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Silversmithing at 9,300 feet in elevation


#1

Soon I will be setting up a temporary silversmithing studio in a
residence located at 9,300 feet in elevation in the Colorado Rockies
– for about 6 months. (OMG. You should see the view from this place,
but the air is fiercely thin.) But I have a couple questions: When
soldering, will my joins get hot enough at this elevation for solder
will flow? I usually use two Blazer butane torches and hard solder
for everything, and will test this in a few weeks.

If they don’t work, what kind of a torch should I use and will it
need any modifications? I won’t be doing any casting.

Will my vacuum debubbler work at this elevation? It’s an old one
that I will be using for RTV mold making.

Thanks for any insight you can give.


#2

A torch with its own oxygen supply will work best. The vacuum
debubbler will work fine, you will have less air dissolved in the
water but the vapour pressure will give more problems if you dont
degas so your results will be the same in the end.

Nick Royall


#3
Soon I will be setting up a temporary silversmithing studio in a
residence located at 9,300 feet in elevation in the Colorado
Rockies -- for about 6 months. 

Betsy, I taught a silversmithing class in Georgetown Colorado a year
or so back. I think its around 8500 feet in elevation. I didn’t
change any habits and everything worked as normal. I used an old
Presotlite Acetylene air draw style torch with a number 1, 2 & 3 tip
and every kind of solder known to man before it as over. We did some
gold welding as well with no changes in product or technique. I used
my normal Hydroflux torch for the Gold. We soldered everything from
rings to belt buckles for size. The only thing I noticed was the
burnout was quicker when we cast some flasks. I think the only
reason I noticed that is I was watching things extra close.

If you’ve been soldering awhile you are probably more in tune with
watching the metal and solder that you realize.

Just go pretend your in your normal shop and have at it!!! Sometimes
ignorance is truly bliss!!

I hope this can help.

Dan.
dearmondtool.com


#4

Betsy,

I’ll take a quick shot at this one. I live at 8000ft. At altitude,
heat is still heat. If you’re boiling water, vapor pressure is a
different matter; water boils at a lower pressure because of the
lower atmospheric pressure, increasing cooking times. But the melting
point of ice is the same. So, solder will melt at the same
temperature at 9300ft. as at sea level. The surface tension will be
slightly less, meaning, if anything, the solder will flow better at
altitude, which is why vacuum brazes flow so nicely.

I’m not familiar with your torches or fuel gas. I use acetylene/air,
as well as oxy/acetylene for my work. I can imagine that you might
experience lower flame temperatures because of reduced oxygen in the
thin air, but, I’m guessing here, that you will still be able to
execute your soldering without noticeable difference.

Your vacuum debubbler should work just fine, as it won’t have to
work as hard.

Kind regards,
Hans Rohner


#5
Soon I will be setting up a temporary silversmithing studio in a
residence located at 9,300 feet in elevation in the Colorado
Rockies -- for about 6 months 

I live in the Rockies at 7500 feet. I have not had any problems with
soldering that I am aware of. The only issue I have had is not being
able to pull as much of a vacuum as you can at sea-level because we
are at a lower air pressure in the first place.

MJ