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Silicon carbide soldering grains


#1

A Metalsmithing teacher told me soldering grains are the best to use
and all of her students want them after they have borrowed hers. She
bought them from Tevel at All Craft years ago and has asked him about
getting some more.

I did not have a chance to try them, but have tried to research the
archives and the web. The best I could find was a mention by Trish
McAleer that they could be used and calling them specifically silicon
carbide soldering grains. I found a source in a welding supply house,
but am curious if anyone else uses them and why they have fallen out
of favor? Do they act more like charcoal, pumice, or fire brick?

Jean Marie DeSpiegler, Executive Director of Florida Society of
Goldsmiths and tool-aholic.


#2

The soldering grains I bought from Allcraft more than twenty years
ago were carborundum. They last forever, and are as good as pumice
for annealing, although they keep their heat longer than
pumice. Because the grains are smaller, small items to be soldered
can be set into them as if into sand, and the grains will pretty
much hold them in place while they are being soldered.

Dee


#3

I have used silicon carbide soldering grains and I had them in a
small turntable steel bowl (I’d like another of those (5" diameter)
if anyone knows where to get one. They hold your piece in any
position and they work like charcoal.

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA


#4

A poster said " they work like charcoal"

While this may be true physically as in holding a piece in position
and allowing you to solder, I have question if it is the same from a
chemical point of view?

However from a chemical point of view, charcoal would have the
potential advantage (or disadvantage in the case of Argentinium from
what I have read) of reacting and neutralizing any free oxygen in the
immediate area of the torch flame NO?

Kay


#5
While this may be true physically as in holding a piece in
position and allowing you to solder, I have question if it is the
same from a chemical point of view? However from a chemical point
of view, charcoal would have the potential advantage (or
disadvantage in the case of Argentinium from what I have read) of
reacting and neutralizing any free oxygen in the immediate area of
the torch flame NO? 

Charcoal will produce a somewhat reduced presence of oxygen in very
close proximity to the charcoal and silicon carbide will not. They
are both good thermal conductors so both will pull more heat away
from the work than pumice or firebrick will.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#6

For a 5 inch bowl check out any place that sells stainless cooking
ware. they have bowls in assorted shapes and sizes. Even Harbor
Fright sells them in sets.

http://www.harborfreight.com

For turntable and other interesting hardware go to Lee Valley they
not only have an amazing selection of tools and supplies. But have a
large assortment of hardware and drawer slides ect. The have a whole
line of turntables from small light weight ones to heavy duty
multiple hundred pounder units.

http://www.leevalley.com

Silcon carbide blast medium will work comes in a 50 pound bag for
about $75.00 US. you can check out your local suppliers or Eastwood
will ship.

http://www.eastwoodco.com

You also can use pumice sold by most place that deal in jewelry
tools as annealing pan filler. You can get it in different grades of
coarseness. They also sell emery grains like on the emery paper. It
could be aluminum oxide or carborundum. The aluminum oxide is also
sold as blast media. You can get lava stone from the garden store or
your landscape. put it between two layers of blanket and with a
hammer make it smaller. Even dried sand will work as annealing,
soldering media as long as you don’t heat the sand up with constant
direct flame.

Your choices are just about personal likes or what you have on hand
or what you can easily buy. just make sure if you bring in from
outside any media that it is throughly dry before use as to
eliminate the small steam popping if it is wet or damp.

As to the turntable mount to either a bowl or tile any type of
caulking will work.

In catalogs they may be reffered to as Lazy Susan’s/turntables

glen
been there done that !


#7

That is true, but if the objective to neutralize free oxygen, just
use the reducing flame in your torch. If, for some reason, you must
use oxidizing flame, crush some charcoal and mix it with the grains.
Now you have the benefit of both worlds.


#8

Those of you mentioning the turntable idea… Otto Frei has the
turntables with the soldering grains, and also sells the soldering
grain by the pound. I noticed it last night on their website.

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs


#9

Jean Marie,

I use silicon carbide soldering grains (I call the product soldering
sand) all the time. It is a wonderful way to hold up the article
that you are soldering and have the object placed to be joined
exactly where you want it; it allows you to have the join in the
exact spot to be soldered. I have set my soldering grains in a small
porcelain crucible (shaped like a small bowl) that is usually used
for holding molten metal when bringing the metal to the proper
temperature for casting. Since the grains are small, they hold the
piece to be soldered very well. I find the grains are more like a
small pumice and do not hold heat like a charcoal block. The
container will of course become hot and retain heat, but not so much
as it is bounding back into the piece. Please use this container and
has been placed on top of a soldering board or another heat proof
surface. The container gets very, very hot and cannot be moved with a
bare hand; keep that in mind when starting the setup. There are
several sizes that were available in the sand, it seems now that
there is only the fine that is still available. I use two different
"pots" of soldering sand that have different size grain, but I solder
with either size not sticking to one or the other for a specific job.
You do have to be careful not to get any solder on the grains. I have
recently bought the grains at a supplier named “The Mine Shaft” in
south Florida 800-654-3934. No affiliation, just happy customer.

Beth Katz
Unique Solutions, Inc
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com
Paste and Powder solder for Jewelers