Soldering small accents

Hi I need some advice. I have been making a pendant(s) of sterling,
about 1 1/2 - 2 inches long, 26 gauge, with two bezel cups. I solder
the bezel strip with hard solder and then solder the bezel to the
backplate with easy solder. I have been attempting to solder small
gold balls to the top and bottom of the pendants with extra easy past
solder. I thought the paste solder would hold the round balls to the
silver, which it does. The balls are small enough that it would be
hard to file a “flat” spot and seemingly difficult to melt solder
onto it in order to sweat solder. I have had a hard time getting
consistent results and am not sure what I am doing wrong. The paste
solder is supposed to have flux, so I have tried fluxing, not fluxing
and half the time the balls fall off in the water bath or pickle. I
suspect that I am not using enough heat as I am afraid to melt the
whole darn thing in order to attach the accents. I can never seem to
see the solder flash (even when I manage to attach them). So I guess
my question is, when doing the task I am attempting, do I go over the
whole 1 1/2 inch piece and get it all to temp and then focus on the
small gold ball. I have been successful with only heating the general
area where the ball is, but again, half the time it doesn’t work.
Maybe if I used medium solder attaching the bezels, I wouldn’t be so
worried about reaching melting point when I use the extra easy???.
So, what is the proper way to do what I am attempting to
do. Thank you much

Hello Kathy,

When soldering gold balls to silver, I have the best results when I
"tin" some easy silver solder to a flat spot on the gold ball. Flux
as usual and place the gold ball (solder bit down) where you want.
(If the ball rolls around, file a flat spot on the solder.) Heat and
when the flux melts, watch the joint between the gold ball and the
silver. When you see the shiny line at the joint, pull the heat off.

If you are using standard sterling, yes, you’ll need to heat the
whole pendant. If you’re using Argentium, the heat can be directed
primarily to the area where the solder is to flow.

Hope this helps.

Judy in Kansas, where someone just said to me “This has been the
nicest May yet, and it’s still March.” Can you believe temps in the

Probably try the fusing technique used in Granulation. The Balls of
gold are actually glued in place and the piece heated to the fusing
point and the granulation (little balls of gold) Will fuse to the
surface. I believe either bench tube has a video or there is exact
processes in the Archives.

John (Jack) Sexton The most precious things in life cannot be built by
hand or bought by man.

I think that you have been unnecessarily cautious in your choice of
solders. I use medium solder for multiple joints on the same piece,
since to re-melt it takes just a bit of a higher temperature than to
melt it the first time. I will start out with hard, then do joints
with medium, and maybe finish up with easy for the last thing, if it
is appropriate for that particular joint. I never use extra easy at
all. It’s all about having a good torch, and good torch control. I
remember being told that I must use progressively lower-melting
solders as a beginner, but it just isn’t true. Dump the extra-easy;
it is not a very good color match, and doesn’t always hold as well.
Your quality will go up. I hate to mention this, but as a beginner I
accidently melted many things. It is part of the learning curve. If
it were easy, anyone could do it! Keep practicing and use more
medium solder. (Some people use all hard solder.) Really!

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA

(Some people use all hard solder.) Really! 

I admit to being ‘some people’ Almost always just hard solder. There
are softer grades in my collection but I can never find them unless
I have a very good reason. Repairs are one.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Some people use all hard solder.) Really! 

I only use hard solder. It is, as you say, all about torch control.