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Sheet solder Vs Wire solder


#1

What would be the difference between using sheet solder and wire
solder?


#2
What would be the difference between using sheet solder and wire
solder? 

Valerie - and all. In essence (depending on supplier) there’s no
difference in the metal alloy of sheet and wire solders. The typical
way of making turquoise jewelry is to use silver wire solder. It’s
cut to a 2"-3" length, held in insulated self-locking tweezers, and
just fed into the work when it’s hot. Fast, easy, and more precise
than you might think when you get good at it. You can do the same
with sheet solder by cutting a strip down the edge. You can also clip
wire into little bits. Wire solder is useful that way, but it’s also
much better when you need a lot of solder. Where you might put 200
little bits of sheet solder on an overlay or something, you can just
flow it on and spread it out with wire. Other than that there’s no
real difference, just preferences and type of work… BTW - I have no
use for medium solder. Never touch the stuff. And I store my solders
in compartmented plastic boxes. I count 13 different kinds at the
moment. That doesn’t count Tix or brazing and the like…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3
The typical way of making turquoise jewelry is to use silver wire
solder. It's cut to a 2"-3" length, held in insulated self-locking
tweezers, and just fed into the work when it's hot. 

I buy wire solder 20 ft at a time which works out to about an ounce.
It comes rolled up in a nice 6" loop. I attach my color coded wire
cable wrap. I just hold the roll of wire in my hand and feed it from
there until the last 3 inches. If I don’t find a use for it right
away I put it in the scrap container. I know a silversmith from the
70’s and he does it with the locking tweezers. Seems like you would
waste the end of every 3" piece…

Not everyone can master the skill of wire fed soldering. But it sure
speeds things up not having to chase solder snippets when they move
from the flux bubbling. There are times when I use sheet solder when
I need small snippets or have to use my solder pick.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#4

Valerie,

What would be the difference between using sheet solder and wire
solder? 

I know everyone has their own views on this subject, I’m sure you’ll
get a variety of opinions. I stopped using sheet solder a long time
ago. Well, unless the type I want only comes in sheet. But with my
usual soldering, with silver, I always use wire. It’s much easier,
in my opinion, to cut little snippets off of a wire, then dealing
with cutting fringe & bits off of sheet solder. With the fringe
cutting, I find I lose a lot more than with wire, and also end up
with too many bits that are too big. I’d rather have bits that are
too small and combine a couple, then always have to sift past the big
ones to find the bits I want. Plus, I have the option if needed of
stick soldering. Usually, though, I pick solder.

Lisa

Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#5
What would be the difference between using sheet solder and wire
solder?    

It really depends on what you are doing. I do filigree work and use
exclusively sheet solder cut into small chips. It lets me use smaller
amounts and if you do it right, it sits where you want it to until it
melts(if you use too strong a flame before the flux dries, they blow
off). When I’ve tried using wire solder, it tended to roll off.
Others may choose to use paste solder or even ‘powdered’ solder for
filigree. One thing you can do with wire solder you can’t do with
chip/sheet is hold a bit of it in tweezers and apply it as you heat
your bezels etc…letting it take what it needs to fill the gap, so
to speak.

Jeanne
jeannius.com


#6

I very rarely use snippets of solder when soldering. Most of the
things I create are large and heavy. I use a piece of wire solder
that is placed at the joint when the temperature is correct for
melting the solder just like Rick Copeland does.

When soldering the top of one of my large pieces of pottery to the
lower part I place a glove on my hand holding the solder. Each piece
might weigh around 10 or more ounces of sterling. The edge of one
piece is grooved to fit into the other piece.

I usually place a torch in a heavy portable machinist vice and hold
another torch in my hand. Once the assembly reaches solder
temperature I turn off the vice held torch and work around the seam
with wire solder and the hand held torch.

I paint the edges of the seam where I do not want solder with white
out. That prevents me from getting solder in places where I do not
want it.

I coat the seam with paste flux and coat all the rest of the silver
with an anti oxidizing flux.

I have posted photos of what I describved above on my blog:

http://leessilver-lee.blogspot.com

Lee Epperson


#7
Seems like you would waste the end of every 3" piece... 

Surely this last 3" can be snipped into small pieces and used with
the solder pick.

Helen
UK


#8

Here’s a wire solder hint given me by an early teacher - he
instructed that wire solder could be indented / notched in small
increments to control the amount flowing onto your piece.

The way this could be done easily (must be more ideas on this) was
to take an old pair of wire cutters and file a hole in the blades
that was slightly smaller than the diameter of wire solder (so you
wouldn’t be cutting the wire). Then apply them to the length of wire
solder. The idea is that the solder will ‘break off’ at the indent as
it is heated, thereby allowing you to more precisely control its
application. Sort of like having Paillons on a Stick.

Like this:

    //
    //

Ivy


#9

Sometimes I like to take my wire solder and run it through the
rolling mill. Which creates a very small sheet of solder. You can
snip it corner by corner or straight across the sheet / wire. And,
it also makes it flat which helps keep it from rolling around. A
teacher or two of mine has suggested this in the past.

Happy soldering to you…

Aaron
http://www.aaronwilloughby.com


#10

Here is my question on this…

I was told that wire solder is convenient, but that there is more
base? or ‘other’ metals in the wire at center? Anyone who can
explain why or if it’s wrong, please let me know. I look forward to
seeing the answer.

Thank you,
Kim
http://of-the-earth.org


#11
I was told that wire solder is convenient, but that there is more
base? or 'other' metals in the wire at center? Anyone who can
explain why or if it's wrong, please let me know. I look forward
to seeing the answer. 

Solder is available in literally hundreds of different alloys.
supplied in sheet, wire, powder, chip, paste, spheres and die cut
shapes. There is no difference between the composition of the various
forms as long as the alloy is the same. Sometimes you will find
suppliers will have different forms that are slightly different alloy
compositions as they are manufactured by different firms. So for
example one distributors easy sheet and easy wire solder might have
slightly different melting points because they were made by different
vendors but another distributor has sheet and wire solder made by the
same vendor from the same alloy so there will be no difference in
their performance.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#12

Jeanne

When I've tried using wire solder, it tended to roll off. 

I use wire almost exclusively, but I roll it in a rolling mill to
make it flat. This way I can use it in small snippets or as a flat
wire to poke in as needed. I found it way easier to cut snippets of
appropriate size from wire than from sheet. I do occasionally use
the paste solder for certain applications.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#13

I prefer using wire solder. To keep it clean, I take long lengths of
wire solder, wipe it down w/ some emory paper. Then I cut it into
short lengths about 1.5" long, and keep those short pieces in an
empty 35mm film cannister. Each film cannister is labeled as to hard,
medium,easy,etc. The solder stays CLEAN until you are ready to use
it. I used to hang the wire solder up on a board and wondered why
sometimes it would’t flow. Duh! The stuff got dirty being exposed to
air. Not any more since the age of film cannisters.

I use medium solder all the time to solder bezels onto sheet. Works
great! Hard solder to close the bezels, medium to solder them down.

If the wire solder is “blowing off” the piece, the flame is too
strong. Use a soft, mushy flame to make the paste flux tacky. For
filagree work, I’ve see flux powdered, then gently heated up to
preflow. It’s easier to nip off a tiny piece of wire solder w/side
cutters than taking shears to snip. I do use sheet solder for gold
work as that is more available. Yes, the solder pic is very good for
applying solder to an area. We just use a sturdier pic than what is
commercially available as the regular ones sag in no time flat.

Ruthie Cohen
Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary


#14

I find sheet very uncomfortable to use, with the cutting or snipping
being awkward at best. I also buy 10’ - 20’ at a time, but I take it
directly to the rolling mill and run the whole roll into ribbon, as
thin as I can comfortably make it. I keep a small stock of snippets,
which I clip right off this roll. It’s MUCH easier to avoid using too
much solder, since the paillons are thinner. They are physically
larger, so easier to handle. They are flat rather than snips of
cylindrical wire, so they don’t roll around, and they snip very
easily. I usually pick solder with them. But I also have the roll of
thin solder ribbon handy for wire-fed or stick soldering, and it’s
nice and thin, easier to avoid “the blob”. Seems to me to have all of
the advantages of both sheet and wire, and none of the disadvantages.
Rolling the whole thing only takes a few minutes. Try it!

Lisa W


#15

Could one run the wire solder through a draw plate to thin it as
well? Seems this might make it a bit easier to control.

Just a thought.

Carol / Austin


#16

Aaron,

Sometimes I like to take my wire solder and run it through the
rolling mill... helps keep it from rolling around. 

That’s a great idea! You can still use it as stick solder as needed,
but that pesky little rolling around problem is pretty much
elimitated.

Helen,

Surely this last 3" can be snipped into small pieces and used with
the solder pick. 

I was thinking the same thing when I read that. As you said, there’s
no reason any bit of solder needs to be wasted unless it falls away
from the pack & you find it later, not knowing what type it is.
Whenever I use a bit of it for stick soldering, once I get down to an
amount that is no longer effective for that method, it simply gets
cut up & put in the dish for later non-stick soldering. And 3", good
heavens! That’s a LOT of solder wire! You can still stick solder with
a lot less than that.

Ivy,

The idea is that the solder will 'break off' at the indent as it is
heated, thereby allowing you to more precisely control its
application. Sort of like having Paillons on a Stick.

That’s an interesting idea, too. I’ll have to try that!

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#17

I want to thank everyone that responded to my questions. It sure
gives me a lot to think about and work with.

I did purchase about 5 feet each of Hard, Medium, & Easy Solder to
get started with. I bought some paste kind too.

I’ve had the stuff for a while now in a plastic bag, is that okay? I
have tons of those film canisters as Ruthie Cohen suggested using,
so that would be okay for storing, yes?

Thanks…Valerie


#18

I assume, since you mentioned a length, that you purchased wire
solder. May I suggest getting some sheet solder too? They both come
in real handy in their own ways.

I store my wire and sheet solder stock in marked plastic tubes that
beads come in. I place the sheet snippets I cut into marked boxes and
the wire snippets I cut in medicine bottles and keep all the boxes
and bottles within reach on the bench where I solder and store the
rest of my solder stock in my parts and tool box. I also never cut
snippets on or near where I solder- I turn around and cut them on the
table behind me. It’s a good idea- averts many potential nightmares.
I also swish my solder stock that I am going to cut into snippets in
the pickle for a few seconds first. Works wonders for achieving good
solder flow.

Just a couple of tips I wanted to throw in.

Kenton