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Nervous about Argentium


#1

After reading some of the most recent posts, I will have to admit
that I am nervous about Argentium too. I have not read anywhere that
it solders more like gold, which would mean a completely different
approach and more than likely using a smaller torch tip. I normally
heat my bezels from the top - would I want to approach like I was
soldering gold - with a smaller torch tip up close to the solder join
(more local heating)??? I can see most of this will be trial and
error - I just hate to error too much!!!

Thanks for tips.
Grace


#2
After reading some of the most recent posts, I will have to admit
that I am nervous about Argentium too. 

Hello Grace,

Don’t be! I’ve been working with exclusively with Argentium for about
two months now and I can’t think of any reason to be overly
concerned. It has some nice properties that ease some steps in the
fabrication process, especially if you’re used to battling firestain
on sterling, but there’s really nothing particularly unusual about
it.

I’d say that Argentium heats more like gold in that it isn’t nearly
the big heat sponge that regular sterling is. The heat you apply is
dispersed much more slowly through the metal so that will obviously
require you to adjust your soldering habits a little but not
dramatically.

Argentium is cleaner under the torch --no aggressively oxidization–
so your flux need not be quite as aggressive as with regular sterling
though there’s no specific need to change either.

Argentium melts at a slightly lower temp than regular sterling so
Hard solder is not recommended. It does have a tendency to slump a
little quicker than regular sterling so you need to take that into
account if you’re working with very thin or large flat sections. In
these cases just use more support under the metal than you would with
standard sterling or thicken your thinnest sections a little. If you
vary your torch technique a little that will usually help you deal
with the differences too.

But seriously, different metals and alloys all require us to adjust
and modify our soldering techniques slightly in order to accommodate
their particular properties. High karat gold is different than low
karat, sterling is different than gold, brass is different than
copper, etc etc. There’s nothing threatening or intimidating about
Argentium nor is it demanding in any particular way. If you can
handle regular sterling you’ll find Argentium easier to work with not
harder. Sure, it’s slightly different but “slight” is the key word
there.

The ad phrase for Argentium is “How Silver Was Meant To Be” and I
think that pretty much says it. Personally I have yet to think of a
single reason why I would ever use regular sterling silver again. I’m
not kidding! I VASTLY prefer Argentium.

Aside from it’s no-firestain properties I find that Argentium anneals
softer, has much greater ductility, solders easier, polishes faster
and is, of course, highly tarnish resistant. These things make it a
superior metal to work with IMHO. It’s as if the germanium in
Argentium has given it some of the properties that we all know and
love about gold. That suits me just fine thank you very much.

I don’t know if it would be of any assistance to you but I’m running
a blog of my experiences working with Argentium, perhaps it could
give you some insight into the stuff. It’s called “Working With
Argentium Silver” and is at

http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html

If you visit please feel free to comment or prod me for details.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in the City of Light


#3

Hello Grace,

I second all that Trevor has said about A.925. My question in
Tucson to the Stuller folks was first, when will the proper solders
be available and second, when will the chain makers start selling
A.925 chains? I’m soo-o-o glad to have patterns for my mill so I
can make patterned wire that won’t firescale or tarnish much.

Judy in Kansas, who is off to her scientific glass-blowing class.


#4

I had the pleasure of meeting peter johns at the MJSA show. What a
nice guy. Please don’t worry about working with the metal. There are
so many people who can help you IF you run into any trouble.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#5

After meeting mar perter johns. There will be a new solder out very
shortly. If you have trouble please contact a buddy of mind mark
Flynn at 770-739-9797 in ga. Or any of the folks on the network.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791