. Niels L�vschal,
@L_F8vschal


#8

Hauser & Miller’s Catalog lists IT solder as being 80% Silver and
having a Solidus Point of 1340 F and a Liquidous Point of 1460 F. You
can solder Sterling with it but you have to be quick and I would not
try it on anything you have put a lot of work into until you have
mastered its use. I use it on occasion on sterling and it is always
quite exciting but it is an invisible joint and is very strong.

Jim


jbin@well.com
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
510-533-5108


#9

I work mostly in silver occasionally gold… IT solder is hard to
work with… Know the difference between chip and pick/ball
soldering??? well IT will not hardly work at all with pick soldering
because by the time you have balled up your solder to place on you
work piece you have burned out all of the alloy as well. Its is
really only worthwhile for enamellists that need to go through all
the hassle anyway.`NOW here’s the concept: each time a piece of
solder get heated up to soldering temp some of the alloy {mostly
zinc} gets burned off {vaporized} and it becomes purer/ harder. The
designations of easy medium medium-hard etc. are all very arbitrary
and vary greatly with each of the manufacturers… I try to use only
one makers solder for all types for this very reason… however
sometimes it doesn’t work out because I have a bunch of left over
solders from other classes and stuff… anyway A whole lot of
fabrication in stages can all be done with medium because after the
first solder stage goes and that gets harder/purer from getting
heated once next stage it will melt only at a hotter temp than before
so you can go ahead a use more of the same temp solder as you did
first time. Then range between the two solders can sometimes be
narrow; however when I do a multistage fabrication in all medium
sometimes I just heat up the piece a few times to harden up the
solder and use more medium. I generally reserve hard and easy for the
complex stuff. Easy has a poor color match and the hard I’m using
now is difficult to flow and I mostly use use it on the bezels which
a fine silver and harder to melt anyway. Try playing around with a
few chips of medium on a scrap of brass and you will see what I mean.

Mark Kaplan
132 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-1208 USA
markaplan@hotmail.com


#10

Mark,

IT solder is important to people other than enamelists. It does
give a special temperature range that is very high. It can be used
in lots of different applications other than jewelry. We have as a
customer, a tool maker, using German silver, that swears by the IT
that we offer. He is making special tools for beadmakers who are
doing lampwork. This extra temperature gives a good fit with the
products that he designs, develops and produces.

Many enamelists also use the IT because it fits into their scope of
work. It is slightly “harder” to use because of the higher
temperatures demanded by the formula. In the paste format, it is
truly a different experience soldering with it in that
configuration, than using the sheet and flux. Paste has the flux,
with just the right formulation included in the paste

Beth Katz
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com


#11

Where can you get IT paste solder. I have never seen this before.


#12
IT will not hardly work at all with pick soldering because by the
time you have balled up your solder to place on you work piece you
have burned out all of the alloy as well. 

Mark, I gave pick soldering with IT another try, only this time I
used 99 Flux on both the join and the soldering pick. It worked!
This flux melts clear and sticky, so the solder doesn’t have to melt
in order to stick to the pick, and it transfers easily to the join.

I’ve been spending more time preparing the fit of the join. Of
course, the better the pieces fit, the harder it is to see the join.
Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but sometimes I accidentally put the
solder in the wrong place, and if it is almost right I don’t
bother to do it over. I just use the pick to sort of squeegee the
melted solder onto the join.

Janet


#13

Janet, On jump rings, when you close the join, mark the spot with a
permanent black ink pen. After pickling, you can easily find the
spot for soldering.

Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#14
   On jump rings, when you close the join, mark the spot with a
permanent black ink pen.  After pickling, you can easily find the
spot for soldering. 

Remembering that pickling only removes surface oxides, and has no
other cleaning action, why would you pickle your jump rings after
closing them, before soldering? Normally, one would expect the jump
rings to be already clean before you close them, and closing them
isn’t going to change that. They should be ready for soldering as
soon as you close them. You’d put some flux on the jump ring,
protect the rest of the piece from fire scale if needed (prips flux,
for example), and solder the ring. THEN you pickle it. Also, be a
little careful of the black pen. it will act as a solder resist, at
least that portion that doesnt’ burn off. if you get the ink INTO
the joint, the solder won’t flow well there, as the residual carbon
from the ink will block solder flow (and the initial ink application
may reduce flux coverage too.) If you mark the joint, it would be
best to place the mark slightly to the side of the actual joint.

Peter


#15

Peter, Your comments regarding the hazards of marking the join of
links with black ink makes sense. I usually wind dead soft wire
(that has not been pickled) around a mandrel, cut the links, close
every other link (for a chain), then pickle all of the links. I
pickle the links at this point because I assume that I might have
contaminated the metal by handling (oils, etc.) and to remove a wax
that I believe is coating the silver when it is sent to me by the
manufacturer (to retard tarnish). Are these assumptions not
correct? (I thought the pickle acid removed oils and waxes.)
Apparently I have been very lucky about the ink not running down
into the joint. I really only put a dot of ink on (or next to ?)
the spot. Now that I know what could happen, I’ll probably have
trouble.

Regards,
Nancy


#16
        I gave pick soldering with IT another try, only this time
I used 99 Flux on both the join and the soldering pick. It worked! 

where did you get the 99 flux I have not heard of this brand


#17

Hi Nancy,

I usually wind dead soft wire (that has not been pickled) around a
mandrel, cut the links, close every other link (for a chain), then
pickle all of the links. I pickle the links at this point because
I assume that I might have contaminated the metal by handling
(oils, etc.) and to remove a wax that I believe is coating the
silver when it is sent to me by the manufacturer (to retard
tarnish). 

I to, make a lot of chain that’s fused or soldered. Unless you have
some very unusual work habits, the ends of the rings will not get
enough dirt in them to prevent solder from flowing. Pickling before
soldering really isn’t necessary.

Also, it’s really not necessary to use dead soft wire. I’ve used 1/2
hard wire for most all jobs. Unless, of course, you’re using
something heavier than 10 ga & are having difficulty winding it.

Here’s what I’ve found very efficient for soldering links to be used
in a handmade chain.

  1. Close 1/2 the links flush & tight. As the link is closed, lay it
    on soldering surface so the joint is at 12 o’clock. Lay the next
    link in a row, right next to the last link, but not touching. Keep
    the joints at 12 o’clock.

  2. After the row is filled, start a new row about 1" below the
    previous row. Continue until the soldering surface is covered or all
    the links have been closed. The 1" spacing helps prevent accidents
    during the soldering activity.

  3. After the links have been closed & positioned, apply the solder.
    Paste solder in syringes works well for chain links. It stays where
    it’s put; the location & amount placed can be easily controlled.
    Place a small dab of solder on the inside of the link, so it
    contacts both sides of the joint between about 11:57 & 12:03. The
    dab should be about the diameter of the wire or a little smaller.
    Apply solder to each link in turn until all the links have had
    solder applied.

  4. When all the links have had solder applied, turn the soldering
    surface around so the joints are all at 6 o’clock. Light the torch &
    start in the upper right hand (for right handed folks) corner,
    soldering each links in the row until the row is done. Then proceed
    to the next row. The links solder well if the flame is directed at
    the outside of the link between about 11:45 & 12:15. Applying the
    heat from the outside pulls the solder through the joint & any
    excess stays on the inside of the link & tends to spread evenly on
    both sides of the joint. When all the links have been soldered,
    gather them on a copper or other wire that can go in the pickle pot.
    Twist the ends of the wire so the links can’t come off & pickle.

Actually, it’s not really necessary to pickle the links at this
point. They’ll get pickled after the chain is assembled & the final
soldering is done.

  1. Assemble the chain using the soldered & unsoldered links as the
    pattern dictates. Solder the unsoldered links using paste solder & a
    method that you feel most comfortable with.

  2. Attach the termination’s, pickle & polish the completed chain.

Dave


#18

I am just getting started in enameling. One requirement is that I
have “IT solder” in stock yet none of the suppliers I have checked
with have a silver solder under that name. What should I be buying,
or what is the silver/copper ratio for “IT solder” ?

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286


#19

Hi Brian,

re source for IT solder:

A good source is Enamelwork Supply Co., 1022 NE 68th Seattle WA
98115; phone No. 800-596-3257. Coral Schaffer is the owner. She
provides excellent service.

One very satisfied customer,

David Popham


#20

By weight - 80% fine silver, 16% copper, 4% zinc. If you are smelting
it yourself you will need to “envelope” the zinc to prevent it
boiling off before you complete. I normally roll out the copper to a
fine sheet and enclose the zinc before adding to the melted fine
silver.

Brepohl suggests smelting the silver and copper in crucible, prising
the metal button up and adding the zinc underneath as there is
enough residual heat to melt and take up the zinc although I have not
tried this method.