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Standard Solder?

Hi Group,

A quick question: Is it acceptable to use standard solder on
sterling silver if the join point is not visible? My plan would
be to use a solder iron and rosin core solder that is used for
standard electronic equipment (copper, iron, and gold wires).
This would put very little heat on the object in the bezel wire
that I will then inlay.

Thanks for any help.


Hi Tom,

The standard solders for sterling silver jewelry are silver
solders. Many if not most people definitely consider it
unacceptable to use lead solder on a piece. If a piece contained
hidden lead solder, someone doing subsequent work on the item may
simply ruin it. Use silver solder, you’ll be happy you did.:slight_smile:

Not a very good idea to use soft solders, especially lead based
solders on sterling silver jewelry. Rosin core solder is used
primarily in the electronics industry- the soft solders and
fluxes used in the jewelry industry are different. Tix solder is
one you might try- repairing pieces later will be very difficult
especially with a torch. It would be better to design the pieces
from the outset to be assembled with hard solders.

Good luck

Richard D. Hamilton, Jr

Tom: I would say only if you’re using soft solder to put on a
pin back or something. The awful thing about standard solders for
electronics is they’re full of lead and if you ever have to
repair a piece and reheat to silver solder heat range the lead
will melt right through whatever its soldered to, creating a
nasty mess and destroying your work. Even easy solder for
sterling is something I avoid like the plague unless I absolutely
have to use it. Easy solder when reheated will melt into the
silver and do some nice damage too, hope this helps…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People

TR> A quick question: Is it acceptable to use standard solder on
TR> sterling silver if the join point is not visible? –

G’day,Tom: I am only an amateur, but I would immediately
answer; no, never, never, never! Not on any account on
jewellery. It may be acceptable on anything else, but not only
will the use of lead-based solder completely degrade the
integrity of the work, it will create a point of weakness and
will make it useless if anyone needs to repair it in the future,
for if it is heated even to the lowest melting silver solder
temperature the lead will eat into the silver and ruin the work.
Try it; put a small amount of soft soldering on to a bit of scrap
silver, then lay a tiny piece of fluxed Easy Flow on the work,
and heat till the silver solder has melted, then examine the
piece. Yuck! NEVER!! Cheers,

       / /    John Burgess, =

      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \

In a message dated 97-03-21 09:50:02 EST, you write:

TR> A quick question: Is it acceptable to use standard solder on
TR> sterling silver if the join point is not visible? –

There are many LEAD FREE solders on the market these days (yes,
even those sold for the purpose of soldering electronics.) They
can be found at a local builder’s supply or hardware store.

I am not sure whether this is what is being referred to as
"standard" solder.

Hi Tom,

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse (I bet that’s an odd
expression to you non-Americans…), but I think one of the key
points in why not to use soft solder is that it will not hold
up… and therefore will require the repairs others have warned
of. In conventional soldering, the structure of the metal
expands and the solder actually joins the metal, creating a true
bond. Soft soldering doesn’t generate enough heat to affect the
molecular structure of the metal, therefore you don’t get a true
bonding of metals. It’s kind of like glue sitting on the
surface. It won’t withstand much stress at all.

And, at the risk of being redundant, when the time comes to
repair it (and that time will come), the stuff turns corrosive
when exposed to the temperatures required for conventional

Unfortunately, I am speaking from personal experience here…
:wink: One of the drawbacks of being self-taught, and not having had
access to people like we have here on Orchid!

Dave Sebaste

Hi David,

The lead and tin in the soft solder will also alloy with the
silver or gold (when heated up) to make low melting alloys
(around 400 centigrade, 750 Fahrenheit), which are very brittle.
0.06% lead are sufficient to contaminate gold alloys to useless.