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Prip's questions


#1

To everyone who has posted tips, recipes and facts on prip’s flux
and encouraged others to try it I would like to give a heartfelt
thanks; especially to Peter Rowe. I was reading the posts, all the
while dismissing them because, until recently, I didn’t use silver
much and hardly ever work on lower karat alloys that prip’s was
recommended to be used with. But then someone mentioned that it is
great on white gold and red gold alloys and something clicked. I
made some prip’s and some Fred’s fabulous frip’s flux and really
made good use of it.

An example; I made a 3 stone ring (yellow center head with white
side heads) with a hand forged 18 kt white gold airline shank. As
you can imagine, there are many soldering steps to make and attach
the head and shank. Normally my rule is that if I make anything in
white gold then as I finish the parts and move on to the next step,
I polish the parts with no more than a tripoli compound. This is
due to the fact that since I use the hardest solder possible and
fuse whenever I can, I almost always get oxidation. If I am going
to have to repolish oxidized areas anyway why waste the extra step
of rouge polishing between solders. However, on this ring I rouge
polished after every step and by using the prip’s flux, I had no
oxidation and simply touched up the rouge with a small brush before
setting the stones. It was brilliant; and this is only one example
of how I have used the flux this week.

Still, there are some things I’d like some input on if ya’ll don’t
mind helping. I have gone through 2 spray bottles so far. Granted
they have been relatively cheap ones, but before I go out and buy
something more expensive, I’d like to get a recommendation of what
kind of bottle to use that won’t get clogged so easily; or am I
doing something wrong that it gets clogged in the first place?
Shaking the bottle well as I spray it helpful in keeping it
unclogged, but it’s also more unwieldy. As well, I have developed a
fine coating of flux all over my bench, regulators, safe, soldering
blocks and everything else in proximity to my soldering area (which
is pretty confined) so the sprayers that you recommend that have a
more precisely focused spray are most welcome.

Also, I’m sure that the borax, TSP and boric acid powder don’t
dissolve completely in the water, but I am getting pretty large
particles that just won’t dissolve at all, even when boiled for many
minutes. Should I grind the borax and TSP finer before placing it
in the water to dissolve, or am I just not boiling it long enough?

How do you store the stuff once it has been mixed and dissolved? I
have what I don’t use in a plastic jug. I shake it up well before
pouring it into the spray bottle. I mixed up the amounts listed in
Peter’s post on Prip’s and dissolved it all in about a quart of
water. Should I only have added part of the dry ingredients I mixed
to the water and saved the rest dry?

Wholehearted thanks to all,

Larry


#2

Larry, Are you familiar with the small pump sprayers used for
medicinal purposes? They spray a smaller area and are less likely to
coat the rest of the bench too. They are also easy to clean out so
to avoid the clog. Teresa


#3
I would like to give a heartfelt thanks; especially to Peter Rowe. 

You’re welcome

   made some prip's and some Fred's fabulous frip's flux and
really made good use of it. 

did you notice any difference between the older prips recipe, and
frips? i’ve not tried frips, since when I went to look at Calgon, it
seems that it’s possible the formulation may be different for parts
of the country, like this, where water pollution regulations limit
phosphates in cleaners. The box of Calgon I saw mentioned a
phosphate content of only 7 percent or something, so that doesn’t
sound to me like a formula that is still significantly some form of
sodium phosphate (unless I just don’t understand the math of how
they arrive at their figure) So the short version is that i’ve just
not tried to mix up frips. i’d enjoy any commentary others may have on
this variation.

   I'd like to get a recommendation of what kind of bottle to use
that won't get clogged so easily; 

I’ve long used a simple ceramics glaze sprayer. It’s a mouth blown
atomizer, consisting of little more that two tubes and a hinge
holding them in alignment. No nozzle to clog, and the give a nice
uniform spray pattern. Unfortunately, I bought the ones I use almost
30 years ago (and aside from a little corrosion removal now and then,
they’ve never needed cleaning or unclogging of any significance),
and I’ve not seen them for sale anytime recently. i’d love to know a
current source for the things. Anyone know?

The other sprayer I’ve used is an external mix air brush. This type
of airbrush has the feed tube from the paint jar ending in front of,
and level with, the air nozzle, so in essence, it’s the same
structure as my mouth blown atomizer. This too has no nozzle through
which the sprayed material is asked to go, so it also doesn’t, and
cant really, clog. But it does need a supply of air, which is more
complex, what with an extra plastic tube running around while you’re
using a torch in the area. You can run them off the canned air type
of things, but i just run mine off my shop compressor. one could
also run it from the oxygen tank. Harbor Freight sells an
appropriate air brush for normally around 15 dollars I think, and
they put in on sale every now and then for around ten bucks…

I’ve heard also of people liking and using the type of inhaler
atomizers used for asthma medications. These off course DO have a
nozzle. People simply keep the thing in a cup of water, with the
nozzle immersed, when not being used, so it doesn’t dry out. I’ve
not tried this, but previous orchid posters have said they like these
atomizers.

 As well, I have developed a fine coating of flux all over my
bench, regulators, safe, soldering blocks and everything else in
proximity to my soldering area (which is pretty confined) so the
sprayers that you recommend that have a more precisely focused
spray are most welcome. 

The air brush is pretty good that way, but there’s always some over
spray. So put something behind your soldering board to catch the
over spray… My soldering pad is a three sided thing that a detroit
area supplier put together. Just three one foot square pieces of
plywood formed into a corner, with all three interior sides faced
with a piece of 3/8 transite board. any of the three surfaces can be
used as a soldering pad, and the remaining two then site behind your
area, catching the over spray, as well as the torch flame when doing
larger work.

   Also, I'm sure that the borax, TSP and boric acid powder don't
dissolve completely in the water, but I am getting pretty large
particles that just won't dissolve at all, even when boiled for
many minutes.  Should I grind the borax and TSP finer before
placing it in the water to dissolve, or am I just not boiling it
long enough? 

If you have a few bits that don’t dissolve, just ignore them. If
there’s a significant amount, then just add more water. The original
posting I sent used quantities of 80/80/120 grams of the three
chemicals, and I think I wrote to add that to a quart. That wasn’t
correct. It would only just dissolve in a LITER of water, which is a
bit more. for a quart, it’s more like 64/64/96 grams of each, and
even then sometimes you need to add a bit more water. making the
flux a bit more dilute does not hurt it. it just means you might
have to spray a little more for full coverage. Some school programs
mix it up much more dilute, with those 80/80/120 gram portions being
added to a full gallon. That keeps careless students from wasting so
much. But it still works just fine, though you have to spray more
liquid to deposit enough chemical.

   How do you store the stuff once it has been mixed and
dissolved?  I have what I don't use in a plastic jug.  I shake it
up well before pouring it into the spray bottle.  I mixed up the
amounts listed in Peter's post on Prip's and dissolved it all in
about a quart of water.  Should I only have added part of the dry
ingredients I mixed to the water and saved the rest dry? 

It’s hard to get a uniform mix of the dry components. If you wish
to use less chemical, then weigh out lesser amounts. The actual
amount of each isn’t important, so long as the ratio between the
components is kept fairly close. it’s a 2:2:3 ratio, with boric acid
being the “3”. But if you mix more than you can use right away,
storing the rest in a plastic jug or bottle seems to work fine. I mix
a gallon of the stuff every few years. It doesn’t go bad.

Peter Rowe


#4

Prip’s Spray - Booth Setup

Larry, I had the same problem. I solved it by taking a cardboard box,
cutting open the top and front, lining it with foil, equipping it
with lighting, and a heat lamp suspended away from any danger of
starting a fire. The heat lamp has a 15 minute timer, so it never
runs longer.

The work is placed on an old wire mesh soldering frame which sits on
a short tripod within the box. You can warm the work with a torch,
then spray it within the confines of the box – or set the timer to
warm it for you and then spray it. After you work out the distance
between your heat lamp and the work, you will “automatically” have
just the right temperature to spray when the timer shuts off. This
box sat right next to my soldering position for many years. I would
put the next job in place and set the timer while soldering the
previous piece. When I heard the timer go off I was ready to spray
the next job… We did a lot of fairly large sterling pieces – up
to 4" x 5", plus all the standard bracelets and whatnot in those
days.

Since that time, I ran across a neat miniature spray booth at Harbor
Freight which even has a vent fan and primitive filter! Cost about
$39, and I just transferred the lighting and heat lamp/timer. No
worries of fire because it’s a steel box – about 18" x 24". Bought
it about a year ago, but I’ve never seen one at our local store
since. Mebee they are in the catalog?

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
2207 Lucile Ave.
Stockton, CA 95209
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/Classrooms


#5

Hello Peter, You said,

 I've long used a simple ceramics glaze sprayer. ... and I've not
seen them for sale anytime recently.  i'd love to know a current
source for the things.  Anyone know? 

I bought a glaze sprayer at the university book store in the art
supply section. Costs about US$3 or so. Frankly, I found it awkward
to use - maybe I’m not very coordinated. I put the flux in a
plastic bottle from an alcohol-based body sprays (they give a very
fine spray) with a plastic cap covering the sprayer. That cap is
important. I fill it with water, invert the bottle, and push the
sprayer into the water-filled cap until it snaps in place. Then I
store it upside down in a canning jar. Next time I need it (which may
be weeks later) I just pull the cap off and it’s ready to spray. NO
clogging.

Hope this helps, Judy in Kansas where it is really winter. Thank
goodness the sleet held off until after the Sat. night football
game!

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944


#6

I finally gave up on trying to spray Prip’s. Too messy and the
clogging was a problem too. I now use a brush and paint it on. So
long as I don’t get the item too hot or the brush in the way of the
flame, it works. My 2 cents. Janine, in Redding, where the holiday
season is off to a roaring start.


#7
    I put the flux in a plastic bottle from an alcohol-based body
spray 

Judy, I’ve never heard of these sprays. Can you give me a brand
name?

Janet


#8
    I finally gave up on trying to spray Prip's. Too messy and the
clogging was a problem too. I now use a brush and paint it on. So
long as I don't get the item too hot or the brush in the way of
the flame, it works. My 2 cents. Janine, in Redding, where the
holiday season is off to a roaring start. 

Hi, I don’t use Pripps - I keep a covered jar of denatured alcohol
with a saturated solution of boric acid in it and when I need it, a
little shake, open it, dip my piece in, and then tightly close the
jar. Keeps for months - I keep it AWAY from the soldering area where
I burn off the alcohol. However, I have also “painted it on” and
that works great as well. I bought a major supply of disposable
lipstick brushes from a cosmetics house and they work wonderfully -
last a good length of time and so far have not burned up any of them.
Have had the bristles stick on occasion, but they pull off when the piece cools.


#9

I also use denatured alcohol, but it doesn’t compare to prip’s when
it comes to working on silver. If I never worked on anything but
gold I could do without prip’s. As it is, I can’t live without it,
wonderful stuff. Wish I knew about it 20 years ago.


#10

IMHO, Judy Willingham came up with the best method of applying
Prip’s flux, worth repeating:

     I put the flux in a plastic bottle from an alcohol-based body
sprays (they give a very fine spray) with a plastic cap covering
the sprayer. That cap is important.  I fill it with water, invert
the bottle, and push the sprayer into the water-filled cap until it
snaps in place.  Then I store it upside down in a canning jar." 

I found a spray-bottle-with-cap in an art-supply store. Didn’t know
if the spray was fine enough, but since it cost only $1.69 (!) it
was worth trying. It worked just fine, and still hasn’t clogged.

This approach is convenient and simple!

By the way, my sprayging chamber is the back yard; the “booth” is
nothing more complicated than a fire brick on an upside-down flower
pot.

Janet