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Soldering 14k palladium white gold


#1

I have a project which requires me to solder a small rectangular 1 x
2 mm length of wire, which will be white gold. I was thinking of
using the 14k palladium white gold from Rio. This will be soldered
around the outside of a pendant of cast 14 k gold. There also will
be a 14k bezel mounted stone in the center of the pentant. Not too
complicated, but i have not yet used white gold. I’m just looking
for suggestions, in particular with reagrd to the soldering. I have
super easy, easy and medium 14 k yellow gold solder already. My
thought was to solder the bezel closed using the med solder first.
Then I would solder the white gold around the edge of the pendant
using the easy solder (there will be a small step in the model for
the wire to sit on, making soldering easier). Last I would solder
the bezel to the center of the pendant using the super easy, or
maybe the easy solder. I am a little nervous soldering gold at all,
since most of what i have done so far is silver. I have noticed that
the gold is easier to inadvertantly melt!

Any suggestions? Anything i should know about working with the white
gold?

Todd Welti
Living Color Opal and Intarsia


#2

I’d steer clear of the super easy, if you can try to get some 14K
hard (white) for soldering the wire loop closed, and then use 14K
medium (white) for the bezel to backing join, this way you won’t
stain the bezel and (I’m assuming) that when you file back the lip
any surplus solder will be removed. This will keep everything neat
and tidy with as invisible as possible solder seams.

I have personally found gold to be much more forgiving to work with
than silver, I think it all comes down to flame control when trying
to keep the whole at the right temp. Backing away to spread the heat,
and “zooming” in to flow the solder at the right moment, does take
practice to get right…

Right, flame suit on, but that is how I’d do it (I was actually
tempted to suggest using only hard solder for the whole project, but
that might be a bit tough for a first gold project) if this was my
first gold project.

Cheers, Thomas.
Janstrom Designs.


#3
I was actually tempted to suggest using only hard solder for the
whole project 

My own (albeit limited) experience has taught me that using only
hard solder for as much of the project as possible is the best way to
go. Most of the books tell you to start with hard solder, then do the
next joint with medium, then easy and so on. But if it’s a piece with
multi-solder joints, you quickly run out of options.

However, a property of solder whereby it will (apparently) melt at a
higher temperature on subsequent heating, lends itself to using hard
solder for every joint. I’ve only ever had one initial joint "leak"
when doing the next solder joint, but that was when I was getting
used to a new torch and over heated it. Under normal circumstances,
when using only hard solder, previous joints stay put when heating
the piece to do subsequent joints. Hard solder also matches the metal
better colour-wise and provides a much stronger, longer lasting
joint. And if someone else needs to do a repair on a piece further
down the line, the piece won’t just fall apart at the first sign of
a torch flame.

I do use medium solder occasionally, if I’ve made a complicated
piece and I just don’t want to risk anything melting, just to solder
on a bale or earring post.

I am just generalizing, as I’ve not done any 14K palladium white
gold work, but I have resized rings in 9K and 18K yellow and 18K
white gold and as people have said, it behaves itself better than
silver (which is what I do mostly), so I’m presuming the hard solder
for everything method would work for 14K palladium white gold too.

Helen
UK


#4

The basic principles of soldering gold are very similar to silver.
The solder will melt before the metal. Go straight to hard solder and
solder some small offcuts of your alloy together end to end or edge
to edge. Then try to un-solder and separate them. Good, now as a real
test see if you can sweat them together again. If you melt the metal
while trying then observe the glow and the first signs of melting. If
you succeeded without melting the metal then repeat the separation
and
sweating together once more so you can observe the glow and the first
signs of melting.

Gold alloys do not conduct heat as quickly as silver. The following
small differences cause problems when learning:

a) Preheating the whole item is still necessary but the item “fills
up” with heat quicker and the flame can be concentrated on the joint
sooner.

b) It takes a little longer for the heat to penetrate thick heavy
sections.

c) Thin bits like prongs or galleries will accidentally melt sooner
because the heat can’t run away into the rest of the item as quick as
it does with silver. Watch them carefully when soldering a heavier
part nearby and shield them if necessary.

Hard solder should be your main solder, it is stronger and more like
the parent metal when polished.

Hard solder can only be remelted once or twice, that means it is
possible to do many steps in costruction with hard solder because
the fresh solder will melt before the previously melted solder. Even
if the previous hard solder does melt it will be sluggish and keep
the parts together. When you get to the third step, the first will be
even harder to melt. Conversely, prolonged heating and being too
cautious makes the solder harder to melt; best to keep raising the
temperature quickly until the solder flows.

Medium solder is good when you know you may have to re-melt the
solder in order to make adjustments, or it is very important that
previous joins which may move or let go must absolutely not do so.

Easy solder should only be used in special circumstances. It WILL
re-melt every time and likes to run into and over all places other
than the intended join. Once easy solder is used on an item there is
no going back to medium or hard solder on that item.

Regards, Alastair


#5
My own (albeit limited) experience has taught me that using only
hard solder for as much of the project as possible is the best way
to go. 

As with all things, people will solder how they will…Some
thoughts, though:

Gold solder and soldering is entirely different from silver
soldering - it’s easy, and the techniques are a lot alike, it’s that
the solder behaves differently. Silver solder turns to water under
heat and goes Splatt!, gold solder can be controlled and slumped and
manipulated greatly more. It’s way better, and way easier to solder
gold than silver, for those reasons.

Because of that, there is really little use for medium solder in
gold (use it if you like it - I’ve never used it, or missed it, in
my life). Previous joins will stay put with skilled heating - gold
doesn’t need to be heated all over like silver does, so you can
solder right next to a previous seam with care.

Generally, the guidelines for the use of hard solder involve not
booby trapping your work, and to be aware that another jeweler will
work on it later on (same goes for xtra-easy - the bane of jewelry
repair ;} Structure should be hard soldered - ring shanks, ring
sizings, construction. Retipping and repronging should always be
done with hard solder unless you want me on your doorstep next year
because your previous solder flowed all over a piece. Applied things
like settings and anything that might need service over the years
should be done with easy solder - things that might need to be
removed or replaced by a future jeweler.

It’s just that, as Helen says, it’s best to use hard solder as long
as you can, on a piece. But don’t solder two rings together with it
(Like an E&W set) because they may need taking apart later
on…There’s a place for easy, too.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

to solder palladium white gold you need “palladium white gold
solder” and the best “palladium white gold solder” comes from
pmwest ! who also makes the best alloys in the world also thier
pdwhite solder works on platinum better than platinum solder and you
can use it for tipping on plat prongs if you are careful for an
acceptible color match - goo


#7

I only suggested the use of the medium solder because this was going
to be the original poster’s first foray into gold work, and so ease
of
assembly seemed a better thing to aim for than technical
perfection.20

It’s always handy to get a feel for how a metal behaves before going
all out after all.

Personally I only (now) use hard solder for both gold and silver, but
I do have the other grades on hand should the job require their use,
it’s just that over the past year I have used soft solder exactly
once, and the extra easy 14K white I have, well, anyone want it
(it’s only been used once with just two palions removed)? As I
haven’t used it in two plus years and didn’t like the way it flowed
when I did use it.

Cheers, Thomas.
Janstrom Designs.


#8

Thanks for the hints. I have shied away from hard solder, but I have
a bit more practice under my belt now, so maybe this time I will only
melt the parts I’m supposed to melt! I’ll try it. Any other general
hints on working with palladium gold are appreciated…

Todd Welti
Living Color Opal and Intarsia