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Soldering problem

Hi, I am pretty much new to soldering and still learning the tricks
and I ran into a problem last night. We are trying to soldering a
large ring, about 1 1/2 inch to 2 inches in diameter. The procedure
we use is silver sheet solder, cut into little pieces to heat up and
put on a solder pick, heat the sterling silver ring and spray on
boric acid and alcohol mix to protect it from firescale, and then
apply a little bit of liquid flux to the joint. We then apply the
torch to get it to the right temperature for solder flow. Well, our
first attempt the night before worked wonderful but last night we
have no idea what we did different but the solder would just sit
there in a liquid ball and not adhere to the silver, it seems no
matter how hot we got the silver nothing worked. Any suggestions on
what we did wrong or need to do different?

Thanks,
Rushi Dickerson

    have no idea what we did different but the solder would just
sit there in a liquid ball and not adhere to the silver, it seems
no matter how hot we got the silver nothing worked. Any suggestions
on what we did wrong or need to do different? 

My guess would be somethings not clean enough. I had this happen with
some chip solder at the crafts guild earlier this year and I finally
figured out it wasn’t me or my piece, when I remembered how the
little worker guy had taken the container, shook a bunch of chips
into his hand, and then tossed them back into the container after
he’d picked a few out to use. Leaving, undoubtedly, his finger oils
behind on the chips which are much to small to try to clean up.

Sojourner

Sounds like your flux burned away before the solder had time to flow
try adding more liquid flux to the joint and I bet you’ll have
better luck.

Shawna Lobmiller
Starr Gems Inc.
www.silversupplies.com

if solder does not flow on a ring it is usually because of one of 3
problems

  #1 you did not soak it in pickle long enough. 

  #2 the joint is not clean, and needs to soak in the ultrasonic
  for a while. 

  #3 something is not right with the surface and it has those
  red spots on it, these are not really firescale. you need to
  repolish the joint area again. 

be sure that you are heating up a larger area of the ring too silver
is different than gold in that way.

good luck

Matthew
mhgjewelry.com

When that happens, I usually figure something is contaminated, the
join, or the solder. I’d put the ring in the pickle for a little bit,
then file up the joins again, cleaning it up, clean the solder, and
try again. I have also run into a pallion of hard solder once that
NEVER worked right, so it sits on the back of my bench, I replaced it
with much success!

Good luck.
Laura
www.LauraGuptillJewelry.com

Thats why you treat your pallions of solder with a boric acid
alcohol mixture. It not only keeps them clean but they are easier to
manipulated when wet with a small paint brush.

Ringman

    the little worker guy had taken the container, shook a bunch
of chips into his hand, and then tossed them back into the
container after he'd picked a few out to use. Leaving, undoubtedly,
his finger oils behind on the chips which are much to small to try
to clean up. 

Thank you, Zen Soujourner, for opening an opportunity for me to post
a tip here. All you really need to clean up small chips of silver
solder is a wire basket. Just put the chips inside and use your
favorite degreasing agent to get the dirt off. Mild detergent and
Simple Green are the two choices that immediately come to my mind. Do
NOT place a steel wire basket in your pickle pot unless you like your
pieces copper plated - just use a degreaser.

For tarnished silver solder chips, the familiar “washing
soda/aluminum foil” trick should work quite well. Make certain you
rinse the solder chips well to remove any soap or other residue
before soldering with them.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, look in the detergent
section of your local grocery store (laundry and dishwashing
detergents, that is) for a product called washing soda (not baking
soda). Dissolve as much as you can into warm water, and pour into a
plastic container. Line the bottom of the container with aluminum
foil, and place your tarnished sterling silver into the container,
making sure that the silver touches the aluminum (obviously, you
can’t use the wire basket on this one). This process will remove most
tarnish from sterling, including solder chips.

James in SoFl

In my trade school class on repair, the teacher’s motto for soldering
was, “Clean, fluxed and touching.” When my students have a problems
soldering it is usually one of those or uneven heating.

Actually, come to think of it, uneven heating is the most common
problem.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

 if solder does not flow on a ring it is usually because of one of
3 problems

#4 reason for solder not flowing - usually the #1 reason Metal not
hot enough and taking too long to get to that heat. If solder balls
up the solder got to melting point before metal to be soldered got to
temperature that will get solder to flow.

Hi Rushi,

Most problems with soldering not “working” is contamination. Sounds
like this is your problem since the solder balled and did not flow;
something was disturbing the melt. Make sure all your surfaces to
be soldered are clean and free of any pickle. If you have any
doubts of the surface being free of the pickle, you can soak in
baking soda solution for a few minutes (a neutralizer), then rinse
really well in running water.

There can be other contaminations at the solder point as well, but
if you have pickled in between operations, this is the first
problem I think about happening. You can also sand paper or file
area in question to get off any other contaminations.

When using pallions and flux you also must make sure the sheet solder
is clean. BEFORE you cut the pallions, sand paper the sheet to make
sure it is pristine and clean, then cut your pallions. Sheet solder
can get contaminated just sitting around. I, of course, prefer paste
solder as the flux utilized in the formula will ignore a lot of
contamination at a join and work anyway. The best idea is to keep
all surfaces very clean that you are planning to join.

Beth Katz
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com
Paste Solder and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmiths

Sometimes, if you happen to use too much flux, it will inhibit the
flow of solder.

Gail