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Silver Solder Question


#1

I work mostly with gold and do not have much experience or luck soldering
with silver. A big problem I encounter is, when I solder on sterling
silver with silver solder the solder leaves a hole behind where it was
sitting. It happened to me again today. I was soldering some 1.3mm round
wire that I had twisted into a rope style band. I used boric acid
firecoat and white paste flux. As I was soldering I could see my solder
eating into the silver. At each place I applied solder I had a hole.
What am I doing wrong? I don’t know what temp the solder is it is very
old. It did flow very well though.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Ray in Finally Sunny Southern Oregon


#2

As I was soldering I could see my solder
eating into the silver. At each place I applied solder I had a hole.
Ray in Finally Sunny Southern Oregon

G’day Ray, The thing that comes to my mind - is that is the symptoms of
trying to use lead based soft solder on sterling or fine silver, and
heating it as one does with proper silver-solder. Never never get lead or
lead based metals anyway near silver. Or you can kiss the work goodbye.
Can’t think of anything else that might so it. Cheers,

       / \
     /  /
   /  /
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2
(______ )       

At sunny Nelson NZ (On Mid-winter’s Day) Happy Summer Solstice to
you Northerners.


#3

Ray easy solder will sometimes do this when heated to much.

Ed Colbeth Metalsmith, Motorcyclist
Deer Isle, Maine "With a view of the harbor"
207-367-5972
93 K1100RS "Wanderer III"
ICQ# 6247734


#4

Dear Ray,

could it be a little too much heat on the piece? Silver
solder will sometimes burn into the silver if the flame is kept on the
piece past the point when the solder has melted. The molten solder seems
to etch into the silver surface. I’ve had problems with this too. Lots of
luck, regards, Rex from Oz


#5

trying to use lead based soft solder on sterling or fine silver, and
heating it as one does with proper silver-solder.

I’ve had this problem too, John, and I know there was no lead
involved in my solder. I did, however, have this pitting experience when
I was trying the married metals technique and using sterling/copper or
sterling/brass combinations in metal with silver solder. (It doesn’t
happen every time and I’ve used the same brand or supplier of solder for
several years.) Does this give you any ideas?

Laura Wiesler
@bgoren1


#6

I’m wondering . . . it could be that you are directing your flame (all the
heat) in one spot. When working with sterling, you should heat the ENTIRE
PIECE, not just one small spot. Also, I use Batterns Flux, I find it works
well for me.


#7

Sounds like you’re using soft solder probably with lead in it. The stuff
sold down at the plumbing shop called silver solder is not the solder used
for silver jewelry. You want the sheet, wire or paste you get from a
jewelers supply house or precious metals company. Jerry in Kodiak


#8

Ray: do you work in Medford by any chance? Seem to remember you from
awhile back. I do alot of silver work and the problem might be the solder
you’re using. Easy solder will eat into your work and I never use unless
its absolutely necessery. I stick to hard and medium. Also overheating, or
reheating many time will do this too. I make pieces that have alot of
solderings and its a constant battle. If you use easy solder and do alot
of reheating you definitely will have it eat into your silver. Hope this
helps. Also, for more than one solder operation boric acid won’t help
much. You should make up some Pripps flux to better protect your
piece…

Dave Kickass Websites for the Corporate World

http://www.kickassdesign.com Crystalguy Jewelry
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html Recumbent Cyclist’s
Advocacy Group http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/bent/rcag.html


#9

My guess is the solder was easy grade. Clean the surface with sandpaper
before using it, the surface oxidation is part of the problem. Overheating
the piece is the major problem, however. Probably other people on the
forum can suggest sources for solder that work better. I hate working with
silver though I make models for casting in sterling.

Rick Hamilton

Richard D. Hamilton
A goldsmith on Martha’s Vineyard
USA
Fabricated 14k, 18k, 22k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography,
and sailing whenever I can…
http://www.rick-hamilton.com


#10

Silver solder will cause some surface pitting or marking if it is
overheated, but it should not cause holes. The marking can be minimized by
making sure that the solder itself is also fluxed, easing the flow. I do
not use boric acid to pretreat the piece, but cover the whole piece with
paste flux instead.

wishing you the best, Tom Tietze

The Artisan Workshop


#11

As I was soldering I could see my solder eating into the silver.
At each place I applied solder I had a hole.

Does your solder form a sphere on the metal before it
flows? If not, I’d have to second the lead solder contamination
suggestion. Linda


#12

I work mostly with gold and do not have much experience or luck soldering
with silver.

hi ray,

i haven’t worked in silver recently, but dave sebaste post brought alot of
memories back. he gave some good advice.

it jogged my dim memory that if all you have is that soft(unknown) solder,
you can forgo pallion soldering. the pitting is occurring where the
pallions were, right? snip a long piece of solder from your sheet and hold
it in a pin vice or whatever, heat the workpiece up to solder temp and
apply the solder to the piece and feed the solder into the join. possibly
you could feeed the solder from one place and cause the solder to flow
thruout. hold your flame in front of the solder to lead it thru the join.

hope this makes sense in print.

your pal,
geo fox


#13

Re: getting holes from silver solder: I think you may be heating the
solder too quickly without letting the metal heat up sufficiently.