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Soldering paste


Wow! A lot of discussion about paste solders?

It is not my go to solder for gold but I do keep 3- 4 needles of various grades.There are times with repairs and wanky fabrication that nothing else will do. I like to start difficult solders with some paste to get things tacked and fluxed if difficult to do with puk welder. If needed I will flow more hard solder to reinforce. This is not an E Z thing but sometimes it is required.

Like every tool i have, it has it’s place.



Why not identify the nice lady in southern Florida, for the archive?


I’ve been in the business for ~40 years and have never used paste solder. I use a borax cone for my flux, and occasionally liquid flux. Almost always use paillons of solder (cut from sheet or flattened wire). I like the cone because you are always making it up fresh, so it’s always clean. Also, each soldering act requires the appropriate consistency–sometimes thick, sometimes thin.

I actually started out in fine filigree, which uses paillons for framework and powdered solder for the intricate filling. I would never dream of using paste for filigree!!! I use a combination of powdered solder with powdered borax, always adjusting the relative proportions to the job at hand. I’m a ‘minimalist’ when it comes to soldering–I use very little solder, which goes right to the join, so there is no need for any ‘cleanup’. Especially in filigree, the solder should be totally invisible when you’re done. Paste solder would use much more borax and much more solder than necessary.


Just throwing another solder option here - Argentium (AS) solder. Although I do have some very old, left-over standard silver solders, AS solder is always my choice. It flows very nicely and at slightly lower temps. The color is great and it doesn’t tarnish more quickly than the silver body, revealing that tell-tale seam line. Like Jo, I buy it in sheet, and roll it out a bit thinner. BEFORE cutting BOTH sides of the sheet are colored with permanent markers - purple for easy, red for medium. Then cut into an edge several times and cut off pallions in many sizes.

Having the solder color-coded really makes it easy to know which is which…color on both sides makes it easy to separate pallions when the worst mix-up happens!! (Don’t ask how I know)

Judy in Kansas, where leaves are falling like rain and the mums are spectacular.


Hi Janet
Who knew that paste solder would be such a controversial topic.
Like powdered solder, paste is made of finely ground solder and borax or similar flux. Biggest difference is that paste solder has a binder to hold the flux and solder together. Paste can be used sparingly, just as powder solder can be used sparingly.
While I can’t say that the solder in my filigree is invisible, it is generally hard to see.

Janet, how do you apply your powder solder to the filigree?

Milt, in Calgary Canada


I started out using wire solder and touch method as well as pallions I now use only paste solders. Once you learn how to use it properly you will never go back. It allows a great deal of precision in placement and very clean joins.


Hi cfm,

Here is an ancient post:

Paillon vs. pallion

Jewelry Discussion

Aug 2004

1 / 5

Aug 2004

Sep 2004


Aug '04

I don’t want to be too much of a nit-picker, but I think bits of cut
solder are “paillons” [the “s” is an Englishism], not “pallions,” as
I have seen it spelled recently in more than one book. My old French
dictionary defines “paillon” as, among other things, “wisp of straw,
bit of solder.” Oppi Untracht (p. 395) notes that “paillons” comes
from French paille, “spangle”).

All the best,
Judy Bjorkman

Janet in Jerusalem


Hi Milt!

I remember when you were just starting out…:-)…! I just had a look at your site–you sure have come a long way!

There are many different ways to use the powdered solder, depending on the ‘mission’.… For areas of intricate fillings:

  1. Dip a small piece of cotton in water (holding it with a tweezers) and dab it all over the back side of the part to be soldered.
  2. Hold up the piece in the air and blow hard on it, so excess water blows off.
  3. Hold it over the container of powdered solder + powdered borax, pick up a bunch with index finger and thumb, and ‘sprinkle’ exactly where needed by rubbing the tips of the thumb and index finger back and forth against each other. Hard to explain–easy when you see it…
  4. Heat the whole piece gently with a large bushy flame.

Janet in Jerusalem



Doesn’t the permanent marker interfere with soldering?

Janet in Jerusalem


Thanks for the info
and thanks for all of the mentoring 5 yrs ago!
Yet another benefit of belonging to the Ganoksin/Orchid universe



Hello Janetb,
The marker has no effect on the soldering. It disappears shortly before the solder flows.

Judy in Kansas, where it’s a lovely fall day and a great day to hang out the wash.


Yes the nice ladies company is , myuniquesolitions. What I like about her powdered solders is the lack of flux in the powder. Yes I can work with the solders that have flux incorporated into it whether paste or powder. What I hate about that mix is with the powdered version I encountered a mushrooming effect as the mix warmed up before it flowed. That happened with minute amounts and larger amounts. I tried moistening more, and alternatively drying it out first. The same problem occurs. Its more that the bubbling of flux you get when you apply the two separately. Having the two separate FOR ME was a way to control the variable of expansion caused be the flux boiling away. As to my using powdered solder it depends on the job I’m working on. I rarely use it other than filigree. I use sheet I cut to the size needed. I use wire both for touch feed soldering and melted for pick soldering. The solder used is also as variable as to how I set up to solder. I may use a charcoal block, or solderite board. It could be a tripod with fine or large wire screen. I use titanium clips and old stainless steel dinner knives found at garage sales to hold work. I could go further with heat barrier methods, but you get the idea. It depends on the piece you are working with that the individual working will use. For me personally paste solders have no space in my work room.

I also don’t have a problem with solder showing after I’ve made the piece. I learned a slick trick on how to keep the amount of powder clinging to the piece. Excess is collected to be used again since it is not contaminated with any other substance. If by chance I see solder has made it to where it shows, that is where my flex shaft goes to work.

Sadly now I do few pieces of anything. After shattering my right wrist and forearm, I find it still difficult to work more that an hour a day. I can do the work, but the hand cramps up and quits working. So I no longer do stage demonstrations of jewelry and metal working with the Utah Shakespeare Festival. It was a decade of fun working with them.



OK, I’m sorry to bring up a sore subject, but I have to know what you do not like about using bezel rockers. That is what I use to set all of my bezels and is how I learned. I am not trained by an academy, but I have taken classes at a local shop. If there is a better way, I would really like to learn it. Thanks so much for sharing all of your knowledge.





Bernie- In 49 years of making jewelry I have never ever seen a professional stone setter use a bezel rocker or burnisher to set stones in a bezel. If I walked into a professional shop and started to set a stone with a bezel rocker and burnisher I’d be handed a cardboard box for my tools and shown the door.
It is considered by pros as a crude, inefficient, and dangerous way to bezel set stones. I can’t imagine trying to push a bezel over the pointy bit of a marquis, pear, or square shaped stone. Those sharp corners love to snap off at the drop of a hat. When that happens one has to buy the broken stone from the client and then buy another one to replace it. I hate buying stones I don’t get to wear or sell. And I have to spend my valuable time setting a stone twice. I’d rather be drinking a beer instead of working late:-)
You simply cannot control the movement of the bezel metal nearly as well as you can with a setting punch and hammer. I use a well balanced chasing hammer and a home made setting punch that I make from key stock.
I move the metal down so uniformly and smoothly with a punch and hammer that when I am done I very rarely ever have to clean up my work. I can just polish it and be done.
I hope I’m not sounding snarky or evangelical, because I really am the world’s laziest jeweler. I HATE filing and cleaning things up. It takes up precious time I could be spending designing and making more stuff. And when one has to file, emery or rubber wheel things up before polishing it looks “shop worn” and not as crisp as I like.
-Jo Haemer


Thank you for your reply Jo. That makes sense. I do use a hammer and setting punch on anything thicker than bezel wire, but I sure hope I can get near as good as you someday. Can’t say I have much control over that setting punch yet. But, I still consider every piece I do as practice.


I think you all may be talking about a couple different types of bezels. Faceted stones and smaller cabochons set in heavy bezels are no place to use a bezel rocker. This is were I would use the hammer and punch method (although, my hammer and punch is a GRS handpiece with a polished brass punch).

However, larger cabochons set in thin-walled bezels, typically fine silver, are the perfect place to use a bezel rocker followed by a burnisher. The bezel is thin enough that the burnisher will finish it nicely and there’s no need to follow with anything but a buff/polish.


I’m absolutely kicking myself right now. I was just at Michael David Sturlin’s retreat for a week and never once did I ask to see his setting tools. I would have loved to see a professional set a stone using the tools and methods that you just described. What a missed opportunity.


Dear All,
Hi… this is Prakash V Pai from India…
We at our company cast Platinum (using 95PT +%Cobalt).
But soldering is an issue for us. I have tried different methods, Permutation & Combinations to get good results. But in the end there is always a difference color shade of the solder & the cast ring.
Can someone please guide me as to what type of Solder I should get in order to avoid getting different shade of this Platinum alloy??
Secondly is there any solder paste which I can formulate for this PT+Cobalt alloy which I am using.
I would appreciate if someone can guide me to making a detailed & methodical process of making solder paste in house…
awaiting for your repl,
Warm regards,
Prakash V Pai


Thank you so much, everyone, for your replies. I’m going to try out the silver soldering paste that we sell and then I’m going to write a blog post on my results. I’m anxious to try it for myself and see how it does, and I’m curious to see if my mind will change since I first tried it. I’ll post a link if anyone’s curious to read it after I’m finished.

Thanks again!