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Soldering gold bezels


#1

Could someone give me a couple of tips on soldering gold bezels. I
have worked primarily with silver and am just beginning to use gold.
I have made two gold bezels for cabs and attempted to solder one to
silver and the other to shibuichi. Both bezels melted before I
managed to get the solder to flow, and I was using easy solder. Thanks
Ann


#2

Ann -

I would check the cleanliness of you metals, particularly in the case
of the shibuici. Solder doesn’t like to flow where any oxide is
present.

Just brighten up both sides of the area to be soldered with a file,
sandpaper or what have you.

Don’t forget the solder. I have had some so long that it has
oxidized, and must be cleaned before each use.

Ivy in Oakland, CA, where (hard to believe) the leaves on the
Japanese maple and liquidamber trees are beginning to turn.


#3

Dear Ann,

Your probably doing some of this correctly but since I don’t know
where the problem is I’ll list them anyway.

  1. Heat the piece not the bezel. This will be tricky with the
    Shibuichi but both are big heat sinks.

  2. Clean everything to be joined. Freshly file the bezel and the
    piece where they are to be joined. You may want to leave the rest of
    the bezel dirty if that is practical. Clean the solder with steel
    wool before clipping it so that it is also clean.

  3. Could your flux be contaminated or your solder bad?

  4. I’m not too fond of easy solder, medium works better for me.

  5. Are you using an appropriate flux for silver; some for gold burn
    off long before silver solder flows. I hope your using silver solder,
    it costs less and flows at a lower temperature.

I hope one of these things points helps.

Good Luck,

Pauline


#4

Your problem of soldering gold to silver or shibuichi is this, I
believe:

Silver and probably shibuichi are much better conductors of heat than
gold is. What is happening is that you have a thin piece of gold
being soldered to a larger piece of silver and the silver is
conducting the heat away from the solder joint very quickly.
Meanwhile, where the torch is hitting the gold, those edges of the
gold are quickly reaching the saturation of heat necessary to melt
them because the heat can’t get away from those edges fast enough.
It’s similar to the problem of soldering something small and thin to
something large and heavy. What you need to do is concentrate your
heat on the large piece (or the silver or shibuichi) while keeping
the torch from directly contacting the gold bezel. You should be
able to bring the piece up to a temperature at which the solder
pallions (chips) should begin to melt without actually having to put
any heat directly on the bezel. There should be enough radiant and
conducted heat then to bring it up to a temperature at which the
solder will flow through the joint. Hope this is understandable.

David L. Huffman


#5

Ann,

Think of soldering gold bezels to silver as similiar to soldering
silver bezels to silver. I would use a hard gold solder for the seam
of your bezel and then a medium silver solder to attach the gold bezel
to the silver. If the silver piece is much larger and heavier than the
bezel then you need to make sure that you have warmed the whole piece
before concentrating your heat around the area that the bezel is on.
Sometimes I will heat from the back, underneath the area the bezel is
on, to help bring the metal up to temperature before heating from the
top. Keep the torch moving around the bezel until the solder starts to
flow.

Gold if it gets too hot or is heated too fast will sometimes oxidize
before the solder flows, if this happens usually it doesn’t matter
how much heat you put to it the solder won’t flow properly and things
tend to start melting at this point. When this happens the best thing
is to pickle the piece and clean with a white 3M scratch pad, or
whatever you use, before trying to solder again.

It just takes a little experience to know the visual cues of when you
are getting close to the flow temperature of the solder and when you
have applied too much heat or for too long and you need to start over.

Hope this helps.

Douglas Frey
@d.d.frey
www.dfrey.saskatoon.sk.ca


#6

Hi An and Phil,

Shibuichi oxides do inhibit solder flow and you should clean them
off, but it sounds to me to be much more of a case of incorrect
heating. Shibuichi, like copper or silver, conducts heat away from
the area soldered, so does gold, but to a much lesser extent w/ the
result that heat builds up in one area of the gold very quickly and
the metal melts. Remember to heat majoratively and that the heat of
the metals to be soldered melts the solder, rather than spot heating
the solder itself. Remember also to consider relative masses, the
position of these masses and to use heat sinks to equalize these
masses; for instance, resting a pair of tweesers atop the bezel to add
mass and slow down heat build up there.

Good luck, Andy Cooperman