Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Solder placement


#1

I ahve followed the discussion on making solder stay put but
still have problems getting it on to start with.

As I am soldering a joint on a ring after placing a slpice in
it, I put some small pieces of wire solder in flux on the seam.
It is very difficult to pick up the solder and make it stay on
the joint. I usually use a pick with a tiny bit of flux on the
tip to pick up the pieces but then they won’t come off onto the
ring. I’ve tried heating the joint first but then the flux
hardens and the solder bits won’t adhere. How can I do this
easier???

Also , Is the “cheap” ring stretcher (about $15) any good for
increasing just a half size? I hate to go thru splicing for just
that amount of increase.

Thanks again,
Bob B


#2

Hi Bob, in my opinion the cheap ring stretcher is probably not
the way to go - remember you can “tap” up the ring over the lower
part of the shank with your planishing hammer. Watch out for
hollow sides in the inside.

As for the solder problem, it sounds like you just need to
practice a bit more. First, heat your piece that you are about
to solder - solder definitely follows the heat, then add flux to
the joint. Second, wave your torch over your bit of solder and
pick it up with your solder pick. Don’t get the pick too hot
(this may be your problem). Third, put your torch back on the
joint about to be soldered and heat it up a bit more. While the
torch is on your piece, set your solder ball down on the joint.
At this point your piece will accept the solder nicely - it
should stick to the flux. Hope this helps, Mike


#3

Try not putting flux on your pick- I also, depending on the type
of metal the pick is made of,will purposly oxidize it so the
solder won’t flow on it and will only ball up on it. It makes it
easier to get off. This was the deal with the titanium picks,
right?

Ricky Low


#4

Hi Bob, I too have found it difficult to get solder to stay where
it is put. What kind of flux do you use? I found that Borax makes
the job very difficult because it bubbles up so much. Try one of
the propretory brands of flux made for silver soldering. Richard W
UK


#5

Try heating the joint before you flux, hold your solder with
tweezers, dip the solder in flux (I have a small piece of
plastic I keep a drop of flux on), then touch it to the hot
joint. Hold it their for a second and let go. It should stay put
in the sticky flux.

Also , Is the “cheap” ring stretcher (about $15) any good for
increasing just a half size? I hate to go thru splicing for just
that amount of increase.

I just purchased the Rathburn(?) ring stretcher for about that
and I have found it very useful. I bought it to stretch a size
12 milgrained wedding band up 1/2 size. I did have to put the
stand on a slice of ring wax to allow me to drive the center pin
in a little further without hitting the bench, but other than
that I find it easy to use.

Hope this helps.

Sharon Ziemek


#6
As I am soldering a joint on a ring after placing a slpice in
it, I put some small pieces of wire solder in flux on the
seam. It is very difficult to pick up the solder and make it
stay on the joint.  I usually use a pick with a tiny bit of
flux on the tip to pick up the pieces but then they won't come
off onto the ring.  I've tried heating the joint first but then
the flux hardens and the solder bits won't adhere.  How can I
do this easier??? >>

Bob, the keyword here is “practice”. I remember having the same
problem when I started in this business years ago. 99% of the
time I use the “pick” soldering technique. I think the key to
making this work is having the right balance of heat applied to
both the pick and the ring. Your pick (with the solder already on
it) has to be hotter than the ring in order to release the
solder. The cooler flux on the ring should allow the solder to
stick to it. One other tip I have is: Try melting your solder on
a block and touch it with your “cold” solder pick immediately
after it balls up. This seems to form a weaker bond with the
solder to the pick. Also, you may want to try cleaning your pick
and then dipping it into your boric/alcohol mix. Dont use green
flux as this seems to be stickier. Hope this helps, Ken


#7

Hi Bob:

Don’t know whether or not this will be any help, but I’ve found
that little snippets of sheet solder tend to stay put somewhat
easier than the wire solder which can roll around. I usually use
a gel flux which also seems to help keep things in position(as
long as I remember to let it heat gradually at first. If I hit
it with too hot a flame right away I end up with bits of solder
flying off like popcorn!)

Elaine (MoonStones)


#8
Don't know whether or not this will be any help, but I've found
that little snippets of sheet solder tend to stay put somewhat
easier than the wire solder which can roll around. 

I flatten my wire solder a little with a hammer or thru a mill
so it can’t roll. I also use the pick and put the solder on after
heating the flux on the piece. I make my picks out of a
coathanger and file to a point. I don’t have too much trouble if
I keep the tip of the pick clean, if I don’t the solder sticks.

Kathie


#9

Hi Bob B,

Don’t know if what I do would be helpful to you - but (shame!) I
use a fine paintbrush. Never have tried using a pick - and have
always used wire solder. Try predrying your flux and then with a
slightly flux-dampened very fine paintbrush set your solder.
Approach the piece with a small bushy flame held well away to dry
it out and then adjust for a heating flame and go to it.

For a half size increase in ring size (which is the most I will
do without splicing) tap it up with your rawhide hammer on a
mandrel - making sure to turn the piece so your sizing will be
even. I do it all the time - not experienced enough to be able
to hit a customer’s size just right the first time every time -
so it happens that once in a while I have to adjust a
little…

Luck, Nina

Nina - Silver Design, 9122 S. Federal Hwy, Suite 249,
Pt. St. Lucie, FL. 34952 : Toll Free:1-888-460-1800
URL: http://www.nina-sd.com : Email: @Nina


#10

Ken - I disagree on the part where the solder pick should be
hotter than the piece. In my experience, solder always follows
heat. Also, green flux is certainly a favorite of mine in gold
applications, Mike.


#11

Bob:

About the ring stretcher: I don’t have any info on that, but,
if you don’t have a lot of rings to do, couldn’t you just put the
ring on a steel mandrel and hit it all around with a rawhide
mallet? If you have the metal to go a half size in the
stretcher, you can “stretch” it this way, too. Of course, you
will probably have to clean it up with emery wheels, etc. to get
out the hamer marks, but you would probably have to do at least a
little of that with the stretcher, wouldn’t you? The castings I
use have plenty of extra metal in the shank, and I can upsize
them at least a size or two this way without adding any metal.


#12
Ken - I disagree on the part where the solder pick should be
hotter than the piece.  In my experience, solder always
follows heat.  Also, green flux is certainly a favorite of mine
in gold applications, Mike. 

Mike, what I was referring to - in that the pick should be
hotter than the piece, only when trying to get the solder to
"release" from the pick onto the gold ring. Also, I was implying
that the “pick” should be coated with the boric acid instead of
green flux to aid in the release of the solder. I use the green
flux on all the solder joints, and I do agree solder will flow
towards the heat. Ken


#13

Although the mallet/mandrel method works to size up a bit.
I’ve found that the more expensive (the one with about 17 various
shank size rollers) works very quickly for “show” sizings. You
do have to be careful when using it, it will smash any topside
embelishment, and if you aren’t careful to do it “little by
little” you will have a shank which is thinner in some spots
than in others. In my opinion, that gadget is the best “value
for money spent!” (In the Rio Catalog it’s called the Stone-Set
Ring Enlarger- see page 72 “G” ) I got mine through Indian
Jewelers Supply and it was a bit less expensive.


#14
 I flatten my wire solder a little with a hammer or thru a
mill so it can't roll. I also use the pick and put the solder
on after heating the flux on the piece. I make my picks out of
a coathanger and file to a point. I don't have too much trouble
if I keep the tip of the pick clean, if I don't the solder
sticks. Kathie

Just a thought, doesn’t matter whether the solder is flat or
wire, it will still roll if the piece that you are trying to
solder isn’t hot enough to melt it! Solder will BALL up and roll
all over the place if one is afraid to apply heat. (too much
heat will not only melt the solder, but the piece too!


#15

here is what works well for me: take a length of wire solder and
pass it through your rolling mill a few times until it is about
the thickness of aluminum foil…then cut to the proper size
snippet as needed (use as little solder as possible)…i found
this greatly improves the neatness of my joints,especially where
filing off the excess solder is impossible or impractical

DMorton@aol.com


#16

The most helpful tip I got regarding soldering was to wave your
flame on and off the piece. Dont just heat the piece continually
-if you waft your flame on and off the piece it allows the whole
piece to come to the proper temperature at the same time and the
solder flows very nicely.


#17
I try to treat "stretch" as a dirty word...just personal
preference.

hi sharon, i agree completely.before anyone gets offended, what i
say hereafter is applied to client owned merch. not of ones own
manufacture.

a cast ring can be tapped up 3 sizes or until there is no metal
left but personally i think that is cheesey. to tap up a 1/2
size can be acceptable. i will only tap up 1/4 size.

a cast ring should almost never be stretched on a expanding
mandrel. expanding mandrel type ring stretchers are ok for die
struck bands. definitely not for anything with stones in them.

best regards,

geo fox


#18

The most helpful tip I got regarding soldering was to wave your
flame on and off the piece. Dont just heat the piece continually
-if you waft your flame on and off the piece it allows the whole
piece to come to the proper temperature at the same time and the
solder flows very nicely.

I agree but make sure your flame does not leave the piece. I
will go back and forth a dozen times or so and them slowly inch
up from one side of the piece to the other until the solder as
melted…This method is also great for annealing…


#19

George:

Why is it cheesy if there is enough thickness in the band?? I
have standard type ring solitaires cast by a wholesale cater and
there is enough metal in them to go up at least a size by
whacking at it on a mandrel. Do I need to aneal it after?

I can see not stretching or hammering if it’s gooing to get too
thin.


#20
       Why is it cheesy if there is enough thickness in the
band?? I have standard type ring solitaires cast by a wholesale
cater and there is enough metal in them to go up at least a
size by whacking at it on a mandrel. Do I need to aneal it
after? I can see not stretching or hammering if it's gooing to
get too thin.

hi jess, after casting i too will wack a sprue into the shank to
size it up. specifically what i was refering to was client owned
merch, i.e. the jewelry store that submitted it for sizing or
the customer who brings it , or the customer who bought it out
of the case. my policy is that the client/ customer is entitled
to have the same thickness measurement they purchased or
submitted to me. wacking it will compromise this original
thickness. in these instances if one wacks, it is my opinion
that it is a velveeta cheesey practice. however, if i’m making
production rings and want size 7 instead of 6 and the thickness
warrants it, wack away. after wacking i do anneal. as i’m sure
you know, annealing will eliminate the work hardened shank.

best regards,

geo fox