I need help. After making hundreds of rings without a problem I can
no longer get a good solder seam.
I started to make rings in 2009, made approx 400 rings since then,
mostly wide pipe bands, spinner rings, plain bands out of sterling
Last December I started to experience cracking solder seams. The
solder seems to flow, but when I round the ring on the mandrel the
seam cracks open. I cleaned out everthing and the problem went away.
Since then I made about 50 more rings, no problems. Now it is
happening again. Again, I cleaned out everything, this time the
What I tried:
- Cleaned all solder, plus tried different batches/types of solder
- Used fresh flux and new batch of fire coat.
- Cleaned brushes
- Cleaned torch tip with copper wire, then ultrasonic.
- Sanded titanium solder pick
- Dusted and cleaned everything off.
- sanded my titanium solder pick clean
Materials I am using (nothing new):
- Meco Midget torch with Propane and Oxygene
- Sterling silver from Hauser and Miller, Rio and Hoover and Strong
- Usually I use hard silver solder from Hoover&S and H&Mi Also tried
some medium silver solder I had left from Otto Frei. Experienced
failure with all.
- Usually use Yellow self-pickling flouride free flux from Alpha
Supply, also tried brandnew bottle of yellow Aquaflux. Tried white
paste flux, same issues.
- Firecoat made by mixing boric acid (from jewelry supply store) and
- Cut ring blanks, file ends, form to roughly round (somewhat “D”
shaped) so ends meet flush. Make sure there is no daylight visible
thru the seam.
- Dip ring in boric/alcohol mixture.
- Put ring in third hand, seam at the bottom.
- Burn off alcohol.
- Add flux to seam.
- Cut solder with solder nipper.
- Place hard silver solder pieces over seam with flux brush.
- Flame is bit less then an inch long, with bit of orange on the
tip, soft, no hiss. I heat up the top of the ring away from the
seam. As the metal gets close to hot enough I move the flame
underneath the ring, where the seam is to pull the solder thru.
I usually get clean, solder-pit-free, invisible seams that only
require a few swipes with sand paper to clean up. I have not changed
this process at all as far as I can tell and am at a total loss why I
am suddenly having problems. I have photos with closeups of a
cracked ring on
I have orders to fill and I am desperate to get his figured out, so
I can continue to work. Please let me know if you know what is
causing the problem.
(I am in Snohomish, WA, just north of Seattle in case anybody local
would be willing to help me figure this out).