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Solder Inlay for rings


#1

Hi. I am interested in using the solder inlay process to make a
two-toned gold ring. I want to make the ring out of white gold with
grooves, and fill the grooves with gold solder. I read a post on
this board saying that it isn’t a good idea because of discoloring or
something, but I would like some more feedback. I am also concerned
about the durability of the solder in the ring. This will be a
wedding band, so it needs to last a lifetime. Will the solder wear
away faster than the rest of the ring? Will there be discoloration
of the solder after time, etc?

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


#2

I don’t think this will work well, especially if the groove go all
the way around the ring.

1- you will most likely have pitting.

2- solder will wear away more quickly, leaving recessed areas in the
grooves, especially using yellow solder in a white gold band.

3- the oxidation that forms in areas ahead of your solder will give
you fits and lots of extra work.

Could you fill the design areas with wire instead? This could be
soldered in place, or, if it goes all the way around (forms a ring in
its own right), perhaps a friction fit will be adequate. Many
commercial 2 tone bands have been made with only a friction fit,
usually with flanges formed at the edge to hold the center element.
If the design is too irregular to use wire, I would fabricate those
elements from sheet and inlay those pieces with solder. Jim


#3

If you are using a white gold base, it will have a higher melting
point than yellow gold. You can melt 14k yellow directly onto the
base. If you are unsure of your ability to adequately control the
heat involved, mix some solder 50-50 with the 14k. This will enhance
the flow properties of the yellow gold and reduce the pitting. It
will also greatly improve the wear properties.

Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal


#4

Spike, I’m not sure if you have done this process with good results.
I have tried 5-6 times to get a good inlay look using 14KW & 14KY
together. My conclusion is to use 18KY with 14KW and the white
having a high nickel content in the alloy. This, I know, is a more
brittle mix, but you have a higher contrast in the two metals,
especially if no decorative plating (rhodium) is used to cover the
white gold. I’ve used Hover & Strong’s 18KW alloy to cast the piece,
the did the inlay with a mix 50-50 gold & solder to flow into the
grooves. Being careful not to overheat! A property of the solder is
to “bind” with the molecules of the gold and overheating can cause
fusion of the two and , well, then you have nice 16K cream gold!

Travis Duggan
Placitas, NM
@travis1


#5

Yes, I have done this successfully. I use a small torch and work in
small increments. Keeping the heat localized in the spot in which
you are working precludes many problems! As with so many processes,
if you try to go too fast you are shopping for trouble. Massage the
metal, don’t bludgeon it! I generally use Imperial Smeltings
palladium white as I shy away from nickle alloys. It has a good
white color and nice working properties.

HTH!
Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal