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Melting a bead on gold fill wire?

I have never worked with gold and don’t especially plan to outside of a gift I’m considering for a friend. I understand gold-fill is a layer of gold bonded to a base metal core, and if you cut the wire and leave the end exposed that core will be visible. What happens if you melt a bead on the end? Do you end up with a brassy bead?

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Why not just try it?

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

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Because I’m not in a position to waste money, especially when there are people out there who have already tried it and can give me a simple thumbs up/down.

A search of the archives will net an abundance of information.

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Brass melts at a higher temperature than gold. I have balled up solid brass before, but I am not sure what will happen to the gold in the process since you have well exceeded its melting point getting the brass to melt…Rob

hi all,

i always thought one could not heat or solder gold filled/ gold plated stock…that the gold layer would burn off or something…a friend recently corrected me on that notion…now i would like to try!

a few years ago, i did a repair on a friends dads pharmacy class ring…the center stone had fallen out…i usually shy away from repairs, but she was insistent that it would be all right no matter what happened…and she told me it was 14k yellow gold

i ordered a beautiful synthetic garnet

i needed to stretch open the bezel a teeny bit to set the stone…
but it felt very stiff…and was extremely thin…so i decided to try to anneal it a bit

i coated it in flux and fired up the torch…

the ring slowly went from gold color to bright silver color before my eyes! I was mortified!

i decided to blacken it to take the brightness down a bit and give it a more “worn” look…the liver of sulfur did not go thru its normal darkening color stages…but i was able to achieve the warm burnished look of old worn sterling silver, which i love.

i sent my friend a picture…she had already heard the initial horror story and calmed me down…casually saying “oh…i thought it was 14k yellow gold…

she said “lets see what dad thinks”…

she showed her dad the picture and he was ecstatic…he had worn that ring every day since he had earned it decades ago…until the stone fell out…then it sat in a dark safe for years until his daughter had found it in the safe one day while helping him with something…

he was so happy to be able to wear it again, and wore the ring proudly until he passed a few years ago…,Gerry was a dapper man!

julie

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Hello ‘ifutzwithfire’
I have tried to make head pins (melt a bead on the end of wire) with gold filled wire. As others have noted, the heat causes the gold coating to disappear. I wanted that gold ball on the wire and since the wire would be covered by beads or such, the obvious fix was to attach a small ball of gold to the end of any metal wire.

Not too difficult, but definitely ‘fiddly’. Flux the end of the wire and pick up some solder on the wire. Melt a little scrap gold on your soldering brick/charcoal block. Quickly touch the fluxed wire with solder to the molten gold ball and you should see the two fuse. Practice will improve your results.

I considered fluxing the balled end of brass wire and picking up gold solder with the thought that the solder would flash over the ball. Didn’t try it though. Could be an interesting experiment.

In the end, I just bit the bullet and created head pins by balling up the end of 24 ga gold wire. Sometimes speed offsets cost.

Judy in Kansas, who is still waiting for a freeze. Stripped the garden in anticipation, but temps didn’t drop as predicted. Those weather people have been known to lie ;-}

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I tried searching and did not come up with what I was looking for. My iPad is old and I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got some kind of compatibility issue that’s not playing nice with search. It’s infuriating. :roll_eyes:

Thanks all. Seems my suspicion was confirmed, so I’m going to go in a different direction for this one.

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How much money would you actually waste?

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

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None, I don’t try to ball up gold filled wire. I am just pretty sure that the gold would disappear in order for the brass to ball up…Rob

hi
ok, so, on a related note…is it possible to solder gold- filled wire…and retain the gold surface layer?

ie: solder jumprings closed…solder chain…fabricate with wire?

it sounds like the answer is no, asi previously believed before my friend said it is possible…?…confused now…

julie

Yes, I’ve done it. I’ve soldered 14K yellow gold clad 10 or 12 ga. twisted wire to form a ring for earrings, and then soldered settings to them. I use 14K plumb yellow gold cadmium-free easy solder from Stuller.

I’ve also done the same thing with 14K rose gold clad with 14K plumb rose gold cadmium-free easy solder from Stuller, BUT have had mixed results. Some of the pieces - 20 - 30%? - had sections turn bright silver. The 14K rose solder does not flow as easily, at least not for me, and I think the longer time under the torch may be a factor. Or, my soldering skill is just not up to it. I’m no goldsmith.

But 14K yellow gold clad? Yes, it can be soldered.

A factor might be the heaviness of the wire I used. 5% of a thick wire has a thicker coating of gold than 5% of a thin wire. And a thinner wire would be easier to overheat. One might need to be extra careful with thinner gauges.

Neil A

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Since gold filled wire is pretty inexpensive, there not being much gold in it, you can certainly experiment with medium or hard to see if those will or will not melt the base metal inside. As Neil says, easy solder is certainly safe.

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Julie…i have never worked with gold filled metal, but from what I read, you can fabricate and polish it, just with care. Rio Grande has a guide at:

https://www.riogrande.com/article?name=GuideToGoldFilledMetals

There are many other guides to be found on the internet. The most expensive part of working with gold filled is that you should solder with gold solder of the same K as the gold filled. Gold solder is expensive. Otherwise you should have all that you need to give it a try. That would be my best advice, give it a try. Personally, other than working with 14KY which is a joy, I like jewelers brass (90/10). It polishes nicely and you can preserve it to cut down on tarnish. Good luck…Rob

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I’ve used my small pulse welder to make a bead. Then used a pen plater to refinish te end. My use is mostly for adding seed to medium sized pearls and wanting a discrete termination. I’ve also used it with heavily plated specialty chains that I could not possibly solder to make a special order pearl charm style bracelet.

And I agree, soldering rose GF is a bear.

Eileen

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Assuming this is for me- especially considering shipping, a bit, and I’m not in a position to waste a single cent when simple answers are free.

I use my PUK 5.1 to make a lot of beads, especially for riveting and no solder connections…Rob

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My experience is that the gold filled wire doesn’t even ball up, it melts and looks nasty. What I have done is melt medium or easy 14K or 18K solder at the tip of the wire, if the wire will be exposed in an easily seen place on the jewelry. I’m sure you can solder a small ball at the end, you just have to be really fast and careful to not overheat. Too hot or too long will melt that layer of gold.

I’m sure you can use 10K also, I just like the yellower color of the higher karat.

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I’d say that depending on the substrate metal of the GF wire you should be able to ball it even though the color will change. If it has a good substrate, silver for instance, you should be able to flow gold solder on it to restore the color. The key would be heating only what you need to heat and only for as long as it takes. Too much heat and the metals in the GF will alloy. If you can buy some snippings of gold solder from a local jeweler, it would be worth it. If you have to buy the solder from a retail or wholesale site it will be cost prohibitive.