Some kind of pot metal

This is a problem which most of us might consider “beneath” serious
consideration There is no money in it and no precious material. It
is just a small annoying problem. Even if I can find a way to do
this I won’t be charging anything for the work.

A well-meaning and totally inexpert (in this field) friend has
purchased a very cheap pot metal key-chain ornament - a sort of cast
medallion - and an equally cheap stamped-out sheet steel fitting
which he hoped to have assembled together into a sort of fixture for
a bolo tie - meant as a gift to some lover of bolo ties. He arrived
at my shop with this collection of bits in hand yesterday and asked
if I could solder the steel fitting to the back of the pewter (or
whatever it is). It seemed utterly impossible and I told him so.
There is the smallest chance I could tin the steel fitting and then
very carefully sweat it onto the back of the pewter medallion but I
figure this is no better than a 50-50 gamble. More likely the pewter
would melt right through I think He understands it would be no great
loss if this attempt failed, (he has spent a grand total of about $12
so far) but I don’t like to engage in futile exercises and told him
so in a kind way. He then asked about epoxy - another method in which
I have little faith. The steel seems to be plated with some shiny,
slick-feeling metal and my sense is that the epoxy would have no
chance to get a grip - the whole thing’d probably flake off in one
go, leaving a nice shiny patch of epoxy behind on either the pewter
or the steel.

But what do I know? This is not the sort of material I usually work
with. In general I have no faith in glue and metal. absent some
physical “keying” of the mating parts.

Anyone out there care to devote 2 minutes of thought or time to
render opinion as to the wisdom of either;

A. - Trying to solder steel onto pewter

B - Trying to epoxy two flat metal surfaces of steel and pewter
together. Total area of contacting surfaces about 1/2 square inch.

Marty in Victoria

I would use TIX solder. It metals about 280 degrees. I use a regular
paste type flux for the lead based solders with it. I have fixed a
lot of costume jewelry this way. I generally do this type of
repair/assembly with a torch. Easier to control where the heat is
going. Be sure to lightly sand the shiny, plated part of the steel
first. I clean up the flux with hot soapy water.

I have an irrational and inherent distrust of the epoxies even though
I have a few bolo ties that I put together that way more than 30
years ago and they are still holding. Just be sure the surfaces are
roughed up before gluing.

Bill Churlik


You might rough the contact points on both pieces. In the past,
when I have had a few of the same problems, I used a cut off disc
(thin grinding wheel) and roughed up both surfaces. Epoxy has
seemed to hold as I have never had a return on a piece done this

If the piece means a lot to the customer you could make a cold
rubber mold of the pewter part.

I don’t know what the steel piece looks like. Is it possible to
solder on a wire or flat piece of silver onto the back of it. Then
run the epoxy over the soldered on piece and on to the back of the
front piece. That way the epoxy would be holding the soldered on
piece against the front piece.

Lee Epperson

Hi Marty;

If you should choose to risk soldering these together, which I
believe can be done but takes a somewhat practiced hand, use Tix
solder, which is available from many suppliers including Stuller. It
is used with it’s own Tix flux, which you’ll also need to purchase.
Neither item is perticularly expensive. I do this kind of thing with
fair regularity.

On the other hand, should you choose to resort to epoxy, which I
believe could also be adequate if done properly, get a slow curing
epoxy as these are the strongest. Use any sort of abraisive to rough
up the shiny steel in order to get a “tooth” for the epoxy to bond
to, likewise, roughing up the pewter would be advisable also. Good

David L. Huffman

Try tec solder…low melting point repair solder for pewter ect…


What about rivets?



If you are working with steel and pewter you have two options.

One is to rivet the pieces together and the second is to glue them.

If you glue them, use a two ton epoxy. Rough up both pieces that will
join together before gluing. If any metal is flaking off either piece
remove the plating the best you can before gluing.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


It might be worth a shot to try soldering the bolo finding on with
StayBrite (as long as it’s worth your time to mess with the thing :wink:
I’ve used it on quite a lot of stuff and found it pretty reliable and
easy to use. It doesn’t need to get very hot - I usually use a
barely-there torch flame to get it to flow. The pewter doodad will
probably get a bit grungy and need some cleanup, but often a rouge
cloth is enough to accomplish this.

My own experiments with epoxying metal to metal have shown me that
it’s not a good idea. I’d agree that if there isn’t some physical
method of holding the parts together, the glue alone wil not be
strong enough.

Jessee Smith (who swore she wasn’t going to post anything today :slight_smile:

I feel compelled to poke my nose into this discussion of low-temp
solders with a word of warning for the unwary. If you use a torch, be
very cautious!! If you put the torch to it the way you would start
out to solder “normal” solders, you will get a very rude awakening,
when the solder instantly overheats and splatters everywhere (voice
of experience). Sneak up on it and watch closely-- it takes very
little heat! Much better safe than sorry!


To all those who answered my query about the silly pot-metal
soldering job - I thank you for your time and trouble. This is a
wonderful resource.

By the time I posted the question I had been thinking about my
too-quick decision that the job was almost impossible. Nothing is
that bad. I think I’ll go ahead with the low-temp solder. The
epoxy suggestions were all exactly as I would have advised if I had
been asked that question by another person. Yet, as one of you
mentioned, despite “knowing” how to use the stuff, I still have a
nagging discomfort with epoxy - although I use it quite regularly in
other applications without a second thought. Reading all your
expressions of confidence in epoxy might move me to take a careful
look at my prejudices - always a good thing.

I do have some low-temp solder - no lead, no cadmium, but I don’t
know what else is in it. Does anyone know what is in the TIX
solder which some of you mentioned?

Thanks again - and Merry Chrismakwanzakah ( I think that covers
almost everyone, even in this silly PC world)

Marty in Victoria

It is hard to tell exactly what alloy TIX is since it is quoted as
having several melting points by different sellers. 215 F-- 245 F-
275 F ?? Msds seem to be possibly incorrect too.

Just be careful with it - don’t eat it. You shouldn’t get much
exposure in a normal use situation.



If you use a torch, be *very* cautious!! If you put the torch to it
the way you would start out to solder "normal" solders, you will
get a very rude awakening, when the solder instantly overheats and
splatters everywhere 

Good point - odd that the solder doesn’t come with some instructions
as to what kind of heat source to use (mine just included the MSDS,
which didn’t much help).

The first time I used it, I sneaked up on it with just the propane
on, which worked, but made a mess, getting the metal very dirty.
I’ve found that just a teeny bit of oxygen, not quite but almost
enough to neutralize the flame, seems to keep things cleaner without
overheating, provided it’s used tentatively. I use a Little Torch, so
the whole flame is about 3" - 4" long.

Jessee Smith

Tix is a wonderful solder for costume jewelry, with a very low melt
point you can if careful solder plated plastic jewelry, heat it up
and drop it on the piece and so the same to the other piece, and use
low heat to melt both. a tinning if you will. what ever you solder
with tix needs to be clean, plenty of flux, if flux gets over heated
and black, clean and start over.