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Soldering Silver bezel wire to Copper


#1

Hi, I have to plead for help. I’m having the darnest time solding
silver bezel wire to copper, even copper to copper. All I have to
work with (torch wise) is my little butane micro torch, propane torch
and a oxy/propane torch. I don’t think I’m getting the copper hot
enough to get the solder to flow onto it as well as the bezel, and
concequently the nice piece I so lovingly cut out is getting messy
solder marks where I don’t want them as well as melting my bezels. I
keep trying different things, but anything I come up with hasn’t
worked. Please help this poor amature.

Zoe


#2
I have to plead for help. I'm having the darnest time solding
silver bezel wire to copper, even copper to copper. 

The whole piece has to come up to soldering temperature before the
silver solder will melt. There can be no dirt or oil present and the
fit must be perfect. If you put the flame directly on the solder, it
will roll up into a cinder like ball that will never melt.
Concentrate your heat on the biggest piece of metal. Keep the flame
moving. Paste flux will stay active longer than a liquid.

marilyn


#3

I’m not sure you could have picked a more difficult soldering
project It can be done, though. First, use steel wool on the
copper to clean it. You would be ahead to also flux it, anneal it,
pickle it, rinse and then steel wool again. You will never get any
solder to stick to unclean copper, and it will oxidize again
overnight in the air. Then, make sure (obviously) everything fits,
use a heavier flux (Not like Battern’s, the yellow liquid) - use a
paste made for silver solder. Suspend the plate somehow (tripod and
wire screen is the way, but you may not have that), so that you can
heat it from underneath, and do that. You need a bigger flame to heat
the entire plate - a little pinpoint flame just won’t do it. If you
need to, you can put a piece of solder somewhere to melt, so you know
the temperature, and then flow it into the seam. Then, if it gets
sluggish or the copper starts turning colors, STOP, pickle, rinse,
clean, flux, and reflow it. Copper oxides are essentially a stone
wall to any solder - meaning even plumbers have to do this stuff…


#4

Hi, Zoe,

Unfortunately, it is important with copper to get in hot and fast,
solder and get out before the copper can oxidize, causing the solder
to bead up and “shrink”.

That said, you still may be able to succeed if you use a good flux
(paste is probably your best bet) and heat from the bottom so you
can’t melt your bezel. If your piece is thick, you could bridge it
across two bricks. If not, you could use a tripod, though a screen
would absorb some of your heat, and you don’t really have heat to
spare. The other option is to bounce the heat using copper, brass,
or titanium (my favorite) V’s–

see
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/soldering-from-below-with-metal-vs

or search under “titanium V’s” for detailed instructions.

–Noel


#5

Zoe, soldering copper requires lots of flux. Try using white paste
flux.

Torch control is also necessary, to heat the entire piece to flow
temp of your solder.

Try fluxing the hell out of the piece, cut pieces of solder to sit
inside the bezel touching the bezel as well as the back and heat the
thing from underneath with large gentle flame. You can pick the edge
of the piece up with a poker made of a wire hanger and get the flame
under the piece. I usually pick the edge up after the flux has boiled
and I am sure the bezel in in the correct spot, the flux will hold
the piece in place so it won’t slide off as long as you don’t pick it
up at too much of an angle, angle the torch under the piece rather
than the piece over the torch. Your solder surface is also
important, I use the honey comb ceramic blocks and can also bounce
the flame off them up onto the back of the piece as I lift with the
poker. The soldering surface can be a real heat sink and can inhibit
solder flow if not very reflective like the honey comb material.

Write if you have any more questions; @Sam_Patania

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.patanias.com


#6

We did this in a class I took, and a second person added more flux
while another person used the torch. This method helped delay the
oxidation of the copper.

Alana


#7

Thanks guys,

Yeah I have paste flux that I’m putting on it, I keep pickling it to
keep it clean and oxide free, and brass brushing it. I guess I’ll
have to keep trying. I think putting wire or the titanium v idea
would probably help a lot. It just suck, I can do this no messing at
school with there acetylene torches and people around to help but not
at home. I even was two torching it (one under to heat the piece then
adding the other to coxing the solder while someone else places the
solder with my pic). Ridiculous steps.

Thanks again,
Zoe Hardisty