Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Soldering on sterling


#1

I recently posted a question reguarding purchasing double ended links
that can be used to make bracelets. Thanks to all who replied. I have
receeived a few pertenant catalogs, however my question is this. How
would a beginner such as myself take a one ended pendant (sterling)
and solder an end to the other side to make a linkable piece? Is
there sterling solder and can I use a common everyday soldering iron?


#2

You probably need to take some classes or workshops so that you can
do “real” silver soldering. The soft solders that are used with
soldering irons are not good on silver. There are videos and books
available if you must teach yourself. Others have done so.

Marilyn Smith


#3

G’day Catherine

 Is   there sterling solder and can I use a common everyday >   

soldering iron? Firstly there are several silver solders all of
differing melting points. All of them have the same silver content as
sterling’ they contain other metals as well as copper to give
different melting points. The one with the lowest melting point melts
at around 450 - 500C, so a flame or something which provides much more
heat than a soldering iron, and a flux like borax. Next - NEVER allow
sterling, fine silver, or any kind of gold to come into contact with
soft lead solder (plumber’s solder, electrician’s solder) It will
completely ruin any piece so that it cannot be worked upon with hard
solders. You will need to get a flame torch with a fine flame for your
work, and use ‘easy’ or ‘extra easy’ hard solders. Don’t let the
rather brassy colour of silver (hard) solders fool you; any kind of
joint must have the two pieces/ends actually touching with no gaps as
hard solders are not gap filling like lead solders. The amount of
silver solder used to join the two ends of a silver ring is about
1.5mm square and 0.3mm thick! If a joint is done properly, the
ordinary ‘bloke in the street’ will have difficulty in finding a join.
I just had a little girl of 11 make herself a ring, and her father
wouldn’t believe it was made from strip she rolled from rod; - he
phoned me to ask if she really had made it from strip! Get a book on
jewellery; I recommend Tim McCreight’s “The Complete Metalsmith” Very
cheap, excellent teaching pictures and text, you’ll love it! Cheers
and all the best. – John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson
NZ


#4

Hello Catherine,

For the most part John Burgess is right. However, Sterling silver
contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Silver solders contain less
silver. As the percentage of silver is decreased, the melting
temperature is also decreased. The following list was copied from a
table printed in the Indian Jewelers Supply Company catalog. The first
two on the list will make a light yellow joint. It is best not to use
them on silver. The 70% has the best color match for sterling.

Easy-Flo #30 contains 30% silver, 27% copper, 23% zinc and 20%
cadmium it melts at 1125 ?F (605?C) and flows at 1145 ?F (710?C).
Easy-Flo #45 contains 45% silver, 15% copper, 16% zinc and 24%
cadmium it melts at 1125 ?F (605?C) and flows at 1310 ?F (620?C). Braze
560 contains 56% silver, 22% copper, 17% zinc and 5% tin it melts at
1145 ?F (620?C) and flows at 1205 ?F (650?C). Braze 650 contains 65%
silver, 20% copper, 15% zinc it melts at 1240 ?F (670?C) and flows at
1325 ?F (720?C). Braze 700 contains 70% silver, 20% copper, 10% zinc
it melts at 1275 ?F (690?C) and flows at 1360 ?F (740?C). Braze 750
contains 75% silver, 22% copper, 3% zinc it melts at 1365 ?F (740?C)
and flows at 1450 ?F (790?C).

There several other formulas for silver solder.

Sometimes terminology with solders can be confusing. When we refer to
hard solder versus soft solder we could be talking about the silver
solders versus the lead or tin bearing solders. Often we refer to the
75% silver solder as hard, the 70% silver as medium , the 65% silver
as easy , and the 56% silver as extra easy. I have not yet mentioned
the 80% silver 16% copper, 4% zinc solder known as “It”.

Have fun learning on this great forum.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site : www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft


#5

Let me tell you a story.

I went on holiday , leaving the keys of my workshop with a friend
who, unknown to me became desperate for some files.

He borrowed mine, cleaned them and returned them. of course he didn’t
know about lead and silver. He thought that it would be OK.

I returned and couldn’t imagine why I had so many problems with
ruined pieces.

In the UK we hall mark our pieces. In they go, there are samples of
the metal taken and if they pass cupellation standard the Hall marks
the pieces with a date letter, the hall mark and standard mark
together with your own punch. If it doesn’t they put the batch under a
great big hammer and smash it.

A whole 14 days of work was returned in this manner.

My friend was very, very,very, very sorry! I had to replace nearly
all my finishing tools.

Tony Konrath Gold and Stone www.goldandstone.com