Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Soldering into a hole

Hey Folks,

I’m having some frustration soldering a ring onto a hunk of metal - I just can’t get the solder to flow into the holes I’ve drilled into the main body.

low carat gold (~9 carat) and easy silver solder, borax as flux

Jump ring is three twisted strands of wire, total diameter is 1.5 mm. Holes (2) are slightly larger than this.

I’ve tried:
setting everything up dry, wetting the joint with flux and flowing the solder into the hole - no luck - beads on the surface or runs UP the wire (not down into the hole

filling the holes with solder and when it’s melted pushing the wire in. one hole had an air pocket, which didn’t help, but in any case, the metal clearly wasn’t wetting properly.

I’ve made about 7 attempts at this now and running out of ideas… any suggestions appreciated.

So, it sounds to me like you are not getting enough heat in to the “big hunk of metal.” I would say try heating that bit first, and then bring the wire in to the equation. Another idea is to “tin” the wire. That is get the solder on the wire tip before you try to bring it together. Then the solder is already in the hole with the wire. Just some ideas, hope it helps.
(Another idea just occurred to me. If you have a mini kiln, you can use that to bring it all up to just below the temp you want, and then just use a torch to get it over the edge in that area. I have seen others use that method, but I haven’t tried myself.

I’m not sure if this is applicable for you, but if it’s possible to drill through your “big hunk of metal” you may find it much easier. Whenever I mount a cab (or almost anything) to a ring shank I drill through the setting & the shank, “pin” a piece of wire through both pieces, and solder on the inside. Solder flows through the open joint (which is fluxed inside & out when push the wire through) and makes an extremely solid connection that simply won’t let go.

If that isn’t feasible for your situation, I believe I agree with Demzon; it sounds like you aren’t heating the “hunk of metal” enough. Solder flows toward heat so you want to heat up your biggest mass first, knowing that the larger mass will require more BTUs to get it up to soldering temp. The heat will transfer to the wire at that temp and you probably won’t have to put flame on the wire at all, which is helpful to avoid melting the wire.

Cheers, mate!