I'm interested in making a mixed metals piece - yellow brass, copper
and sterling silver. Does anyone have any advice about what can and
can't be sweat soldered to what, and what kind of solder to use? It
may include a stone, which might look best against the yellow brass -
is there any reason why I can't make the bezel from yellow brass? My
only prior experience has been in making bezels from sterling silver.
Consider using red brass (nu-gold, rich-low, 15% zinc) instead of
yellow brass (30% zinc), it's easier to work with and less brittle.
Also, use copper or fine silver for bezels; brass is not as ductile.
If you must use brass for a bezel, use red brass and try not to work
harden it too much.
Silver will sink into brass if heated too much, otherwise all these
metals can be sweat soldered together with silver solder.
You can silver solder all those, and to each other. Use stay silver
Flux and don't be stingy with it. You can get it at welding shops or
sometimes better hardware stores. Use hard silver solder. The bigger
the pieces the more heat you'll need and the more warping that will
You can silver solder all those, and to each other....... Use hard
Um. maybe not quite. While you can certainly solder brass to silver,
if you do it with hard silver solder, you're very likely to find the
brass slumping into the silver before the solder melts. Bronze would
be fine. But brass, well, depends on the alloy of the brass, and just
how much zinc is there. When the brass is in contact with the silver,
that contact point is going to alloy a little of the brass with the
silver, at about the temperature of a cadmium free easy silver
solder. And once they start to combine at that contact point, the
combining snowballs quickly. Recall that you can pretty much make
silver solder by alloying the silver with brass. If you're going to
solder brass to silver, experiment with scraps first, to determine
which solder to use. While both brass and silver have melting points
quite high enough for hard solder, the combination of the two in
contact with each other can be big trouble if you're not careful and
get it too hot, which is really easy to do. Seeing the brass slump
into a mess on your silver just as you're about ready to call the
soldering finished and pull the torch away, is a teaching experience
you won't need to repeat in order to remember it...
Sorry that is a typo from my wonderful phone. That is stay-silv flux
My advice is-- if possible, design so that you avoid soldering brass
directly to silver. Either is pretty easy to solder to copper. But
brass to silver (or vice versa) takes more care and skill. Here's
why: silver plus brass equals solder. So if you overheat at all,
instead of having brass and silver, you get a big puddle of solder.
Been there, done that.
Heat seems to be the predominant topic here. A student last weekend
was attempting to solder a huge bezel to a large piece of brass.
Experiencing the horror of a bezel I soldered once, overheat and sink
perfectly into an oval line where my stone was supposed to go, was
kind of magical in an awful sort of way. Hmm, how to do this again?
What did I learn from this "accident." I remembered a great teacher,
Claire Sanford who taught me a cool trick in soldering large and
often incompatible metals and how to get them to behave. She showed
me how NOT solder everything at once. Tack it and solder in stages.
By the third time, the solder ran perfectly along the fine silver
bezel. I learned the nuance of heat, just how much to apply and just
how much to pull back. A delicate dance indeed.
I silver brazed using Johnson Matthey easy flo no 1 solder on
hundreds of brass joints, with not one failure, specially as the
joints were made with the 2 parts flat, then bent afterwards to make
a C shaped cuff bracelet. Needless to say it was then silver plated.
Also one design was also in 3 metals, however the base was not
silver but stainless steel, then brass, then copper.
You dont say what the mixed metal piece is? can you substitute
stainless for the silver, tho you will neded a flux specifically for
s/steel you will get it at a welding supply store, and you can use
it on all your soldering jobs.
It has aan additional use, not normally known about, it dissolves
fire stain out of sterling, you need to continue applying the flux
powder with your s/steel rod so it runs off the piece taking the
copper oxide with it.