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Soldering or fusing end to end sheet

I’m trying, rather unsuccessfully, to either solder or fuse (I’ll
settle for anything at this point) Argentium silver sheet (22 ga,
approx. 1/2 inch wide) strip, end to end. I’m making a collar and
need more length. Try as a might, I can’t get the ends to meet up
well - I find that one end will pop up slightly when heat. I’ve
tried binding it with iron wire, but the wire is so thin, and doesn’t
hold well, acting more as a heat diversion than anything else. Anyone
have any tips? I’m so frustrated with my various attempts.


This is a tough order. If you are successful in actually lining up
the parts when soldering, you need to consider that a) the piece is
inherently weak, b) the seam will show.

Short of starting over with a larger piece of stock what you can do
to get around a and b is to splint it. You can make this look like
it was meant to be there, make it ornamental in addition to
structural. Do a lap joint on the end of your collar so that the
splint goes past the end. Then do another lap joint with your
extension butting the previous end of the collar and resting on the
splint. You can either put the splint on front or front and back, in
either case you form it to be a design element. You might want to add
an additional design element elsewhere for balance, maybe.

Try as a might, I can't get the ends to meet up well - I find that
one end will pop up slightly when heat. 

try a lap joint if you can’t get the “butt” joint to work. It’s
stronger anyway.

File a taper of at least 45 degrees, and preferably a good deal
more, on each end. The set them to overlap just on the matching
tapered edges. Flow the solder, and press down slightly on the top
one just as it flows, so they mate up. With the tapered overlapping
surfaces, the top won’t get pushed down past the lower one’s edge.
What you end up with is a joint with considerably more surface area,
so it’s stronger. You may need to planish the joint lightly with a
hammer to even up the thickness.

===//=== is the general idea, only slant those ends much more than
these backslash typed characters.


Hi Ros,

First, let’s brainstorm about ways to get sheet that is long enough.
6" x 36" is the typical sheet size. Do you need longer than 36
inches? I know that many distributors require that orders for
Argentium Sterling be placed with one dimension being 6", but I think
you might find yourself able to order 1/2" x 36" from Hauser and
Miller. Possibly Stuller?

OR-could you perhaps order a full sheet, and sell some to friends on
Orchid? I would not mind sharing an order with you, for instance.

If these ideas don’t help, then here are my thoughts for fusing the
ends together.

First, practice fusing two short pieces of scrap together. When
you’ve got that worked out, then I would try one of these set-ups
for fusing the longer lengths together:

A-use a “pinnable” board, such as soft solderite, or a firebrick.
Use T-pins to align the edges, and also a few at angles to keep
things from popping up. B-if the above fails, try a lap seam
(over-lapped edges, rather than a butt seam which is edge-to-edge)
set up as above. After fusing the overlapped edges, bring the joint
area back to 22 gauge through a combination of forging and filing.

I hope these ideas help!

Try cutting very clean tabs- into one side, cut perfect openings in
the other side, then solder. Keep it clean.

Thank you Peter, thank you Neil! A lap joint would never have
occurred to me, though it makes so much sense, as I would have done a
mitred joint in wood, so why not metal? Thanks again!

One technique that might help.

Sheet moves as it expands, so if you heat your strip unequally,
especially with a small flame you will have difficulty keeping the
two ends still, and flat and together.

You need a large propane flame.

Firstly I take a suitable flat fire brick sheet.

Get your silver ready with the ends fluxed.

Pre-heat the brick sheet, get the central area really hot where the
silver joint will lie.

Place the the silver ends together on the pre heated area and heat a
large area on each side of the joint gradually concentrating the heat
on the join.

Put a small piece of solder on each side of the join line and when
they both melt, stick solder the rest of the joint.

Twist two or three solder wires together if necessary. well fluxed.
How thick is your silver, as silver less than 1 mm may be just to
thin to join as there is bound to be some discrepancy between the
flat surfaces.

I made several large mirror and picture frames and successfully
joined the corners this way.

David Cruickshan

You might start over with a thicker gage of metal and roll it down
to the desired thickness and length.

I’m a bit late on this subject, but I’ve not seen the following
suggestion so far…If the joint keeps springing open when you heat
it, it might not be a problem with the joint itself; it could be the
opposite side of the sheet, which will act like a spring unless it
is well annealed. When you’re going to solder, try heating the back
and sides of the sheet until they are annealed, and then heat the
joint. I’ve encountered to problem before when resizing rings that
are too hard, and either pop open or deform the shank (if you’ve put
a piece in).



You might start over with a thicker gage of metal and roll it down
to the desired thickness and length. 

Now that sounds like a good idea. 22g is very thin to try to fuse
edge to edge. But a thicker gauge, such as 18, fused then rolled to
the desired thickness seems to be a smart alternative.

I love Argentium because you can fuse it but it’s tricky until you
get the hang of it.


Thank you for the suggestions. I definitely think that starting off
with a longer piece, as per Cynthia’s suggestion, would make my life
a lot easier (and I will look for Argentium sold in a width less
than 6 inches - easier on the pocket book!)I think that the soldering
attempts have been made worse as I had already started forming the
collar when I realized that I needed more length. So I’m fussing
with something that isn’t flat any more. And, I had managed to use a
huge gob of solder to somewhat hold it, only to forget the collar in
the pickle pot over night, and have it separate. Thanks so much for
taking the time to reply!


I also like the suggestion re annealing the underside of the sheet.
I wonder if a lack of annealing is causing another problem that I’m
having trying to fuse bezel wire to 26 ga sheet. I find that I can’t
get the back sheet to lay flat - I’ve hammered it, heated it, placed
a brick on it…


Hi Ros,

I wonder if a lack of annealing is causing another problem that
I'm having trying to fuse bezel wire to 26 ga sheet. I find that I
can't get the back sheet to lay flat - I've hammered it, heated it,
placed a brick on it..... 

Are you saying that you cannot get the sheet to lay flat BEFORE
fusing? If so, then annealing is very helpful. In this situation, the
tendency of AS to “sag” when heated is helpful—anneal on a flat
surface, and let air cool. It will be flat! AND, the bezel will tend
to “sag” to fit, as you fuse, if there are small gaps. Sometimes, if
we simply let the metal “do its thing”, it works better than all the
hammering, heating, weighting with bricks, etc.

I hope this helps!