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Stay-brite solder


Once again I am having a problem soldering connections for a
chain on a large pendant. I prepared a decorative square wire
strip with two loops that I am trying to attach to the back of
the pendant, using easy solder, and even extra easy solder, but I
am not having any luck because all the bezels and metals on the
front of the pendant prevent me from soldering from beneath the
way I usually do… The solder keeps running to the decorative
wire, rather than melting on the pendant, allowing the wire to
join it even though I am really trying to get the large piece
heated to red before getting the flame near the wire. Therefore,
my question is - what about using Stay Brite solder on a piece
that is special? Will it turn an odd color or not be strong
enough? The temperature says it flows at 430 degrees F, which is
certainly hotter then TIX, but not as hot as Easy solder. I am
trying to use all good materials, but the frustration level might
convince me to try Stay Brite. Also, would Stay Brite be good to
use for jump rings?

Thanks for your input.

Sue Danehy - Northern New York State, awaiting Spring.


Dear Sue: I would first apply the easy solder to the finding
you want to attach to the pendant. Then holding the finding with
tweezers over the area of the fluxed pendant, heat only the
pendant, and when the flux “clears” place the finding into
position while heating the pendant, and LET THE HEAT OF THE
PENDANT MELT YOUR SOLDER. The caps are not shouting at you, but
that point is so important, that I wanted to emphasize it. Hope
this helps, J.Z.Dule


Hello Sue, Stay Brite and other brands of soft solder only work
well when you are soldering together two flat sur faces. If you
solder a jump ring upright to a flat disc, you can then soft
solder the disc to a plate. If you had tried to soft solder the
jump ring directly to the plate, it would just break off. Before
resorting to soft solder, how about putting the silver solder on
the heavier piece? As soon as you get the solder to flow, stick
the smaller piece of square wire into it. You have to use more
solder this way. You must also not let your torch point in the
direction of the square wire; it will melt it for sure. I hope this helps. Tom Arnold


It’s good for J-rings , But you need more control over your
heat… You should be able to hard solder the piece , If
you control the torch right… A medium flow solder would hold
though … ROB

Once again I am having a problem soldering connections for a
chain on a large  pendant. 

Hi, Michael: I would like to quickly describe how I do soldering
and others can add to it as they wish. I feel I know exactly why
your have problems. I beleive there are only five reasons why
solder does not flow where you want it too. 1. Not enough heat, I
tell my students that if it does not solder with in 60 seconds to
turn up the torch! 2. Not enough flux. I teach that with silver
solder you can never have too much flux! Ofcourse, you can as far
as just soaking your charcoal block or soldering pad, but not as
far as a good solder joint. 3. Not getting the silver hot enough,
quick enough. The solder becomes oxidized (dirty) and does not
want to flow. 4. It is not solder! Now and then a student cuts a
small piece of bezel or sheet off and then mistakes it for
solder. 5. The piece that I am solder is dirty. I usually just
throw it in to the pickle for a while and start over.

I believe that not getting the piece hot enough is the reason
for about 95% of the time. Sterling silver solders differently
than any other metal that I know of. Because it conducts heat
better than any art metal that I use, it has to be heated
different than copper, brass, nickle, or gold. It conducts heat
so well that the whole piece must be throughly heated before
going to your solder joint. I teach that after putting on the
solder to start heating the piece at the farthest point away
from the solder as possilbe.

By the way, I teach all my students to solder every solder joint
with “hard” solder. It melts at about 1500 degrees. This means
they have to get good with the torch. If you visit my web site at, all the jewelry there was done by
my students with all hard solder. Most were done by beginners
that never knew what solder was five weeks before they finish
that piece or pieces on their page. We do not “wire” things
together either!

I believe that you need to get the pendent piece hotter, and
hotter quicker than the chain pieces. Keep your flame on the
pendent until you see the solder flow on it first, then heat the
chain pieces. All “soft” solders like the ones you memtioned will
not stay polished like your sterling silver. I teach that you
should use nothing but hard solder, because of just that,
polishing. I like to solder a piece, and polish it so that you
can never see the solder joints when I am finished. So that it
looks as if it was cast. Think of it is way. To make “easy
(1325)”, “medium (1360)”, and hard (1450), they have to add more
and more “junk” metals to bring down the flow temperatures. I
like hard because it polish almost as if it was sterling and
stays that way for years and years. My wife has pieces that I
polished over 20 years ago, haven’t touch since, and you can not
see any black oxidized solder lines.

Here is a real quick step by step of how I teach soldering. I do
not have time to explain why, but will in April on the
Silversmithing for Beginner I am
working on the Steam Casting “Class” about two hours a day. So it
is quick and short, but I hope it helps.

  1. set the piece up on a solder surface of your choice. I like
    charcaol blocks for a lot of reasons. 2. cut some hard solder. I
    use only sheet solder, cut in to large pieces compared to most
    silversmiths. About 1/8 x 1/4 inch is my average size. Some times
    I use pieces twice that size. I refuse to put several "snipits"
    on when I can put one large piece on. Remember, I use only hard
    solder, if I was using easy, I would have to use very small
    pieces, because of the ugly solder joints it makes. 3. light the
    torch of your choice. All the jewelry on my web site made by the
    students are made with a $10.00 torch from Ace Hardware! The
    world’s worst torch to use for silversmithing, but I am
    extremely proud of their work, especially their first pieces. By
    the way I am not the type of teacher that does the work for my
    students, it is theirs all theirs. 4. spray on Dixon’s self
    pickling flux. That’s right, I spray it on. I was taught by an 80
    year old silversmith, almost 30 years ago. He had gotten quite
    shaky, and could not “paint” on flux with out completely moving
    everything. So one night I tried putting flux in a spray bottle
    and spraying it on. It worked great and I have use it every
    since. Of course, I have found that I did not invent the wheel. I
    have talked to many people who have done used spray bottles years
    before I did! Everything that I teach was taught to me by
    someone! I just have tried to use the best method for me. 5. heat
    the piece only enough to dry the flux past the “crusty” stage. 6.
    spray on more and heat again if it did not get completely
    covered with flux. I flux the whole piece every time! 7. useing
    bent tweezers that are spring loaded to shut, place the solder on
    the joints. Use lots, if your using hard solder, almost none if
    you are using easy. 8. begin heating the piece as far away from
    the joint as possilbe. I teach my students to keep the torch
    moving so that their reaction time is increased. They can get off
    the piece quicker if they are already in motion. 9. watch for the
    silver to start to change color as the torch moves over it. It
    will start to “shimmer”, not as shimmer when it melts, but a
    color change for sure. 10. watch for the Dixon’s flux to puddle
    and then melt in to a “syrupy” brown thick puddle. I watch the
    flux more than any thing else to know what temperature my silver
    is at. I believe it must melt and flow into this syrup stage at
    about 1350 to 1400 degrees. 11. when the flux does it’s syrupy
    thing I move the torch to the joint and at the same time move it
    up slightly away from the piece. This is how I adjust the
    temperature of the piece and it heats up a larger area, which I
    belive you need in order to solder silver. (gold is just the
    opposite, I think). 12. the split second the solder flows, get
    off it!! and I mean off it! I would like to shout this. I have
    found that you can rarely fix anything by simply adding more
    heat, after the solder has flowed. 13. there is no 13 (unlucky
    you know!) If it did not solder ask yourself which of the five
    reasons was responsible, pickle your piece for about 10 minutes,
    take a break, eat something, or at least I do, then come back and
    start with step 1.

Gosh, I am sorry about the length of this, I hope it helps.
Remember, please, this is just MY WAY, and it works for me. I
hope it works for you.

Don Norris
PO Box 2433 Estes Park, CO 80517


hello group keep up the great work does anyone know of any shows
in New York for May???