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Repair problem - help me fix my ring


#1

Hi, all - I need to repair my wedding ring. I finished making it
about two weeks before the wedding (last year) so I’m actually
amazed it turned out as good as it did.

The ring consists of a thick, rectangular 18k gold band, 5mm x
1.5mm, and sitting on top of that all the way around is a platinum
half-round band, 3mmx1.5mm, with a platinum bezel set diamond, about
40 points or so. It’s a substantial ring and I love it. The two
bands are supposed to be soldered together (18ky solder), and I
thought I had accomplished that, but apparently it was just a
tack-weld because they’ve come apart.

So, I cleaned up the two bands, and set it up in a third-hand, with
the diamond sitting underwater (bean can, haven’t eaten tuna yet
this week). I’m comfortable leaving the diamond in because it’s
just much easier and it’s an old and very clean diamond from my
mother-in-law’s first marriage, about 60 years ago. However, even
with 18k easy, I can’t get it to solder. Maybe I’m just not getting
it hot enough - there is a lot of metal. It seems like I’m also
having a problem with capillary action drawing water up the seam
between the two bands.

Clearly I’m missing something; I don’t do much repair work. Is
there an easy way to accomplish this? Is there something that would
inhibit the capillary action? Should I use a different kind of
solder? Should I give up and rivet them together? As always, any
and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks! ~kara


#2

Kara, You solved your own problem. You are right you are sucking away
the heat from the piece. The flame is not hot enough, use a larger
tip or crank up the heat. I don’t know what type of torch you are
using. If you are using 18k solder, diamonds can easily take those
temps. Let it air cool before pickling if you have concerns about
the diamond. Some things to consider when soldering a ring together
aRe: Were the rings sized previously? If they were sized where is the
solder seam from the previous sizing? What type of solder was used?
The way I would repair this ring is to dip it in a solution of boric
acid and denatured alcohol. You can stack the rings on top of each
other on your soldering pad and have them hanging over the edge of
the pad. You will not need to use your third hand. Line them up in
the position you want them to be in. I heat the piece and when the
alcohol burns off I flux the seam to be soldered with liquid flux. I
use a squirt type bottle with a syringe type tip. You can get these
at Rio or Stuller. After the flux has flowered or turned white. I
heat a couple of chips of solder that I have on the solder pad. I buy
my solder already cut in chip form. After the solder chips ball up
they will gladly adhere to the tip of your pick. I pick up three or
four depending on the rings. I am assuming you have a solder pick.
Heat the solder and the ring at the same time when the solder starts
to flow it will at this point stick to the seam you want to solder
touch it lightly to the seam taking care not to bump the rings and it
will stick. Pull your pick away and heat the seam the solder should
flow through the seam. Pickle the rings. I take my jewelers saw and
cut the seam lightly and clean it with a knife edge blue silicon
wheel.

Regards J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio


#3

Kara, There is no reason that I can see that you should be heating
this ring with the diamond submerged. I would coat the diamond with
boric acid and go on and do my soldering. The diamond will withstand
normal soldering temperatures. Allow the stone to air cool rather
than quenching.

Another problem that you may notice, may be the differences in
expansion and contraction in heating and cooling the different
elements. I have noted an occasional seperation problem when building
platinum/18K bands. Let us know how it goes.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JACMBJ


#4
 It seems like I'm also having a problem with capillary action
drawing water up the seam between the two bands. 

If there are no additional stones other than diamonds in the ring,
there is no reason to heat protect them. The diamonds will take a
considerable amount of heat. Just make sure you coat them with a
fire scale prevention, borax acid dissolved in alcohol works best.
Dip it and burn it off. This keeps oxy off the stones and helps
prevent burning them. If you are soldering on the opposite side of
the ring from the stone even this is not needed for the stone, just
if you are soldering very close to it. Slowly heat and cool the
piece when soldering stone in place. You should give the ring a
long bath in the ultrasonic, then pickle it before attempting the
solder. A final trip to the steamer will put it in order for the
repair. The water weeping up between the bands will have left a
residue that will need to be cleaned out, as well as the dirt
acclimated during the year you have worn it. Use an ezy or xezy
solder, and very little of it. The platinum doesn’t like flux, but
the gold does. Direct the heat onto the platinum. It will stand a
much higher heat and you should be able to get the solder to flow.
Just remember, don’t go to the pickle after the repair until you can
hold the ring in your fingers. Let it cool slowly so you don’t
damage the diamond.

Don


#5

Don, You got my attention by the phrase "platinum doesn’t like flux."
What do you mean by that. I don’t work with platinum yet and am
considering it, although it means some torch changes. Your comment
makes me wonder.

Tom


#6

Tom, I have very limited experience working with platinum so my
comment was based on what I have read, not experience. What little
work I have done, I did without flux, and using a white gold solder.
There is a very good technical section on working with
platinum in Stullers latest Metals book. I just went back and read
the just to make sure I hadn’t put my foot in my mouth.
It turns out that I was partially right. There are issues with
Platinum/Cobalt alloys and boric acid and the temperature required
for soldering platinum. However later in the article it talks about
using a spot of flux to hold solder chips in place during soldering.
Flux isn’t needed for soldering platinum, using platinum solder as
the platinum doesn’t oxidize. This statement is for solders above
1300C solders.

If you can, get a copy of the Stullers metals book and read the
platinum technical section. Hoover & Strong also has a
very good technical section on platinum.

Don


#7
   Don, You got my attention by the phrase "platinum doesn't like
flux." What do you mean by that.  I don't work with platinum yet
and am considering it, although it means some torch changes.  Your
comment makes me wonder. 

Platunum alloys themselves don’t need flux for soldering. The new
plumb platinum solders can be contaminated by fluxes, so the
manufacturers say, though they don’t give the details of how. And if
one has excess carbon in a soldering flame or in the area, silicates
in the flux can be reduced by the carbon, at platinum soldering temps,
to silicon metal, which is a nasty contaminant when added to
platinum. If you’re using traditional platinum solders instead of
the new plumb ones (which are, IMHO, very much superior products)
then you can use a little flux to help hold paillons in place for
soldering, but it’s just a holding aid, not something the solders
need to flow. Personally, I just use a little saliva, which is
always there, and I think, a little safer. Just don’t burn you
tongue on a hot soldering tweezer…

Peter