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Married Metal Help-Round 2


#1

Okay – another couple of go-rounds this afternoon – only I made
some changes this time. (Again) My sides were straight and
matched… beautifully. I annealed both the main piece as well as the
pie-shaped shibuichi piece and put them under steel blocks immediately
in order to ensure that they were as flat as possible. I got out my
trusty little surface kiln to use as a source of steady heat from
below and (this being Saturday), enlisted my bored-to-tears 12 year
old to manage one of the two torches and I worked the other one (so I
could get closer). On top of the little kiln, I put a honeycomb block
and placed both pieces in position, with a couple of strategically
place T-pins to keep things from moving around. I figured I had
enough heat so that I did not have to put anything on top, altho I did
put a charcoal block on top somewhere in the middle to keep the heat
in. The solder flowed earlier and much more smoothly. However – I
noticed that just as the solder flowed, the shibuichi moved ever so
minutely – just enough so that the join wouldn’t take place and the
flux made it so sticky I couldn’t get it back in place.

I definitely need a new strategy here. Anybody got any ideas?? This
is driving me crazy – I want to be done with this piece and move
onto anything else. . . . . Is this in any way related to shibuichi –
I have to admit I’ve never used it like this before (in this size) –
or is it I’ve just moved into the next threshold with the addition of
this piece and need to rethink it???

For Any Help — Thank You-Thank You-Thank You Laura.
@LWiesler


#2
    I definitely need a new strategy here.  Anybody got any ideas??
This is driving me crazy -- I want to be done with this piece and
move onto anything else. . . . . Is this in any way related to
shibuichi -- I have to admit I've never used it like this before (in
this size) -- or is it I've just moved into the next threshold with
the addition of this piece and need to rethink it????? 
For Any Help --- Thank You-Thank You-Thank You Laura.
lwiesler@worldnet.att.net

This is probably too obvious but are you pining or wiring these pieces together so
they can not move? Would it be possible to solder only one piece at a time to the
bigger one? Can you tack solder anything?

Marilyn Smith


#3
. . . However -- I noticed that just as the solder flowed, the
shibuichi moved ever so minutely -- just enough so that the join
wouldn't take place and the flux made it so sticky I couldn't get it
back in place. 

Laura, I think that removing the shibuichi section to re-clean all
the edges carefully before re-placing and attempting to solder again
may be helpful. Seems that I’ve read that these Japanese alloys are
especially thorny to solder with even slight oxidation present. When
you replace the piece, use a shallow-faced, polished hammer head to
strike a few places along the seam-to-be (especially at any corners or
angles) to bring the edges into firm contact and prevent shifting.
Make these blows lightly to minimize the surface deformation you’ll
have to deal with in clean-up.

You may also want to roll or forge a few strips of solder, making
very thin slivers that you can wedge into the seam openings so they
will more quickly melt and will be exactly where you need them. Be
ready with the wire solder to feed in as soon as the slivers melt.

HTH. Good luck.
Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix


#4

Hello Laura -

I do not have experience with worked with personally made mokume gane

  • I only have worked with the ready made material that has a sterling
    backing. And I agree - this is most likely a better question for an
    expert like James Binion!

However, I would like to share a trick that has worked well for me in
soldering flat surfaces of 14k to sterling or sterling to sterling.
I will very slightly dome the smaller flat piece added on top of a
larger flat section. Before describing how i do this - I want to
stress that it is a very very slight doming effect - hardly
negligible. So, to achieve this, I will tap the backside (the surface
that will be connected to the bottom piece) with a very slightly
rounded end piece of dowel - by placing it topside down on top of a
strip of leather - to do the tapping. My punch for this strategy is a
section of a broom handle - with a very shallow filed dome on the end.
This will give just the slightest dome and during soldering, it seems
to allow control of the warpage (the “relaxing” of the metal during
the soldering process) in the direction of flattening in the center
and keeping the edges flat to the surface - preventing warpage in an
undesired way. (Did that make sense, I hope!) The bottom piece is
left totally flat.

Usually, with flat to flat surfaces - I will melt the solder on the
smaller top piece - resand (clean surface) reflux - then, place where
desired. Of course the same cleaning and fluxing is done to the
surface of the bottom piece as well.

To help keep the piece from shifting . . . although, it is difficult
to use binding wire with flat to flat surfaces, it is not impossible.
Little kinks or bends in the binding wire with the pliers - can help
to secure the piece in particular areas. Binding wire was always a
must whenever I made large pieces like the porringer or cup. Yours is
definitely a larger piece. Taking the prep time ahead and making sure
everything is nicely cleaned (even the solder) will generally save
time in the long run.

Sometimes during the soldering procedure, I will even be ready to add
a little active pressure with a tweezers when the solder is at the
point of flow. With the tweezers opened, an equal and opposite
pressure can be applied - but it is really necessary to be very steady
and not shift the piece by mistake. The whole set up needs to be very
stable - if interacting with the piece this way. (Oh . . . when your
piece shifted and the flux got sticky - just reheat it again until the
flux becomes fluid again and reposition quickly.)

I will heat from below on a tripod set up - for this type of
soldering. (If it is a small piece - it can be held in a tweezers and
heated from below in the air.) For the larger size you are working
with, the containment idea of a firebrick makeshift wall enclosure set
up around the tripod would probably be helpful - especially if there
is a breeze in the soldering area. When we were doing large pieces
this past summer - having a larger bushier flame torch along with
another torch with a more focused tip - as a combo is good - actually,
essential. One person keeps the whole piece up to heat - constantly
moving the larger flame around the whole piece, and the other torch is
focused where the solder needs to flow - preferably from below. I
always watch the changes in the flux to know when to zero in on the
area of soldering. I question your idea of using a piece of charcoal
on top of the piece - as you had described that it would hold the heat
in. It seems to me that this would probably have the opposite effect

  • namely working as a heat sink - drawing the heat away - and
    preventing the piece from getting up to the needed temperature.

A longer lasting flux is probably a good idea too - as suggested. In
my minimal experience with these metals - there does seem to be a
great sensitivity to oxidation. I generally use good old Handy flux
(haven’t experimented that much with this type of situation since I
picked up a borax cone.)

Now, my input here is pure troubleshooting - and I hope I’m not out
of line in joining in the discussion (because of my minimal
shibuichi/mokume gane experience) but your problem sounded like a
great fun frustrating problem to solve - and I thought I’d share the
slight doming trick. Works for me. :slight_smile:

I hope your problem was already solved by the time you get this
input!!

Aloha,
Cynthia


#5

Hi again -

Shucks, just an add on correction here for my description of the
punch that I use in slightly doming before joining the 2 flat
surfaces. I use a piece of a harder wood - a section of a dried branch
from some type of citrus wood. It is close to 1" diameter - but
irregular in shape - which is actually a very useful feature. The end
that i use for the punch is literally flat - just very very slightly
rounded - very subtle. (The broom handle punch that I use is for
deeper doming - in wooden grooves.) The leather strip has a slight
give - but is fairly solid and is about 1/4" thick. Anyhow, oops . . .
not sure why it slipped my mind when I was typing away yesterday
morning!

cynthia


#6

Hi Gang,

For doming metals a good source of punches of various sizes (&
shapes) is the cabinet hardware dept of your local hardware or home
improvement store. Drawer & door pulls come in many sizes and shapes.
Many of them are made from hardwoods & can be easily modified if
necessary. If a die is necessary, a sand bag can used or a hot water
softenable plastic can be molded over the drawer pull. In the US,
there’s a product called AquaPlast & another called Jett Sett,
that’ll fill the bill. Sorry I don’t have the address for AquaPlast,
but Rio Grande sell Jett Sett, about $34/lb.

Dave


#7

Orchidians, we have a few extraordinary persons among us frequently
called upon for specific needs, John Burgess and chemicals come to
mind, among others, then there is Dave Arens. Today’s posts from Dave
triggered my response. If ever there was an “all round man” it has
got to be Dave. Going to Home Depot or similar for hard wood punches
is a very valuable suggestion. That is Dave, a simple, imaginative,
creative and non expensive solution that brings the light bulb on
above our heads, he absolutely thinks for me.

Pulling together an International bunch, in one space during the most
crowded time possible in Tucson and making it seem easy, that too is
Dave. I am in awe.

Thanks Dave for just being you and that is more than enough. Teresa