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Starting with palladium


#1

Hello everyone

I am thinking about starting working with palladium and I have some
questions about it.

First of all is there any good book that covers aspect of working in
palladium? I have found only The Platinum Bench (dont have it) but I
think it is about platinum only - or I am wrong? There isnt much
about working in palladium in the internet. I have The
Theory and Practice of Goldsmithing book but there isnt much about
platinum and palladium.

I would like to make my own alloy and solder. I have found palladium
alloy pd/ru/ir and palladium plumb solder recipe - 85 to 95pd and
7:3 germanium:indium. I would like to make fabrication work - no
casting. I have hoke oxy/propane torch so I think it could melt
platinum and palladium but some say torch melting pt and pd isnt a
good idea. Ok maybe they are right but I dont think everyone wo is
working with pt/pd and big induction melting furnacewhich cost many
$$$. And these induction furnaces and made for big quantities of
metal. So can I use torch to work with palladium? I know that you
need pt crucibles, soldering board, twezers and many other tools. Is
there something more?


#2

You can use a torch on Palladium for fabricating. Palladium loves to
absorbe oxygen so torch melting without a special atmosphere is not
a good idea.

Read here… http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/palladium-qa.htm
I’ve done fabrication out of palladium and love working with it. It
does like to really eat up setting burs though.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#3

The problem with torch melting 950 palladium on any scale is that
when molten it absorbs gas like a sponge and becomes so pitted that
it’s unusable. That’s why it’s cast in an inert gas atmosphere. I’d
suggest buying your Pd stock and solder rather than making it.
Another issue is that even the hardest Pd solders used with it have
melting points below what would be considered welding because when
you get too close to it’s melting point it can become brittle at the
seam. The only Pd solder that I have ever used leaves a slightly
grey line, even the hard solder. Laser welding seams can be
troublesome too. So if I’m fabricating with it I plan on not having
any seams in an open field, but only at corners where the slightly
detectable color difference is hidden by the shadow of the corner.
Some prefer 20K white gold solder as a better color match, but
neither matches perfectly. Honestly, although I’ve used it
frequently I prefer to only use Pd when the customer asks for it and
then I try to cast it as a complete unit rather than dealing with
the imperfect color match of the solder. But maybe I’m being too
picky?

Mark


#4

I’ve fabricated several things from Pd and concur about the solder.

I made a pair of Pd wedding rings last year and used Cookson’s Med
Pd solder (they don’t do a Hard). The rings were returned after about
6 months because the solder had turned grey after a visit to a
swimming pool.

It turns out that Med Pd solder is 89.8% silver and only 4.6% Pd; it
was the silver that discoloured (I assume).

Interestingly, the Easy solder is 12% gold, 47% silver and 17% Pd,
plus other unspecified metals, which is not very different to Pt
Easy.

I didn’t know about Pd being an oxygen hog, but am aware that it’s a
hydrogen hog. I use a water torch (oxy-hydrogen) for most of my
work, and haven’t noticed any undue problems.

Incidentally, to repair the rings I filed the solder away, leaving
V-shaped recesses, which I then filled with Pd with my PUK welder.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#5

Florence Resnikoff was a pioneer in using palladium for jewelry.
This is a link to her seminal paper on the subject.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep804u

There are websites on palladium jewelry and links to the premier
North American palladium mine Stillwater in Montana. I suspect that
queries to the Palladium organization - Palladium Alliance, -
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/88 might yield some help.

The only reference I’ve found that deals with working Palladium is
the Practical Goldsmith series number 6. And the only place I’ve
been successful in getting it is from Karl Fischer in Germany.
Shipping is fairly expensive but they actually have all the Practical
Goldsmith volumes in stock. These are excellent bilingual softcover
books.

At one time, Otto Frei carried the series but they seem to be out of
stock permanently.

Judy Hoch


#6

When I used Pd 950, I was advised by folk on Orchid and my supplier,
to use Pt solder. I can’t remember which one. It may have been
medium, but I was told it was a better match. Certainly colour wise
you can’t see the joints.

Helen
UK


#7

I find 19k white gold solder to be the best for fabricating
palladium 950.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#8
I find 19k white gold solder to be the best for fabricating
palladium 950. 

Wouldn’t that screw with the precious metal stamping? CIA


#9
I find 19k white gold solder to be the best for fabricating
palladium 950 

I suppose it depends on how much solder you use and how close the
alloy was to plumb.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#10

Hello,

I find 19k white gold solder to be the best for fabricating
palladium 950. 

I would try using 1200C* medium platinum repair solder Cad free, as
this consists of alloy and palladium metal.


#11

I find 19k white gold solder to be the best for fabricating >
palladium 950.

Wouldn't that screw with the precious metal stamping? CIA 

Ok, FWIW. Another point of view, take it or leave it. Man says, “Doc,
it hurts when I do this.” Doctor says, “So stop doing it.”

Palladium, next to cobalt platinum maybe the bane of the jewelry
business. You can’t cast it (unless you have a $50K machine) you
can’t melt it so you can’t make ingots to roll or do many other
things with it, you can’t solder it effectively, you can’t polish it
and when you finally do it’s ugly and then it’s too soft for jewelry
anyway.

“Sorry, but I don’t work with that stuff, but can I interest you in
some fine, beautiful, durable palladium white gold?” Hey, no
pain…

“But the customer WANTS it!?!?!” So?


#12
I would try using 1200C* medium platinum repair solder Cad free,
as this consists of alloy and palladium metal. 

Ill give that a try, I have used the 1100C easy and was not happy
with the results but have not tried the 1200C.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13

So you say that you cant do anything with palladiu without $$$
induction casting machine? I dont belive it. Palladium and platinum
were used before induction melting furnaces were discovered. So they
must use a torch to melt these metals, right? You are right that with
expensive equipment you can get good casting or ingot o wok with, but
i thin you can have good results without spending $$$ on machinery. I
think its like with platinum. Everyone say “you cant melt it without
professionl equipment or you must buy stock sheet or rod from
supplier”. That is not true. In book by Hoke abuot refining precious
metals it is said that you can melt plat in crucible and forge it few
times to make it workable material, then you can roll it for sheet or
wire. So it is possible to make your own stock with platinum. Maybe
the same procedures apply to palladium? In the men time I have
ordered practical goldsmith book about platinum and palladium. I hope
to find some about working with these metals. Also i
bought platinum bench and adventures from the bench books about
platinum - hope this was good choice.


#14

Interesting discussion. 40 years ago I did some experiments in
casting Platinum in an open centrefuge with fireclay crucible. The
trial was sponsered by Johnson Matthey and was carried out at the
Birmingham School for Jewellery. I used an Oxyacetylene flame to
melt the Platinum in the crucble. Observers said the crucible became
transparent at these temperatures. I did one successful casting but
the crucble was not up to a second casting procedureand fell
dramatically apart with the thermal shock second time round. You can
melt Platinum on fireclay but not on charcoal or in the presence of
charcoal. Carbon can be absorbed and makes the metal brittle. Hope
this helps! Hamish


#15

Hi all,

I have been working with palladium for about 8 years now both as
palladium white gold (which you can fuse or melt down with a torch-I
am using propane/oxygen) as well as palladium 950.

When Pd first came out on the market I purchased a piece of sizing
stock to fabricate a simple band just for the fun and exploration of
working with the new metal.

Knowing that Pd is in the Pt family and having worked with Pt for
many years I tried what I knew and that was to fuse the seam with
the same metal (this is how I create all of my bands as there is no
color issue since the seam is the same metal).

To my surprise the Pd severely pitted and turned dark where heated.
Since then I had talked to one individual at a SNAG Conference who
had told me that he had successfully torch cast Pd, but with all of
my experience if there is oxygen present… I don’t know how they
pulled that off.

I soon after used Pd easy solder as well as 19kt white gold solder,
but unlike some of you out there I was never really happy with the
seam.

Over the last 4 years I have been working with a Pd solder that I
get through Otto Frei.

I use this for all of my Pd fabrication and love it in every
respect.

Good luck and I look forward to reading what as worked for the rest
of you.

Jim


#16

Marek

Maybe the same procedures apply to palladium? _\ 

You are totally correct you can cast with palladium and make your
own stock just like platinum. Go for it and have fun working with
palladium.

I would suggest not selling the first piece that you make.

Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#17
So you say that you cant do anything with palladiu without $$$
induction casting machine? I dont belive it. Palladium and
platinum were used before induction melting furnaces were
discovered. So they must use a torch to melt these metals, right? 

Palladium and platinum are very different metals just because you
can melt platinum with a torch and get a good ingot does not mean
you can do so with palladium. Platinum does not combine with gasses
so melting in open air with a torch is not a real problem it is more
about not contaminating the platinum with things it will combine
with like silica and carbon. Palladium is a whole different animal,
it is a sponge for oxygen and hydrogen which are both present in
your torch flame and there is abundant oxygen in the air. So once
you melt palladium in open air with a torch it will absorb these
gasses and will release then as it cools leaving behind many gas
pits in the metal. So it has always been difficult to cast pore free
palladium. With the advent of modern casting machines with induction
melting and inert atmosphere cover gas it has gotten to be much
easier to get good castings with it.

[Broken link removed]

I have heard of some folks who claim that they are able to torch
melt small volumes of palladium to recycle scrap. I have never tried
it but here is a link to one such conversation.

If you try it report back to us and tell us how well it worked.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#18

Marek- We regularly melt ingots in platinum in our shop with only
nat gas and oxygen. Have for decades. However palladium is another
matter. Palladium loves to absorb oxygen like I love to absorb
Vodka. The result is not pretty. I fabricate and solder on palladium
but would never try to melt and pour an ingot.

Trust me on this. If not me, James Binnion or Theresa Frye at
Techform.

They are the real smarty-pants here. World wide reputations.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#19
Maybe the same procedures apply to palladium? 

No, they don’t. Platinum is a most unique metal. Palladium’s only
relation to it is that the are both “platinum group metals”. Working
palladium as thoughit were platinum will get you nowhere fast. No,
you can’t cast it,successfully, without inert gas.


#20
Palladium is a whole different animal, it is a sponge for
oxygenand hydrogen which are both present in your torch flame and
there is abundant oxygen in the air. 

I started this portion of the thread, and I say these things in the
spirit of conversation, not argument. It’s kind of like certain
foods -“Well maybe you just never had it cooked right”. The meaning
being that certain things are inedible unless they are “cooked
right”. My take on that is why eat them, have a nice steak or
asparagus or what have you. Life is too short to eat things that
need to be “cooked right”, in that sense. Same goes for palladium, I
just don’t see the point, or ANY point for that matter.

We have gold, we have platinum, we have palladium white gold which is
a fine alloy. We even have silver, which is only easy to work until
you’ve graduated into gold or platinum. There is argentium and there
are all sorts of things. So what’s with working with an ugly (face it)
metal that resists about everything a metal worker needs to do? I
know it’s trendy and some want to sell it, but jeeezzzz! Some want to
work it, which is why this thread is here, I suppose. Experimenting
and getting a feel for all metals is always useful, yes. I’m afraid I
just don’t get why anyone would want to fool around with something as
cantankerous as palladium, though, given the other wonderful metals
that ~could~ be chosen. Passes the time, I guess. Platinum is
expensive - it is, in mybusiness, an "if you have to ask, etc."
proposition. But working it is like being in heaven - the exact
opposite of palladium. Well, that abomination called cobalt platinum
is as bad if not worse. Yeah, maybe a rant but it’s not just that -
don’t shoot yourself in the foot, ifit’s not fun why do it? Use
palladium white gold - it’s wonderful to work. If your customers
can’t afford it, tell them to come back when they can.