Soldering and coloring steel

hello wise and wonderful orchidians… i want to use steel cable in
some pieces i’m making but am having trouble attaching chain ends to
the ends of the cable. any suggestions? regular soldering doesn’t
seem to do the trick – darkens the steel and makes a mess. this may
answer my second question however: is the best way to blacken/color
steel with heat? thanks for any help you can give me… mj

.. i want to use steel cable in some pieces i'm making but am having
trouble attaching chain ends to the ends of the cable. any

…I’m not sure what you mean by ‘chain ends’, but if you’re having
trouble attaching anything directly to cable, you might try fitting
a piece of tubing around the cable and soldering your chain end (or
finding) to that. Dee

mj: go to your local welding shop and look for stainless steel flux
for silver soldering stainless steel. Its called black flux I think.
It is a heavier flux that does not burn away and let the stainless
oxidize. I have used stainless in my jewelry for several years and
found this flux on a trip to get gases at the welding supply store. I
find that it solves the soldering problems with stainless steel either
soldering to gold or silver. Frank Goss

Silver solder is probably the best method of attaching the steel
cable, the discoloration is the formation of oxides and should be
easily polished off of the surface.

The best way to darken the surface of the steel is probably not heat,
although it can be used to obtain colors ranging from light tan or
straw to a dark blue. The steel must be coated to preserve the oxide
on the surface, it will be susceptable to wear and scratches. A better
method for darkening the surface would be the application of organic
acids in the form of lemon juice, tomato juice, ammonia (kitty litter
that has been dampened by the cat works very well) etc. You should
experiment to find a method that achieves the darkness and hue you
desire. Leaving the surface of the steel in contact with various
clothes, sponges, etc. during the process will allow you to achieve
some patterns, too.


Brian Edginton
ICQ #38144477
Opinions expressed are…

Dear Dee, Soldering the chain to the cable but using what solder…
Silver??or lead???I have tried it several times and gave up… IT
always looked like a shoe man’s mess… Help… thanks…

Hello Cal, how are things in NJ? Hope you don’t mind my 2 cents
worth. I have soldered SS caps on the ends of steel cable without too
much trouble. I use a product called Black Flux which is considered a
high heat flux and which is recommended for brazing steel. The solder
is hard silver solder and you are able to attach terminals to the
steel cable. This flux is also useful whenever prolonged heating is
necessary, since it does not break down as readily. I’ve used this
flux when appliquing 18K gold pieces to a s. silver base where
prolonged heating is necessary. This allows the gold to build up
temperature to allow fusing to the silver. Doug Harling uses this flux
in doing granulation where it is of cosiderable help in fusing 18K
granules. Hope this is of some help and you
are still doing your Mokume. Best regards, Joe Dule

Calgang…in answer to your query: You can put a sterling end cap on
a piece of steel cable, but you’ll need to use hard silver solder
or IT solder, and a high heat flux (but for the life of me I can’t
remember the name of the stuff.)…Dee.