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Soldering Clay


Doing great. Tip for a torch. Get one of those screw on heads for small disposable propane bottles not those ones that are 12 inches high but just a slight bit bigger than a butane can. I get mine at Ace hardware near me. They are small but have larger flame and more heat than the small hand held torches.

Check out powdered Garnet sand. You can mix it with a little water to make it form like you want. It also can be pounded back into a powder and reused.

The clay in that video looks intriging. To me it has to have some sort of silicon in it to keep it flexible but heat resistant.

Reason that clay works and would be marvelous is it eliminates the need to keep the inner wires being under tension. Nothing worse than havind a piece with 5 to 10 wires all under tension, spring apart in your face, especially if your on carpet. That clay keeps the wires half imbedded. This leaves only a bit exposed to have the solder flow on. That again would be good for the tension reason, and the ability to do it on a domed piece. BUTā€¦

Youā€™re dealing with me and being thrifty/cheap. I do my pieces flat, then dome them after. I also put the piece very carefully on some elevated mess over an old cake pan. I flux with watered down paste flux. Then I take a piece of copper I hammered into a specialized spoon to sprinkle the powdered solder on. After I transfer the piece to a charcoal block to solder. This way I can collect the excess solder and reuse it. Otherwise you lose a lot of solder, even using that clay from the video.

Iā€™ve lots of little tricks that I do, that I only think of as it comes up. Iā€™ve been doing filligree for over 12 years. Its fun and frustrating. Any help I can give, just ask. It might jog the old brain to remember what I just do without thinking. By the way I work very hot, and have great results its all in the torch and wrist as you probably know.

AGGIE. In Orlando having its last cold snap of the year. Others are bundled up with 69 degree weather.


Aggieā€¦Thanks for your offer of help and good suggestions. I too am ā€œthriftyā€ and try to use and reuse until it is worn out, canā€™t be repaired or just wonā€™t work. That way I can use what I have to buy more tools. I tell people that I retired to buy tools. I have made large heavy bracelets for most of the last 45 years. For me filigree is a very different way of working with metal. I am enjoying it a lot and it may be the way of my future as I look for ways to make jewelry that arenā€™t so hard on my hands. Since I also enjoy lapidary, I will look for ways to incorporate lapidary into filigree. I do need to buy some actual filigree solder. I have been using small snips of sheet solder and touch soldering with wire solder rolled very thin. My filigree wire is reused fine silver that I have cast into ingots, rolled, square, drawn to 26G, twisted very tight and then rolled again flat to .5mm with lots of annealing along the way. This takes time, so I will buy 100 feet of 26G fine wire the next time that I buy silver. I would love to see pictures of your work. Feel free to contact me privately if this works better for you. Thanksā€¦Rob


Great job!


Contents: Water, Silica and Aluminum Oxide.



I watched your video link and recall reading about this processā€¦I cannot remember the resourceā€¦

it appears that he is:
(I read about this in a jewelry making resource and did try itā€¦it worksā€¦gotta clean the wires with alcohol to remove the clay residueā€¦)(I will try to recall the resource and post later)

  1. placing the metal/ design on a regular clay, such as plasticine

  2. creating a frame around the clay (ie: tape)

  3. pouring a plaster of some sort (I read in some jewelry making resource about the use of Plaster of Paris, and did try it).

  4. after the plaster dries, remove the tape, peel off the clay.

  5. the metal design is embedded in the plaster of paris, and does not come off when peeling of the clay due to the subtle undercuts that the plaster of paris filled in

  6. solder the metal/ design while it is embedded in the plaster

  7. break off the plasterā€¦it burns to brittleā€¦dissolve in water?..I forget how I removed itā€¦)

  8. i seem to recall needing ALOT of heatā€¦plaster is heat sinkā€¦

I was using this method when soldering together settings into a design configurationā€¦not sure how it would work for filigreeā€¦but video appears to show that it wouldā€¦

just my morning musingsā€¦



here is a related postā€¦talks about the plaster needing to be ā€œboneā€ dryā€¦

search 'plaster of paris soldering", in the archives to see more related commentsā€¦

(omg, I need a new laptopā€¦my trackpad is possessed by evil spirits!)




ok, I recalled the jewelry book that discussed this process, with photo examples!):
(Project 19- Filigree Brooch- the brooch is actually photographed on the book cover- the middle photo, on the bottom row of three)