Hi, folks, OK, please, no additional requests for titanium strips.
What a turnout! Any recipients who feel they should not get my
"largesse" for free-- make a donation to Orchid!
Here are the instructions I just wrote up for the use of the strips,
for the benefit of those of you who will be receiving them as well as
those who won’t, but are interested!
SOLDERING FROM BELOW WITH METAL "V"S
This technique is particularly useful for soldering bezels onto
heavy backing sheets, or onto close-fitting backing where there is
no room to heat from the front without aiming the flame directly at
I picked it up from a teacher some years back who used copper to
make her V=92s, and that works fine. Titanium just works a little
better-- you will never melt it (melting point 1670 degrees–
CELCIUS), it does not act as a heat sink, and you cannot possibly
fuse or solder it to your piece. The strips last indefinitely-- I
usually loose them rather than wear them out.
The downside is that titanium is not commonly available in sheet
form. I use it in my work, so I always have it around. The most
readily available source, and the only one I know of that is geared
to jewelers, is Reactive Metals (www.reactivemetals.com, PO Box 890,
Clarkdale, AZ 86324, (928) 634-3434).
It has been suggested that titanium wire can be had cheap or even
free at bike shops, in the form of broken spokes. It would be
challenging to hammer it flat and it would wreck a rolling mill, so
if I needed to use wire, I think I would bend it into a tight zigzag
shape. But these instructions are intended for sheet.
Here=92s how it works: cut an even strip of titanium sheet, preferably
with a bench shear or, in the case of the 26g I generally use, an
ordinary paper cutter (titanium shears much more easily than it
saws). I like it to be about 3mm wide. The idea is to have enough
clearance to allow the flame to go under the workpiece, and not so
much that too much heat escapes. I usually work with strips about 2"
long, using more of them for large pieces, but a minimum of two. The
strips get bent into a V shape so that they will stand firmly and
give good support. The points of the V=92s should face inward, toward
the center of the workpiece, and should match in height to provide a
stable base to work on.
I like to put a brick or block in the middle of a rotating annealing
pan, set the V=92s on that, and the fluxed workpiece on top. The torch
should be aimed toward the center of the piece and directed down and
under the work at a 30- to 45-degree angle so that the flame bounces
off the brick and onto the workpiece. Use a somewhat larger flame
than you would if aiming straight at the metal. If you are using a
rotating pan, you can hold the torch essentially in one position
while slowly turning the pan with the other hand. If you are using a
large enough flame, it will not be long before the base piece
reaches soldering temperature and the solder is ready to flow. At
this point, it may be necessary to turn the torch down slightly
(without letting the piece cool) and bring the flame up top so that
the direct heat can be used to draw the solder around the join.
That=92s it! As long as the heat is only applied to the back, you
cannot possibly melt your bezel. If you aim your torch
right=97bouncing the heat up under the backing, and not striking the
edge directly=97you should not be able to melt your backing, either.
With proper flux and enough heat, firescale should be minimal, and
if you do get some, at least it will be on the back.