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Sweating Low Temperature Metals

Hi Orchidians:

I need help sweating very large etched zinc plates together. Gold I
understand, but I seem to be in over my head with this low temp
stuff. I keep overheating and melting the top plate (a little). The
big problem is that the plates are chamfered on their edges
preventing a clear view of the pre-applied solder (tin/antimony) at
flow temperature. I can’t see and thus don’t srop heating soon
enough. Hope some of you have some suggestions.

Thanks for being there,
Mark R. Ramsour

Hi Mark, Most low temp work of this kind is done with soldering irons
or coppers not torches. The flame temperature is just too high and
it is just not controllable . So for things like sheet metal work
and zinc counter tops and such the standard practice is to use large
masses of metal (soldering coppers range form 8 oz to 4-5 lbs )
heated to 500-1000 degrees F and they are applied to the items to be
joined to raise the temperature of the joint to flow temperature of
the solder See if you can borrow a big soldering iron (electric) or
get a soldering copper which is a bar of copper with a pyramidal
point on the end of a steel shank and a wooden handle. You heat the
copper bar with a torch or furnace (go to and lookup
soldering copper) and then apply to the work to be soldered.

Jim Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Hello Mark; I can’t imagine what you’re doing with the zinc plates,
some sort of intaglio printing process? Is it possible to use epoxy
rather than solder? If you just need a thicker guage of zinc, perhaps
you can locate a supplier. Just my 2 cents.

David L. Huffman

Mark, How large is very large? Can you fit your project into a kiln?
Then you could run tests at higher and higher temps until you got
the right flow.