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Problems fusing fine silver

Dear Orchid, Help: I have just begun fusing fine silver links and I
am having problems. I am using an oxy propane mini torch fusing 22
gauge wire. I can see when it is just about to melt on both sides of
the joint but it just won’t fuse consistently. I have both sides of
the links flush and I am using a high temprature paste flux. Does
anyone have any ideas what I am doing wrong.
Thanks, Vince LaRochelle, Eugene. OR.

Vince, 22 gage wire is pretty thin and you are using a pretty hot
torch. You don’t have much lee way between melting and fusing. I use
a Presto-Lite torch which uses acetylene and air which gives a bigger
but a softer flame. Adding oxygen to a gas makes it burn much hotter
but I’m sure you already know that. If you are trying to fuse a row
of rings, it may depend on where in the row the trouble happens.
Check to make sure that you are holding the torch perpendicular to
the ring so that all sides receive an equal amount of heat.

Marilyn Smith

Try fusing without flux on top of a brand new charcoal block. Use a
gentle hand with the torch and you should have no problem. Flux
isn’t necessary for fusing fine silver and, in fact, seems to cause
the problem you’re experiencing. Best of luck, Laurie

Hi, Vincent I think your flame is too hot and possibly too dirty. The
best technique to fuse fine silver links is to gently (low-medium)
heat them - one at a time - until they just begin to glow a dull red.
Then center your heat on the joint and watch for the flash of the
metal metling to make the joint. I use an air/acetylene flame (also
dirty, but cooler). Natural gas and compressed air should also work
well. Have fun practicing! Deb

Mixture, 1 drop of hide glue, 6 drops water. Use this mixture to put
on the joint after it is lined up perfect, instead of flux, then
fuse. Lloyd.

Another tip: Make absolutely sure the ends touch one another firmly.
After gently heating around the entire circumference of the
ring,using only the feathered end of the flame, train the flame
briefly on the charcoal in front of the seam. The heat will reflect
onto the jump ring, and then a quick swipe with the flame should
complete the task. Sandra

Hello Eugene, Probably you are using an oxidising flame (overdose of
oxygen) Try to do it again but than with a reducing flame larger blue
point (small overdose gas) And melt in the end of the blue tip. If this
does not work use a small piece of solder.

Martin Niemeijer

Hello: Why are you using flux? I am an old enamelist, you clean fine
silver by heating it. You shouldn’t need any flux, you may be able
to see what is happening better without it. Pat DIACCA Topp

my recipie book is 1 drop hide glue, 1 drop batterns flux, 12 drops
of distilled h2o.

2suns, thanks for your recipe, I am going to try it.

in the mean time, does anyone have a good phat thai recipie?

** Hanuman Response **

I have entire cookbook I once wrote about Thai Cooking . . .
Will send you some recepies offline :slight_smile: Hanuman . . The naked chef

Vincent, first of all, you don’t need flux with fine silver. Flux
is to prevent oxygen from combining with the copper in sterling.
Since there is no copper in fine silver, there is no need for flux.
Your fine silver will not have firescale as sterling would after the
application of heat.

As you can tell from the previous posts there are many individual
ways to fuse fine silver. Everyone works out their own methods, but
they all revolve around one point, melting the silver just to it’s
melting point, but no farther! It’s not easy in the beginning, but
it does get easier with practice. I’ve fused 26 ga wire on various
soldering blocks. I’ve fused with a Meco midget with natural
gas/oxy and with propane/oxy and have had good success (up to 95%).
Now a days I prefer to use a propane torch like the handyman uses
and is bought at Sears. The flame is soft enough I have good
control over the process. It heats slowly enough that I can see it
getting to the flashpoint and be prepared to remove the flame. I
also don’t keep the flame on the wire, but find I do better by
moving it around. This way I’m also moving it away and can just
keep it away when the flash comes. I’ve tried it by just holding it
on the metal, but end up with more failures because it takes longer
to get my old tired muscles moving to take the flame away.

Yes, you do want to get the edges lined up as well as possible.
Mine aren’t a perfect 360 match around the wire since I cut my 26
ga with solder snips, there is nearly always a small flat spot, but
I haven’t found that to matter much and I save time and material by
snipping instead of sawing.

Finally, I would suggest that you stress the joint a bit before you
use the piece in your construction. Although the joint may look
good, inevitably there will be a few that won’t be completely fused.
Better to test for them beforehand than after it’s in the middle of
a chain or something.

Hope this helps a bit. The best things is to try some of the
suggestions you’ve seen and build a technique that works best for

Mike DeBurgh
M D Designs