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Soldering bronze and silver


#1

I am interested in using bronze and silver together in my designs. I
have used brass (or “jewelers bronze”) together with sterling and
have found difficulties during soldering. I have been told that a tin
alloyed bronze would be a lot easier to solder to the silver.
Previous posters on the site have mentioned Hagstoz as a source for
bronze but when I called they said their bronze was a zinc alloy
with the copper.

Can any one help in either a source for bronze that can be soldered
to silver or telling me how I can solder brass and silver.

Ernie


#2

I think you have been misinformed. Both brass and bronze are alloys
of copper, but brass is copper and zinc, and bronze is copper and
tin. If you use ordinary engineering grade silver solder flux then
you should experience no problems in soldering it to silver, gold,
steel etc.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#3

brass to silver. bronze to silver— plain vanilla done all the.
time clean work and brazing alloy handi flux - reducing or neutral
flame, big enough fire for the work, Heat work not the filler metal.
PRACTICE!

jesse


#4
I am interested in using bronze and silver together in my designs.
I have used brass (or "jewelers bronze") together with sterling and
have found difficulties during soldering. I have been told that a
tin alloyed bronze would be a lot easier to solder to the silver. 

I can’t tell you where to buy it, but be aware that bronze is a
copper-tin alloy by definition. Copper-zinc is brass.

Previous posters on the site have mentioned Hagstoz as a source
for bronze but when I called they said their bronze was a zinc
alloy with the copper.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#5
Can any one help in either a source for bronze that can be
soldered to silver or telling me how I can solder brass and silver. 

McMaster Carr (mcmaster.com) sells phosphorous bronze (Alloy 510)
which is a true tin bronze. It is available in small quantities
(6"x12" sheet) in thickness from.005" to.125". It is probably the
only tin bronze alloy you will readily find in sheet form.

That being said you should not be having problems soldering brass or
commercial bronze to sterling. It can be a problem if you over heat
it or don’t work fast enough. The problem lies in that silver solder
is basically an alloy of silver and brass (copper and zinc) and if
you give it enough time or temperature it will alloy and make it
difficult to control the flow.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#6

True, except “jeweler’s bronze” is actually brass. My experience is
that the biggest problem in soldering silver and “jeweler’s bronze”
(brass) comes in the pickle. Copper tends to plate out over the
silver and it takes some heavy polishing to get it off.

And, as the man says – practice, practice, practice

–RC


#7

What problems are you having when trying to solder silver and brass
together? Are you having issues with the eutectic bond that can
happen (where the brass “sinks” into the silver)? I solder the two
metals together all the time, and rarely have problems - I’m just
very careful while heating the metal. Maybe someone has some more
specific advice for you on preventing that from happening.

Jen
http://www.jmwjewelry.com


#8
What problems are you having when trying to solder silver and brass
together? Are you having issues with the eutectic bond that can
happen (where the brass "sinks" into the silver)? 

I am concerned that a relative beginner may feel confused by the
answers to this question-- the above is the only one I’ve seen that
refers to the genuine difficulty.

To clarify-- yes, you can solder these metals together just fine.
But if you don’t do it often, or are not entirely “sure-footed” in
your heat control, a little too much heat can turn the whole thing
into a puddle. As I understand it, silver + brass = solder. So if
you overheat (not hard to do) you get your sepatrate metals turning
into one large amount of solder, and the brass can “sink into” the
silver. For what it’s worth, I once or twice managed to do the same
with gold.

I haven’t used bronze, so I can’t say about that, but the trick with
brass is to plan the piece so you add it as late in the process as
possible, and pay very close attention to the amount of heat. My
most recent PITA was at the end of a copper, brass and silver
marriage of metals belt buckle. Finished it, turned it over to add
the findings, had trouble getting that done, and when I turned it
back to the front, the dreaded thing had happened unbeknownst to me
and the piece was garbage. So I try to design things so I solder
brass to copper and copper to silver.

Noel


#9

Thank you Noel for the detailed explanation, The next time I will
spend more time in the design process.

I am still interested in finding a tin bronze that can be cold
formed. In everything I can find out most bronzes are springy and do
not lend themselves to cold forming(i.e. rings, fold-forming etc). So
if anybody out there can give some help I would appreciate it.

Ernie


#10

Ernie,

I use NuGold which looks like bronze after the final cleaning and
patina. Check my website and there is a vessel made of NuGold that I
raised. NuGold was the first metal I used in class. The instructors
said it had similar working properties to silver for hammer work. I
found that to be true. I work up all my patterns in NuGold before
using silver. I love the material.

Susan
www.ThorntonStudioJewelry.com


#11
I am still interested in finding a tin bronze that can be cold
formed. In everything I can find out most bronzes are springy and
do not lend themselves to cold forming (i.e. rings, fold-forming
etc). So if anybody out there can give some help I would appreciate
it. 

This is what we are trying to tell you, the addition of even small
amounts of tin makes copper hard and tough. You will not find a soft
tin bronze. Tin bronzes can be ductile and malleable but it will be
tough and difficult to manually form.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#12

the foundry I work with used to use leaded gunmetal called LG2.not
very good to breathe in but you could push it about quite easily.

Tim Blades.


#13

In view of the high price of gold and silver, and needing some low
priced items for a show in which I will be participating, I have
begun to work with bronze which I am casting (Lost wax casting) This
is all new to me, as I have never before worked with bronze.

The castings have turned out great, but I need to attach some bails
to them I have been unable to find bronze sheet, so am considering
making the bails out of either sterling, or copper.

My question is whether sterling and/or copper bails can be soldered
to the bronze. If so, can I use regular silver solder.

If I find that the color of the sterling is not really compatible
with the bronze I plan to dunk the piece in some contaminated pickle
hoping to copper coat the sterling.

For my next casting, I intend to have bails part of the design,
which would eliminate the job of making separate bails. However, for
the present I have a batch of pendants all cast and needing bails. I
thought of cold connections but the design on the pendants will not
allow for this. Future castings will take all this into
consideration, and will have bails as part of the design, or else,
space will be left for cold connections. Hind sight is wonderful…

Will appreciate your collective thoughts on this.

Alma


#14

Hi Alma:

Super-easy silver solder is a not-entirely-horrible color match for
bronze. Not very strong, so make sure your joints are mechanically
sound.

FWIW.
Brian.


#15
My question is whether sterling and/or copper bails can be
soldered to the bronze. If so, can I use regular silver solder. 

Yes. Bronze is mostly copper with some tin, and can be easily
soldered with silver, or even gold, solder.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#16

Alma,

My question is whether sterling and/or copper bails can be
soldered to the bronze. If so, can I use regular silver solder. 

I have used sterling and a bunch of different mainly copper alloys
over the years. They all work pretty much the same, there are some
subtle differences and potential problems but by the time you can see
and understand them they just aren’t problems any longer. Gold and
especially Pt are different but not by too much. Still metals
although Pt is rather different.

Cast up a batch of bronze bails and regular silver solder them on.
Or cast an ingot of bronze and do the roll thing to make sheet.

None of this jewellery work is rocket science. It is your studio and
you can do most anything you want, short of leaving a large crater
:slight_smile:

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#17

Check out whimsie.com, hagstoz.com, or objectsandelements.com for
bronze sheet.

Cheers,
Sandra Gilbert in chilly Snohomish WA


#18

Hi Alma,

You could make some models of bails, mold them, then cast them in
bronze. There is no really good bronze solder, so silver solder is
about the only solder.

If you design the bails so that the solder can be inside a groove…
the grooved Bail could be solder to the pendants and if done
carefully, you may not see the silver solder at all. We use our laser
welder to weld bronze, brass and all sorts of other metals together…

if thats available to you, it would work…

A fusion system like the puck welder might work if available. I don’t
think dunking the soldered silver bail into pickle will work to
change the color and it won’t be permanent if it did work.

There is brass colored plating, but it would cost $ to set up and
it’s not permanent either.

Maybe the best solution is to solder a bail to your model, make a
new mold and just cast the whole thing in bronze…

forget about trying to fix the old ones…

Daniel Grandi
http://www.racecarjewelry.com


#19

Thanks Jeff, for the great idea about casting the bails in bronze,
and then soldering them on. They will look much more professional than
my making them out of copper or silver.

And thanks to all the rest of you wonderful people who sent me so
many valuable suggestions.

Best wishes to you all. Alma