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Soldering mesh to sheet


#1

The new look of Orchid is Awesome!

I need to solder some very fine brass mesh to sheet sterling, and I
thought I’d ask for input. The sheet has cut outs for dragon wings
that are about the size of a 10 mm equilateral triangle. The sheet
between the the triangles is variable, but averages about 2 mm. The
brass will be the webbing of the dragon wings, the sheet will be the
"fingers" of the wing. Hopefully I have described the problem well
enough that you can picture it. I have tried doing this before with
dragonfly wings, and had great difficulty. I have had a few years of
soldering experience since then, so I am going to attempt it again,
but I thought I’d ask if anyone on Orchid had some slick way of
doing it. I’ll let you know the final outcome and what technique I
used. Someone locally mentioned a paint on solder, but I have had no
experience with it, so comments on that product would also be
appreciated.

Theresa Bright
Bright’s Fantasy


#2
had some slick way of doing it 

Slick way, eh, Theresa? HMMM… I’m unclear if the brass mesh is going
OVER silver or is hanging spended between, like a window pane. I have
two suggestions, in any case. First is, don’t solder it at all. Make
two pieces for the frame, and clamp the mesh between them. You could
also “set” it in various ways - undercut the edges, put the mesh in
the undercut, hammer down the silver - that’s just one way. That
removes all the issues of warping and discoloration from soldering to
begin with.

Th other way is simple - make a wire frame that fits inside your
pane. Make the opening larger to suit, if necessary. Lay the wire
frame ON TOP of the mesh, solder it down (paste solder would be
best), trim it, and then solder the assembly into your space. Maybe
you’d shape the joint as part of the design, instead of trying to
disappear it. Easy… You could also make two frames and sandwich
the mesh in between, if you wanted to. Solder one, then solder the
other, not all at once.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

Theresa,

Good question.

Are you trying to achieve a 2D look or a 3D look? Depending on your
final design the suggestions will depend a lot on how you solder this
together. I’ll give you both and how I would attack this problem, if
I am understanding you correctly.

Test soldering the mesh first using these steps before your final
assembly.

The brass mesh is probably very friable and delicate and will heat
up very quickly. But, brass has a higher melting temperature and
there are some tricks you can do to keep the temperature of the brass
cool enough for the solder to flow if you wish to keep the 3D’ness of
the mesh.

3D

  1. Make sure your mesh is flat and has good contact with the sheet.
    This will be hard of course because you don’t want to loose the round
    conformity of the wire.

  2. Clean any oily residue of the mesh. My thought is to gently scrub
    this with Bon Ami or Bartender’s Friend powdered cleanser with a soft
    tooth brush. Go slowly, but it will remove the oily grease.

  3. Gently sand flat the mesh, just enough to create some flat
    contact points for soldering.

  4. Now is the time to decide which step is this soldering process to
    your whole piece. Even with easy solder, different companies have
    different temperatures for your solder. Check all of them out - Rio,
    Hauser and Miller, Stuller, DH Fell, Otto Frei, etc. Find which one
    will work the best for two steps, soldering with medium and then
    easy.

  5. Flip the sanded side up and carefully flux and add some tiny, and
    I mean tiny chips to the mesh. Use a gentle bushy flame just until
    the solder has flowed.

  6. With a pair of crosslock tweezers, heat the fluxed silver sheet
    and mesh from underneath and watch how the solder is flowing. If it
    is easier, and I know this sounds daft, create a stable flame source
    by securing the torch tip, gently, with a C-clamp and move your mesh
    piece with the cross lock over the flame. This will let you have
    complete control watching everything happen and not worry about a two
    handed operation. This way you will see exactly if the solder flows
    and where it is flowing. Remember, this is only a test. If it flows,
    tuck a few more pieces under the mesh and keep going.

  7. A trick I use when I need to solder one area and keep another
    side cool is to cover one side with pumice from my pumice pan. I just
    heat the area I need and keep the rest nice and cool.

2D

This can be achieved as a roller print and you can use a thicker
mesh with a beautiful effect with not nearly as much fussy soldering
as the 3D.

  1. Clean as before, flatten and solder everything down. Don’t worry
    about how messy it gets, but of course, don’t “goober” it up. Yes,
    "goober "is a technical word, like “luber-doober” (name for stick
    style blade wax), LOL.

  2. After your mesh is soldered, slowly flatten it in a rolling mill.
    If gaps appear, go back and re-solder. This is known as a roller
    inlay technique. Once it is rolled flat, file the sheet with a flat
    file until the yellow brass shows up. It’s an easy process and has
    stunning results.

Here is a spoon of mine with a roller inlay into the spoon with 18K.

http://picasaweb.google.com/cleverwerx/Art#5228180912805441538

Hope this helps.

karen christians
cleverwerx


#4

Thanks to Karen and John for your ideas on soldering brass mesh to
silver sheet. I had originally toyed with the idea of sandwiching
the mesh between two layers of sheet. I may still try that! I am
going to do a few tests with Karen’s 3D idea as well as my own, which
is to slump solder on the sheet (Back side) and then lay the mesh on
it and reheat, hoping the solder will capture the brass when it
flashes again, much like soldering on an earring post. The mesh is
supposed to be the window pane. It is VERY fine, and the wire it is
woven from is probably 40 gage or so, even finer than the wire they
wrap a bundle of 12 saw blades with. I have several scrubbed pieces
in the pickle pot for an extra cleaning to use as trials. I will make
my first test tomorrow (March 30). I wanted to see what the forum
came up with before I started my tests! I’ll post pictures when it is
finished. Thanks again for the input! I’ll keep checking incase
there are additional suggestions.

Theresa Bright
Bright’s Fantasy