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Plumb Silver Solder from Precious Metals West


#1

Hey All, Has anyone tried the new plumb silver solders from Precious
Metals West? I have tried their medium grade and find it very
difficult to work with. I have also found that weld joints tend to
be brittle and will split with minimal deformation. Anyone had any
better experiences with it?

Silverfoot-
Jewelry Designer and Craftsman
Main Site = www.firescale.com


#2

Hi Silverfoot, I just used the Plat900 for the first and only time to
attach a new full shank on a ring with side diamonds. I found the
solder melted at red hot and flowed very well. It had a very grey
colour to it but polished up very well. I did not need to hammer the
joints very much so I didn’t experience the problem you mention. The
gentleman @ PM West mentioned that most problems occur when the
solder is melted with a pick and applied so I did not do that…I
picked the piece up with the shank itself and soldered the first
joint free hand and for the second side I slid the piece into the
tight joint. No flux on anything. I hope that helps. I hope that
helps, Mark


#3
    Hi Silverfoot, I just used the Plat900 for the first and only
time to attach a new full shank on a ring with side diamonds. Mark 

Hi Mark and Silverfoot; I don’t think you guys are on the same page.
Didn’t Silverfoot ask about plumb silver solder? I love the Plat
plumb solders, but I didn’t know there was such a thing as silver
plumb. Is this new and prefered because it shows seams less?
Silverfoot, could you expand on this?

David L. Huffman


#4

Ok, I will try to expand on it a little for you.

I found out about the plumb silver solders from an issue of the AJM
magazine, which is put out by MJSA. The article described the
benefits of the new plumb silver solders, and even had some
commentaries about working with it. It said that it was a bit more
difficult to work with than standard solder, but once you got the
hand of it, the benefits would outweigh the learning curve. The
article went on to note that currently only hard plumb was
available, but PMW was working on Medium and Easy grades as well.

Well, I was game. I called PMW and got a sample of their brand new
Medium plumb, I figured it would be a good place to start. Well, I
have made several attempts to work with it so far. My results
todate have not been very encouraging, but maybe I just need to pay
attention to it a little more. I decided to try the solder on a few
8mm Low Dome, silver shanks I was working on.

When using the new solder, the first thing I noticed was how
dangerously close to the metlting temperature of the base I was
getting. But finally the solder balled up and began to flow. But
then about 1/2 way down the joint it stopped. A good potion of the
ball was still at one end of the joint, but damned if I could get it
to move any further. At this point, though the solder was not
moving, the surrounding metal began to pool towards the center as it
was drawn away from the edge. Well, that was one ring dead.
Next!.. Ok, grabbed the next ring in line and tried again, this
time I was a bit faster with the flame, chasing the solder across
the joint. This was sort of more like doing gold soldering than
silver. The joint looked ok, and was tossed into some pickle for a
few min. Grabbed the ring, threw it on a mandrel, and went to bang
it round with a rawhide. First stroke and the seam split. Damn!.

I have made several more tries with one of the same two results.
Tough stuff to work with. That is why I wanted to see if anyone
else was using the stuff. Even the normal hard solders I have used
have never caused me this much grief. But then again,
perhaps their new solders are still a work in progress, or maybe I
just need to adjust my technique. I am going to see if I can get a
sample of their hard solder and try that as well. If you want me to
post the results, I’ll be happy to. In the past, I have really
enjoyed working with the PMW Gold and Platinum Solders as well, but
these new silver solders are damn difficult to work with.

Silverfoot-
Jewelry Designer and Craftsman
Main Site = www.firescale.com


#5

If I may… We at PMWest/Fine Gold are still working on the solder
formulas. We are using the patented indium/gallium compound to make
the plumb silver. That should give the more experienced of you an
idea of how to approach this solder. At this point we are sure we
will not have a truly easy flow plumb sterling solder, around 1400 F
is the best we can hope for. Tests are ongoing… We just keep
pushing the solder boundaries, not always as successfully as we would
like.

The new plumb sterling silver solder flows at a hard temperature,
tests are scheduled for precise numbers. Our estimate is 1550 F or as
high as 1600F. A number of jewelers are using this solder for as long
as a year. The color is the big advantage, that and a solder that
does not reduce the precious metals content in the jewelry. As a
footnote- though the solder is reasonably tarnish resistant, it flows
at too high a temperature for the various non-tarnishing sterling
silvers that have been tested.

One trick some jewelers use is to roll the solder very thin, which
we will do on the next batch. We will also make some in 24 ga. wire.
Anyone who has struggled with this solder is welcome to call me for
an exchange or advice on what to try next. My apologies to
Silverfoot.

Daniel Ballard
Precious Metals West


#6
One trick some jewelers use is to roll the solder very thin, which
we will do on the next batch. We will also make some in 24 ga.
wire. Anyone who has struggled with this solder is welcome to call
me for an exchange or advice on what to try next. My apologies to
Silverfoot. 

No apologies needed. I figure that the solder will work ok for flat
pieces or stationary weld joints especially, however, I have not had
enough play time to master the flow characteristics of the solder
yet. The only thing that I think is going to be problematic is in
joints that are going to go through flexing, like when making a
ring. My experience so far has lead me to feel that the new solders
are too brittle for the application. Again however, it could just
be that I have not mastered the solder yet.

Silverfoot-