So I make these broaches from nickel, copper, brass and bronze. I
also havea some what bulky torch that produces a pretty large flame.
I have tried using jeweler’s silver solder on them to attach the
brass pins to the back but every time I did it would anneal the
spring and make the pin useless. SoI found this solder at the
hardware store that is a low melting point solder with a very low
silver content. It flows well and doesn’t anneal the piece, but I
have a couple of problems with it. One if I don’t get it soldered
just right when I open and close the pin it peals away from the
solder. Two when I put it in the pickle the whole piece gets copper
coated andI have to scrub it with a stainless steel brush to get the
coating off. Ofcourse the coarse brush scratches the piece and then
I have to sand it again to get the scratches out before I polish it
again. Is there something I can do to use my jeweler’s silver solder
so the piece does not anneal? I do have a mini torch but I am having
problems trying to get it to work correctly without blowing itself
out! Thanks, Angus
So I make these broaches from nickel, copper, brass and bronze. I
If you’re using pins bent into a self-spring at the end you, of
course, want to keep them away from heat.
Soft solder does not form a strong join. Any time you use soft
solder in an application which will undergo any stress you need to
think about how to maximise its purchase. Ideally you should make a
mechanical join so you won’t have to use soft solder at all.
Do all your finishing and polishing before you soft solder. The
low temperature at which it melts should not cause your piece to
oxidize significantly. You can then just hit the front with a little
rouge, or whatever final polish you’re using.
Regarding soldering the pin. I’d make a mounting plate which will
fit against the back of your brooch and hard solder the straight
brass wire to that. Then you can twist the wire to work harden it and
coil your spring loops into it. Then soft solder the plate and pin to
the back of the brooch. Roughen up the mating surfaces; soft solder,
like glue, holds better the more surface area it has. The mounting
plate doesn’t need to be terribly large either.
Another way of approaching the same end would be to make a flat coil
about 6-8mm in diameter with one end of your spring wire. Form the
coil so it has the same curvature as your brooch. Form the remainder
of the wire into your spring pin. Soft solder the coil to the back of
the brooch. This will give the solder greater purchase and has the
benefit of adding an interesting detail to the reverse of the piece.
I think it’d be nicer if the pin rose from the center of the coil
rather than from the circumference.
Just a couple ideas.
The correct way is to solder in the normal way, then work harden the
annealed pin to restore its springiness.
The way to do this is to make the pin about 1/8" too long, and bend
the last 1/8" at right angles to the length - like a long “L”. Solder
the end of the long part in the normal way, then, after pickling,
hold the short 1/8" part in pliers and and use it as a crank to twist
the pin about its axis. Twist it once and check the springiness,
repeat as required, then cut the pin to length and form the point.
An added bonus is that the pin shows the twist as a slight helix,
that not only looks quite good, but increases the friction between it
and the cloth through which it is placed.
Regards, Gary Wooding
I recommend that you silver solder (braze with non tin/lead silver
solders) a piece of brass wire to the back of your brooches. Solder
it on as a “U” shape, with one leg of the “U” very short. After
quenching the piece, grasp the end of the wire with pliers and twist
the wire like the stripes on a candy cane to harden it. Then bend the
short piece into a hook, and the long piece into a pin, possibly with
a round spring like that of a safety pin.
Your brass can be cleaned of the pink color by adding a small amount
of drug-store liquid peroxide to the pickle. It will need to be
added each time you want to do this, since it disappears after a
short time, turning into harmless things. oxygen or something. ask
the chemists, if you care.
You probably should be heating the brooch from the front so that the
pin parts only get hot by being in contact with the piece. If you use
an easy solder the pin parts should be fine. No direct flame.
Also there are findings companies where the pin back is made in
separate pieces and you put the sharp pin on after you solder.
Hope this helps
Hi David et al
Look for brooch pins that you put the pin in after soldering the
hinge and catch on.
David, you could use a different style of pin-back, one without a
curled spring. Solder it on with brass-colored hard solder (or use
the hard silver solder), clean everything up, and then temporarily
bend the pin-stem straight up and rub the living daylights out of it,
over an anvil, using a bezel rubber and rotating the stem as you do
it. That will make the stem stiff again. Then adjust the length and
sharpen the point.
As for the “copper coating” you get from the pickle, it’s probably
copper oxide and can be removed by making a separate solution of
PhDown + hydrogen peroxide. The slightly matte look this can produce
will be eliminated when you tumble-polish the piece.
Hello Fellow Orchids,
Just to let everyone know that Soft Solder is so strong… it is
holding the Hubble Telescope circuit boards connections together.
Some of the people I taught soldered the circuit boards with tin/lead
solder 63/37 % which is military specifications. The circuit boards
aboard the Shuttles that launched the Space Station was also soldered
with tin/lead solder.
The strength of Stay Brite Silver Solder is stronger than Tin/lead
Solder 63/37 and 60/40.
I use Stay Brite Silver Solder to restore broken costume jewelry
because most of costume jewelry is made of pot metal or pewter, using
a torch would melt the whole piece. I solder pin backs with Silver
Before becoming a Silversmith, I worked for Lockheed Missiles and
Space Co. in Sunnyvale, CA.
My 22 years of circuit board assembly and then instructing students
basic electronics, my expertise helped me to learn to be a
Silversmith. Unfortunately for me, my Mentor passed away before I
could really complete my training to be a Goldsmith. So, I continued
to take instructions through Modesto Jr. College courses that were
sponsored by The Mother Lode Mineral Society of Turlock, CA.
As for Age, I will be celebrating my 73rd Birthday in two weeks. I
plan on living until I am 125 years old. I have a lot to learn and a
lot to teach.
You can’t judge the strength of soft solder by electronic
connections, as there is no mechanical stress on such connections, or
at least there ought not to be. Also, there are hundreds of pins
passing through a circuit board, which means hundreds of joints, each
one contributing to the stability of the entire assembly.
Soft solder’s use in electronics is significantly different from its
use in jewelry or other metalwork.
I just want to say Wow! Thank all of you for responding and for all
the great I am actually going to try them all and see
what works bestfor me!
I have been out of college for about 13 years now. While I was there
I had all the tools I needed to do everything right the first time
and fix any “problems” quick and easy. I did not graduate or get a
degree Ijust didn’t have the funds to stay in for the whole 6 years.
I also started apprenticing with a local self taught blacksmith.
Since becoming a blacksmith had been a dream of mine since I was
eight years old and apprenticing did not cost me money, just time, I
chose to leave college after 3 years.
After working with jewelry for so long I got to know how metal moved
so translating it from cold work to larger hammers and hot metal was
that much easier. I apprenticed for two years and then he said “your
better then I am now, get out!” Of course he was mostly joking and I
helped him out for a few more years as he had M. S. and couldn’t
always do things on his own.
Then I started teaching myself leather working which took a couple
more years. I built a pretty decent name for myself in the medieval
and fantasy circuits and became known pretty much worldwide for
being me. Then theeconomy went to heck and I had to move. Now I am
trying to rebuild and either make or find all the tools and supplies
I need, on less then a shoestring budget, to show people what I can
With all the talented and helpful artists here the jewelry part of
my quest may just be the easiest part!
Thank you all again! Angus