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Newbie to palladium


#1

Hi all,

I am thinking about working in palladium.

Currently I work in sterling and 18k gold.

I would love some advice on how it might be different to work with
in terms of

  • hammering
  • soldering
  • stone setting

This is a pricey metal, and any insights are appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Laurie
sweettoothdesigns.com


#2

Good morning Laurie,

Palladium is a quirky metal that you will enjoy working with but
like any metal it has a unique personality.

First off if you are fabricating with the metal do not use
acetylene. Propane and oxygen works well, which also works well if
you plan on working with platinum.

You can not fuse pd with a torch as you would with pt… though you
can fuse with palladium white gold (which is one of my favorite
metals). There are some great plumb pd solders available now. I have
been getting mine through Otto Frei.

The metal forges extremely well and is perfect for stone setting.

I will be offering a palladium fabrication workshop in Bend later
this summer if you would be interested.

Good luck and enjoy.
JIm


#3

hi Laurie

palladium is a very different animal then all of the metals
mentioned. depending on where you get your alloy will also make a
huge difference, that was a very large mistake I made 7 years ago
when I assumed when it said Pld 950 it was all the same alloy. they
mix different metals with the PLD from the refiners, so the color
and reaction to heat and solder is different. it is nothing like
Platinum. it gets dirty, and will not come off in regular pickle and
I am not aware of other acids that will rid of the blue tint oxide
after soldering. Blue or Pink depending what’s in the alloy, if you
are soldering with other then pld solders, you should treat it like
you are soldering gold to platinum, but it is a lower ranking metal
and will get dirty quicker then gold. i should add that my torches
run or acetylene oxygen, i think one may have a better time with
hydrogen or natural gas and Oxy flames. acetylene is definitely
dirtier. one might almost get their own technique to make things
work as long as you understand the metallurgy of braze/solder alloys.
stone setting is fantastically easy, but it also wears much faster
then the other metals, forming is fairly easy like silver, annealing
is to cherry red and air cool to black and quench. the wear was
something i had to experiment with clients to see how much abuse it
would take and accordingly one would have to go to thicker material
for better wear. it is a beautiful metal, but a big mistake to think
of it as a substitute for any other metal in your palette, it has
it’s own personality. there is a sight put out by the Palladium
asociation,can not recall th name right now but they are very easy to
find on google and they have a lot of info there that may be of help.
good luck

Hratch
Atelier Hratch Babikian


#4
I am not aware of other acids that will rid of the blue tint oxide
after soldering. 

It’s easy to get rid of, but not with acids. Let the piece cool
after soldering. Clean it, so free of any flux or whatever might be
on the metal. Then, using a very soft reducing flame, just brush over
the piece. You’re not getting it very hot, maybe just very warm…
The flame itself will reduce that oxide, getting rid of the
discoloration.

And thanks to Theresa at Techform, for passing on that tidbit…

Peter Rowe


#5

Thanks for sharing your insights Re: working with palladium. For my
torch I use propane/oxygen, guess that’s a good start! I was just
going to order the palladium (TruPd’950 Palladium) from hoover and
strong milled to my specifications, and get a medium palladium
solder. Should I find out what alloy they use? Not that I would have
anything to compare it to. Jim - I wish I could make it to your
class in bend this summer, too crazed launching fall/holiday.
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7z8d

Guess, I’ll just jump in and start playing…

Laurie
sweettoothdesigns.com


#6

When I used Pd950 (about three years ago), I was advised to use a
platinum solder because it was the best solution at the time. Has
this changed recently?

Helen
UK


#7

I’m also using an 1100 platinum solder for soldering palladium. I
noticed my palladium soldered joints were very weak, so I consulted
with my refiner’s tech guy. He reminded me that palladium is an
"oxygen hog" when liquid, absorbing gas like crazy. We thought the
palladium solder when melted was possibly absorbing gas too, making a
less than solid joint. Since I’ve been using the 1100 platinum
solder, I’ve had much stronger joints in my palladium bands, and a
perfect color match to the palladium, to my eye.

I had also been pouring my own ingots of the 950 PD, but torch
melting had issues with fine surface porosity. I now have my refiner
pour special fat, round ingots for me ( under vacuum, without oxygen)
and I can roll and reduce it as much as I want with a perfect final
finish. They don’t charge a milling fee, and this palladium rolls and
draws as easy as pasta. You’d be amazed at how much you can roll it
before you need to anneal it!

Jay Whaley


#8
Since I've been using the 1100 platinum solder, I've had much
stronger joints in my palladium bands, and a perfect color match to
the palladium, to my eye. 

I made my husband a palladium ring for Christmas about 3 years ago,
using platinum solder. It is such a good match that the seem has
never been visible. It’s been on his finger every day since.

I’ll stick with the platinum solder then Jay, if I ever use palladium
again. Thanks for pointing out its oxygen grabbing properties when
liquid.

Helen
UK


#9

Helen, I don’t know if anything has changed, but Cookson do a Pd
solder which works well enough. How well did the Pt solder work? I
would have thought the melting temp is higher.

Jamie Hall
http://primitive.ganoksin.com


#10

Hi Jamie,

The platinum solder worked really well. It made a strong joint with
no pitting whatsoever and an excellent colour match. You can’t see
the seem at all. I can’t recall whether it was hard or medium Pt
solder though. It came from Cookson’s. In fact I’m pretty sure that
their data sheet at the time may have recommended the Pt solder for
use with their Pd950 alloy.

Helen
UK


#11
I don't know if anything has changed, but Cookson do a Pd solder
which works well enough. How well did the Pt solder work? I would
have thought the melting temp is higher. 

Interesting.

I made a pair of Pd wedding rings last year and used Cookson’s Med
Pd solder (they don’t do a Hard). The rings were returned after about
6 months because the solder had turned grey after a visit to a
swimming pool. (See my post of 5 March called “Soldering Palladium”).

It turns out that Med Pd solder is 89.8% silver and only 4.6% Pd,
and it was the silver that discoloured (I assume).

Interestingly, the Easy solder is 12% gold, 47% silver and 17% Pd,
plus other unspecified metals, which is not very different to Pt
Easy.

I didn’t know about Pd being an oxygen hog, but am aware that it’s a
hydrogen hog. I use a water torch (oxy-hydrogen) for most of my
work, and haven’t noticed any undue problems.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#12
I am not aware of other acids that will rid of the blue tint oxide
after soldering.

It’s easy to get rid of, but not with acids. Let the piece cool
after soldering. Clean it, so free of any flux or whatever might be
on the metal. Then, using a very soft reducing flame, just brush
over the piece. You’re not getting it very hot, maybe just very
warm…The flame itself will reduce that oxide, getting rid of the
discoloration. And thanks to Theresa at Techform, for passing on that
tidbit…

Thanks Peter,good to know, I remember doing this technique years ago
working in a commercial shop on white gold, being advised by the
forman of the shop floor. Hratch


#13

Hi -

Just want to say thanks for all of the responses!

p.s - I have no idea what oxygen grabbing properties are (sounds
scary). what does this mean?

Laurie
sweettoothdesigns.com


#14
I have no idea what oxygen grabbing properties are (sounds scary).
what does this mean? 

It just means that when molten (liquid), the palladium (in this
discussion) solder, has a high affinity for (ie grabs) oxygen, and
therefore when it cools and solidifies, it won’t be the dense/
strong/solder joint you desire, but instead pitted and therefore
weaker due to all the gas (oxygen) bubbles. That’s my interpretation
anyway. One of the metallurgists should be able to explain it better.

Helen
UK


#15

Yes you do get a blue grey colour oxide layer but its nowhere near
as difficult to deal with as fire stain in silver. Just buff it off
and polish. I found the metal ok a bit gritty to drill or hand
engrave but you overcome these problems.

Regards
Hamish


#16

Someone was asking about palladium soldier. I use 20k white gold hard
soldier. It doesn’t show and won’t tarnish